Life is ticking over nicely here on board ClipperTelemed+. The Southern Ocean is really living up to its reputation with large swells and a stiff sailing breeze rarely below 30 knots. We did some basic maintenance earlier as one of our spinnaker halyards, a rope that pulls the spinnaker to the top of the mast, had stripped its sheath, rendering it unusable. Special mention goes to round the world crew members Linda McDavitt and Han Kim for fixing up the anti-chafe and running it up the rig respectively.

Linda has been a very busy bee these last few days and she is in no doubt the strop queen. She hasn't been moody you understand, she has been making lots of strops! We have changed the configuration of how we attach our headsails onto the bow to a way much more to my liking so she has been very busy helping to do that.

The sun has been out today and has actually had some warmth to it, which after the last few days of cold has been very welcome. We have been surrounded by swarms of petrels and gazed in continued awe at the albatrosses swooping and diving between them. It reminds me of a scene from a World War 2 movie with all the little fighter planes surrounding the big heavy bombers as they fly along.

This evening tells a much different story and as I write at 0200 boat time there is a heavy cloud layer and a constant wind of 35 to 45 knots. We are absolutely smoking along with one reef in the main and our Yankee 3. She is a bit of a handful and the boom is making some creaking sounds in the gusts so once I close this I think I will put the second reef in!

I had a good stint on the helm earlier and pulled a 22 knot surf but upon handing over to round the world crew member Alex Laline, he trumped me with nearly 24 knots! I always make special effort to hold the speed record on board and I did until yesterday at 25.6 knots. Later on in the day Leg 3 crew member Chris Ingram pulled a 26.5 out of the bag.

I'm trying to convince the crew that my record of 32 knots from the last race should stand but they are having none of it. Interestingly enough all of the aforementioned were achieved using white sails with not a spinnaker in sight!

November 14th is a very special day as it's my mum Catherine’s birthday today. Mum died shortly after I returned from the last race and two years ago today I was in roughly the same spot, at the navigation station of a Clipper 70, here in the Southern Ocean. Over the years I have pretty much always been at sea for her birthday and I would always give her a phone call via the satellite phone.

I’m sorry I can't call you this time mum. Happy birthday. I love you.