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Race 1 - Day 4

Switzerland - Chris Paxton

04 SEP 2013 - Race 1

It was a happy day today - this from our lead helm during the final stages of the race. He has had a big big smile on his face since 15.00. Having enjoyed the excitement of the final stages of the first race of Clipper 13-14 Race. The surprise announcement about the change to the race finish meant the on watch leader had to change plans rapidly.

It was an brilliantly intense three hours of real concentrated effort from the whole team who are now buzzing and fired up. I think the final conclusion we can make is that if we want to be an efficient and effective racing team we can be and we have learnt how we can do it.

Once the timetable had been set and the end game of the race was upon us there was a sudden change of tempo and a massive surge of collective energy. The off watch appeared as if by magic and the mothers for the day Roser and Paulo left cleaning up in the galley for couple of hours.

With designated crew shouting out boat speed, course over ground and wind speed, and a team of four rotating on the spinnaker trim and others on the grinders and the mainsail, Jonathan did everything he could to get the boat speed up. Vicky calling the strategy.

Meanwhile down in the nav station Paulo, knowing that the race was going to finish at 15.00 UTC and whoever was closest to the reference point would be the winner was working on providing useful information for planning the strategy. The short notice and lack of familiarity with the system meant we were less prepared than we could have been.

We worked hard at using the instruments, finally getting a good combination of information out of nav systems. It was a real test of ingenuity and basically playing with ideas in order to try to work out the sailing strategy - whether to go hotter, closer to the wind and pick up speed, looking at what this did for the distance, watching for other boats close by and assessing their current progress and their likely moves.

Helming and breathing, focus completely on the job in hand this is the job of the helmsman - not to do anything else. The poor visibility making the job tougher. Maintaining spinnaker trim, another job of intense concentration, excelling at this were Marlis and Heather.

In the final stages we were in a fight for position with 4 other boats we managed to see off at least two of them and maybe a third. The moment of the day was to see a competing boat loom out of the fog as we came up on them from behind like a scene from  Pirates of the Caribbean.

The team are really gelling well under Vicky's careful management. The debrief tomorrow and an assessment of where we can improve will come