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Race 3, Day 12

GREAT Britain - Simon Talbot

24 OCT 2013 - Race 3

We are now probably at the most nerve-racking point of this race, all on board the good ship GREAT Britain are on the edge of their seats and not, this time, unfortunately because the boat is heeling but instead because it is tonight that the weather will open up its hand and show us what cards it has got.

After spending much of the day powering along with good wind in our sails, we now find ourselves ghosting along searching for scraps of wind like an alley cat scouring the dustbins for food. We are, as you may have guessed, very close in front of the ridge of high pressure that I have been talking about for the last few days. Most of the fleet is bunched up behind us, some to the north a little and some to the south and a fair few directly behind meaning that if the wind is stronger to the north or south of us, part of the fleet will just sail straight past us whilst we sit powerless in the middle.

We obviously hope things do not pan out this way, but when the wind is light and fickle it becomes very difficult to predict and you can analyse forecasts and base your tactics upon them, as I am sure all the skippers have, but the one thing you can be sure of is that it will not quite do what is forecast. There will definitely be wind holes and areas with stronger wind, so we sit here, biting our nails and pulling our hair out watching for every breath of wind, analysing our sail plan and doing anything we can to keep the boat going in the right direction. I am hoping that by tomorrow afternoon all will have become clear and we will be settling into a more reliable south easterly air stream with the ghost of the high pressure ridge firmly behind us, let us just hope that is not wishful thinking!

Work in the spinnaker hospital continues around the clock to armour plate the damaged clew that we discovered yesterday. I am reliably informed that good progress is being made, but rather worryingly we are down to our last needle as the area that is being sewn is about 10 layers thick and takes some serious work to sew, so fingers crossed that the guys go easy on this one!