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Race 3, Day 14

PSP Logistics - Chris Hollis

26 OCT 2013 - Race 3

Hello, Clipper Race enthusiasts. It has come to that time again where it looks like (barring a monumental disaster) that this will be the last blog from PSP Logistics for the this leg - Rio to Cape Town.

Let’s review. It has been an interesting leg indeed, especially from a psychology point of view, many highs, and many lows. We had a decent start, opting for less sail on the start line as we knew it would build quickly once offshore, and it did.

While other crew were battling with and wrestling their large headsails, we cruised on by with  our Yankee 3 up for about two days, before peeling to the Yankee 1. We had that up for a following three days, and then our lightweight kite for 5 to 6 days!. So in 8 to 10 days of sailing, we only had one sail change, one kite, and put in and shook out one reef.

The first half of the race was great for us, sailing always just west and then south of the Rhumb Line we led the race for most of it. We thought we were on to something here. We tried to plan the rounding of the bottom mark (the high pressure) in 15 knots of breeze, just enough to average 10 knots.

We were fairly successful in that that, but despite the large distance sailed, the boats deeper south were able to sail that little bit faster, and in turn also get to the other side of the high pressure ridge.

It was interesting to watch that because there was a definite lane to cross in front of us in the north, and the two most southern boats traversed sideways to get up to us and cross in nearly the same spot, of which I was quite surprised they could do.

Well done to the teams of GREAT Britain and Invest Africa. A tasty bit of sailing there, boys. Unfortunately for us, despite getting through the ridge, the wind was a bit temperamental just on the north side, it was in and out up and down, and direction swinging through 50 to 6 degrees at times.

 A variety of sail changes (something we have to remember to do after such little action in the first  half the race), course changes, tactics were employed just to find steadier breeze... This really interrupted our flow, we took a hammering in the ranks, we couldn’t get the boat moving to what we were used to. I know i felt pretty flat at that stage of the game, and it is hard to pull yourself out of it.

I looked at the way we were sailing, sometimes you get a little lucky with the wind, sometimes you don’t. We never stopped sailing our hardest, always 100 per cent, and the sail changes we did, well, they were perfect. With many of them, I left to the crew to their own devices to prep and get on with it, and by the time I got on deck, they are all asking, ‘Are we still on for this skip?’ All perfect, no drama, and we are only 17 on this leg.

So I am proud as punch really - we know we can do it, and we will again. It will be sad to see some of the guys leaving us in Cape Town, some we'll see later on the race, others are backing up for Leg 3!

More on Leg 3 later (and we are looking forward to inducting our fellow shipmates in Cape Town – (don’t worry guys) but we still have a race on here. We got 180 miles to go, it is 0100 UTC, and we are holding Team Garmin and have done for a day or so now.

But our race is turning to protecting the valuable five points still on offer here. As we know, from Race  2, 19 seconds could be the difference between line honours and second, just like  onepoint could be the difference from a podium finish or not.

So focused like a laser, on course and rocking at an average of 10 knots once again (we found our groove, baby)...Cape Town here we come - and I heard there are showers and beer there too, all of which the crew have earned!


See you on the start line on 4 November  for the big one to Australia - we want that home country win badly...Just a warning shot to the fleet