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Race 2 - Day 9

Switzerland - Lindsey Noble

17 SEP 2013 - Race 2

I suppose the big news from aboard Switzerland aka Heidi today is the heat. no surprise there then as we are now in the tropics.

We have appointed water monitors - someone from each watch who makes sure we all drink enough water. This to avoid heat exhaustion. They have taken to their task and the call fill your water bottle Chris or Aly rings around the boat with regularity.

Talking about water brings me to our water maker. After doing a very good job for 6 days it has now sprung a leak. It had emergency surgery yesterday and shots has been sent to race office so that a solution can be found either for us to implement on board - Charlie and Dave our watch engineers will be working on this. Or this will be fixed when we get to Rio. Meanwhile we have very clean bilges. We know as they have to be pumped on a regular basis and now this is at least twice per watch.

Another predictable entry for our diary on this leg and at these latitudes is the experience of our first flying fish landing on the deck. I was helming at the time last night and I thought the clunk was a sudden movement of the block on the deck. And this is interesting I must be getting used to the sounds the boat makes in certain conditions as in the instant the clunk did not sound right to me. There on the deck was the bright blue fish flapping away. I only got a glimpse as I was of course helming and breathing THATS ALL and expressly not studying flying fish. Apparently the fish are attracted by the compass lights at night more are expected.

The skies are beginning to be more interesting although we have not yet had what I would call a wow factor sky. A really lovely sunset last night with the fluffy trade wind clouds illuminated from below as the sun set in an otherwise clear sky (about 2/8 cloud cover) all shades of gold and purple and orange.

We are now on squall watch. Keeping our eyes peeled especially at night and also checking the radar at regular intervals to identify a particularly dense patch of cloud carrying heavy rain and creating squally conditions.

We need to know to think about direction, sails, spinnakers if we are flying them (and of course to put on waterproofs!) Our main goal is to safely navigate the squall, without damage to the sails or sheets and benefit from the increased wind if possible. This requires us to work quickly as a team on any required sail change. Quickly and safely dropping a spinnaker on these boats is a considerable challenge.

We continue to make good progress south - we are a bit anxious about how hot the doldrums are going to be when we are already stifling in what Vicky calls the mini Doldrums. One for a later diary.

Lindsey Noble