There is an undercurrent of frustration building within the ranks, I feel, as we continue to make really good progress, only to be scuppered by another bit of bad luck. These have been coming fairly thick and fast over the last few days and when we know we can go quickly when we want to, it does make it increasingly frustrating when that doesn't happen. That said, we recognise that the next four or five days are going to be fundamental to how our race turns out. Trim like mad and make sure we stick to the course, use the right sails and have luck on our side and we could reap some serious reward. Stay positive is the key message, but come on lady luck, sprinkle us some dust!
The latest mishap has come with us tearing a huge hole in our medium weight spinnaker. We're not quite sure how it has happened or what we may have done to cause it, but the hole was similar to that of a Kevin Keegan, Newcastle United defensive unit from the 90's - massive!
Our resident Rumpelstiltskin (crew member Nikki Banks) has been weaving her magic in the sail locker, which has now doubled up as her second bedroom, in order to ensure that we are back fighting fit soon. She has been ably aided by Lindsey Evans, Neil Bennett and 'Uncle Binge', aka Jim! Their work rate and ability to stay happy and positive, despite not having slept for nearly 36 hours is a credit to them and the fantastic team spirit that we have on board the boat.
This willingness to all muck in and help each other out is something that has really impressed me ever since I stepped on board and it really helps to give you a fantastic sense of pride in the team and the feats that we can overcome together.
As we make our way down towards the Doldrums, past Cape Verde and then towards the Equator, wind speeds have dropped and are continuing to do so. That makes the recovery of our number 2 kite even more important and hopefully we will have it back up and running by tomorrow.
As the winds get lower, the heat is only rising! Indeed, I overheard one crew member state that it was 'hotter than a nuns knickers down there'. I have no idea how hot a 'nuns knickers' may be, being the religious soul that I am but one thing for certain is that the heat is making the galley and the bunks very uncomfortable place to be and unless you are a fan of constant Bikram Yoga, you are desperate to get out and back on deck for some cooler air.
Away from the trials and tribulations of the boat, life is ticking along nicely. The two watches port and starboard are working their hardest to try and make sure we remain competitive and in touch with the pack, whilst we recover from our setbacks. The inter-crew bread making competition is really hotting up. Gone are the days of the cardboard slices dished up at the start and now we are seeing some serious loaves coming out, that even the finest bakers would be proud of.
Talk of Rio has already begun and the challenge of who will win the team karaoke session once we touch dry land is starting to result in some interesting picks. We have been promised an hour long set from our 60's crooner Marcus Batty, whilst Paul Hardy has threatened us with a full recital of YMCA in our skippers GREAT Britain outfit. Lovely! Jake Carter is keen to bust out some Oasis numbers, but nothing can top my effort of 'Build Me up Buttercup'…surely!
Will let you know how we get on.