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Race 8 Day 23

Switzerland - Vicky Ellis

04 FEB 2014 - Race 8

It’s going to be a long nerve racking night for us and an exciting final days viewing for our followers.  We have only 100 miles left to go as I type and we are estimated to finish in the European evening, so keep the Race Viewer on over dinner!  All the finishing positions are still up for grabs in this epically long first part of Race 8.  It may be one of the closest finishes we have seen yet, it’s doing my nerves no good, I'm shaking but that may be the coffee!

We are currently fetching the finish mark with our spinnaker flying on a beam reach (wind on our side) and hoping we don't need to gybe to make the finish mark which would add extra distance to our final route.  We are making the most of the strong south-setting Philippines current that is speeding us along towards the island of Palau Miangas, half way to the finish line.

 This island was discovered by the Spanish and named Las Palmas but was taken over by the Dutch East India Company.  With contested sovereignty from many parties, it was officially declared by the US as owned by the Netherlands after the Treaty of Paris (1898) but has since moved to become part of modern day Indonesia. For an island 1 mile long and 110 metres tall, that is some serious paperwork.  I'm intrigued but mustn’t stop!

The crew are on deck trimming hard to keep the kite flying and eking everything we can out of ‘Heidi’ (our nickname for the boat) as the wind teases us.  Today’s mother and round the world crew member Roser Preuss has just appeared with a round of homemade ice lollies - excellent!

This morning, round the world crew member Mona Stalsberg has been up the mast to fix the top of the mainsail where it attaches to the sliders in the mast.  The connecting webbing had come undone and needed stitching back on, not easy as the slight rolly swell at deck level is exaggerated at the top of the mast and it was swinging like a pendulum!  Leg 5 crew member Maren Excel was on the helm and a great job of keeping the boat as still and steady as possible.

I did say that there was no party planned last night, after two nights of frivolous distractions.  However French round the world crew member and watch leader Jonathan Bordas did what I can only describe as one of his bravest moves on board to date - arrived for dinner in fancy dress with a fog horn to celebrate the rugby scores!

'Til tomorrow folks,

With love from the storming along crew on Switzerland