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Race 3, Day 12

OneDLL - Olly Cotterell

24 OCT 2013 - Race 3

Good morning OneDLL fans! It is day twelve at sea since leaving Rio and the African coast is getting tantalizingly close. In case you have not noticed, we have employed the Ninja Smurf and are in Stealth Mode. As a result of this I am not going to talk too much about tactics or sail plans... Let’s just say we are doing all we can to stay with the leaders of the pack and that there are one or two more tricky tactical decisions to be made.

Last night we dropped ‘Havoc’ as she had a small hole in her after doing six good days of service. I decided that the wind had veered around enough that we could spare a bit of time to do a repair. Though finding the small hole proved to be like finding a needle in a haystack despite the panels being numbered. The crew did an excellent job and soon the kite was repacked and ready to hoist.

Last night was pitch black with no horizon, no moon and no reference point. Throw in a moderate swell coming from the south west which likes to kick the stern about and you get very tricky helming conditions even for the best helms.

As we went to re-hoist ‘Havoc’, guess what arrived… Dolphins, and lots of them. It must be something  to do with now having sailed over 8000 miles together or that they are incredibly focused on the race but the crew did not flinch as the shout went out.

These dolphins were particularly special because it was so dark and there is a lot of phosphorescence in the water (little creatures that light up when disturbed), the dolphins caused streams of light as they played around the yacht. I also saw my first proper albatross... No doubt at all, it was MASSIVE. It was however sitting on the surface because there is not very much wind right now!  As we close in on the South African coastline, we should see an increase in the amount of wildlife. This is thanks to a cold water current called the Benguela current. This nutrient-rich water causes a bloom of life and many migratory animals visit the area in order to feed. We aren't quite in it yet as the water temperature is too warm.

Tomorrow we come out of Stealth Mode with a lot of other yachts. I don't know how the dice will land, just that they will land very close together.

Until tomorrow.