Today we managed to achieve the position of first place in the fleet. Whether we've held on to it remains to be seen. We began the day in light winds flying our code 1 spinnaker. This huge sail has to be seen to be believed. I've often heard things described as the size of a football pitch and dismissed this as hyperbole but this spinnaker is quite genuinely the size of a football pitch. In the past I've launched spinnakers from dinghys by packing them into a bucket and then throwing them into the air at the appropriate time.
To launch a spinnaker of this size however it's necessary to role it into a snake, tie it together with wool at regular intervals and then pack it into a bag. This has to be done each time the sale is dropped, ready for use the next time.
The idea is that the wool breaks as the spinnaker is launched allowing the sail to fill without dropping into the water. A spinnaker this size fills the whole of the inside of the boat when being wooled. Testament to how hard we're all working (and the atmosphere of consideration on board Old em>Pulteney) is that our port watch wooled the whole spinnaker and that despite the noise and the boat being full of spinnaker they didn't wake anyone from the starboard watch.
The word for the day has been focus. Focus on trying to gain every possible incremental gain from what little wind we had, focus on using the calm conditions to maintain the boat and focus on our course. The feeling of the day has been frustration as we have watched out lead become slowly eeked away as other boats with better wind gain on us.
On the upside, in calm conditions we've been honing our cooking skills. Simon and Kate (under Sue's subtle supervision) successfully baked both a chocolate cake and seeded brown bread. So we have a treat for tonight and a treat for breakfast! These small things really make a difference. Spirits remain high and we hope to reach Brest in first place tomorrow evening. But we need some wind so if any of our supporters know of any superstitions or magic spells to charm the wind for us now's the time.