Cape Town in sight...well almost...
Day 10 of Leg 2 sees GREAT Britain still in pole position (although one or two of our competitors have engaged stealth mode so we can only be 99.9 per cent sure of our lead!) and making stonking progress towards Cape Town.
Beginning to get close to the finish line after just 10 days at sea is a marked change to Leg 1 and the crew are enjoying the steady winds and boat speeds and the lack of any 'doldrums nonsense' to contend with. That said, as I type skipper is reviewing the weather forecasts and trying to gauge when the breeze will change from constant to light so we're definitely not home and hosed yet.
Our routing for this leg took us south of 40 degrees which I believe means I can tick the 'sailing in the Southern Ocean' box, even if it was only for a short amount of time (wait until Leg 3 I've been told). They call it the roaring forties however our experience to date has been more meowing than roaring. With the reliable South Atlantic pressure systems providing just enough wind though and coupled with the following waves, we've seen boat speeds top 22 knots and grins from ear to ear on the faces of those on deck and especially those at the helm (which is where I still enjoy spending most of my time).
On deck is the place to be in conditions like these and I have to say the last few days have been an absolute joy with a real buzz amongst the crew. Getting ever closer to that first beer, shower and comfy bed has something to do with it I am sure but aside from that there is a real camaraderie onboard with a good dose of friendly and healthy banter (especially between the helms and spinnaker trimmers - those pesky trimmers all seem to think they never put a foot wrong!). Add that to our progress in the race, the glorious sunshine, the glistening sea, the gently breaking waves and the following albatrosses and you can hopefully get a sense of why we're all smiling.
With a bit of luck those smiles will persist as we cross the finish line with a podium finish. I have a feeling though that even if the weather gods scupper our plans and we finish a bit further down the table, the smiles will still be there.
After all, we will have just sailed across another ocean and enjoyed the delights that ocean sailing brings. How lucky we are to be able to experience such a thing.
Dale Acton (aka Big D)