The last 24 hours have been quite magical on board Dare To Lead. The wind has calmed down considerably and the mal-de-mer amongst the crew subsided sufficiently to allow a full complement on deck. And this was a good thing; we were fast approaching the Pentland Firth, the famous place which has the fastest tidal currents in the British Isles; up to 12 knots at the height of spring tides! Entering this unfamiliar narrow channel of water between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney islands at night, with a foul tide (which promised to be a mere six knots) with moderate winds is, to put it mildly, not completely stress free, but a great, familiar boat with a well drilled and eager crew gave us all the confidence we needed.

Gybing to and fro across the current in close quarters with Visit Sanya, China provided some of the most exciting racing we have encountered since Subic Bay and, as the strong counter current freed us slowly at the other end, a rain squall the like of which only northern Scotland can provide forced us to douse our trusty Code 2 sail, safe to fight another day. This gave Visit Sanya, China the chance to get ahead of us slightly but no matter, we have time to catch up again, and we still have our sail wardrobe intact! More importantly, though, a tired but thoroughly exhilarated crew performed faultlessly to get us safely and quickly through these potentially treacherous narrows, and we are all immensely proud of our achievement.

We celebrated in true style this morning with a fruit cake kindly sent to us by Heather Wood, Guy Waites’ sister. This was a tradition in every stopover before the postponement of the race and everyone on board, not just our four remaining round the world crew, were delighted with this kind, delicious gift. Thanks Heather, it didn’t last long, but was much appreciated. As we enter the North Sea for the final push to the finish, the crew of Dare To Lead remains determined, and full of cake!


Nigel, Angela & Crew