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Race 8 Day 23

GREAT Britain - Simon Talbot

04 FEB 2014 - Race 8

Oh my goodness, what a nail biter, again! The wind has finally filled and it is still almost impossible to call. We have the northern lead pack consisting of Qingdao, Henri Lloyd and ourselves who are all within 3 miles of each other in terms of distance to the finish mark. We also have the southern lead pack consisting of OneDLL and Old Pulteney who on paper are 10 miles further back than the northern lead pack, but have a much better angle to run into the mark at and are again within 3 miles of each other in terms of Distance to Finish, meaning that with the weather forecast to favour the southern lead pack we could literally see five yachts cross the finish line within half an hour of each other.

So there you have it, my current quandary, what do we do to ensure we are near the top of that five, rather than at the bottom? Well as ever, this is all going to come down to just how accurate the weather forecast is and how well we all sail our respective boats. At our happy hour this lunch time, we talked about all the hard work we have gone through this leg and how incredible it is that the race is so close at this late stage in the game and that the next eight hours or so are going to be so critical in determining the outcome of this race.it is time to really dig deep and see what we have in our reserves to get a result that we can all be proud of.

As ever, tactics are going to play a critical role in the final outcome of this race and by my assessment Henri Lloyd are probably in the best tactical position currently and are going to be tricky to out manoeuvre if the wind stays favourable to the northern group and they will be our primary target for the final run in. On the other hand, if the wind changes as forecast to favour the southern group, then we are going to have our work cut out to maximise speed and carry out a couple of flawless gybes to stay ahead of them. This race is so close that it really could be won or lost on any wind shift of evolution that goes in our favour or otherwise.

As you can imagine, this is doing no good at all for the quantity of hair on my head, or for the amount of grey which it contains and I am trying my best to remain calm on board. As we all know, just one mistake is enough to make or break the race at this point and I have everything crossed that it is the others that make the mistakes and not us, but only time will tell!

Please, please send all the good luck you have available as soon as you can and keep everything you have crossed and don't forget to stay glued to the Race Viewer as this one is going right to the wire!

Simon