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Race 2 - Day 7

GREAT Britain - Neil Bennett

15 SEP 2013 - Race 2

So today marks day 7, the end of the first week in the race to Rio and what a week it's been. 

From issues and penalties at the start line, to leading the pack during the first night, before the boat decided we were having it too easy and started throwing us some issues to make life even more interesting.

Currently we're mid pack but in a good position to make a move in the coming weeks when the Doldrums look to be the major factor in winning or losing this race, boat issues aside that is.

With the loss of a number of pieces of spinnaker equipment in the last few days we're now wrapping the remaining pieces in cotton wool when they need it. So late yesterday with a few squalls coming through we dropped the heavy spinnaker and hauled up the Yankee till they passed through. 

What we didn't realise at the time though was that the sea state would remain big and upset, and the wind would keep gusting most of the night. This led to a very frustrating night for the crew as we knew we were going slower than our competition but didn't want to risk damaging what spinnaker blocks we have left as we'll need them going forwards if we want to remain in contention.

With morning however came relief, once we'd sent Marc 'Cheddar' Owens up the mast to sort a quick halyard jam out, we once again hoisted the spinnaker and set about chasing down the boats who'd gained on us overnight.

Then with the on watch crew either engrossed in trimming or on the rail chatting (whilst balancing the boat obviously, it's all work on GREAT Britain no idle gossiping here) it came as a bit of a shock when the helm gave a shout of 'Shark fin off the bow!'. Some dangling feet were rapidly hauled back inside the boat as what looked like a 7 or 8 foot hammer-head shark cruised on by the boat, giving GREAT Britain a good inspection before heading off into the blue.

With our water maker issues now firmly behind us the opportunity of a 'shower', it's a two min spray then a lather and finally a quick rinse in the aft heads, is now the hot topic on board, and being on mother watch tomorrow it looks like I'll feel a little cleaner in the very near future. Speaking of mother watch the 'bake off' is in full swing with Jake and Geoff's muffins going down a treat this morning, myself and fellow mother Kristie need to step up the game to top that tomorrow.

In summary though we've had a pretty good first week and the things which could have put us out of contention, so far have failed to do so. For myself it's been a week of settling into the systems and figuring how best run my watch. I'll let others tell you how I'm doing as watch lead but so far so good and as a watch we've gelled extremely well. In the next few days we'll see if we make a break for the scoring gate, but really all eyes are

on the doldrums and where and when to head across them.

Neil Bennett