Good morning all, AQP Mike here!
Another temporary stowaway for this race - apart from me - is our Onboard Reporter, Dani, here to take epic shots of the crew looking beautiful and video of our smooth and well-honed sail evolutions (it says here). She was also on board GoToBermuda for Race 2 across the South Atlantic, where apparently we/they received the moniker of the vampire boat, due to the habit of doing all the sail changes in the dark, just to make her life as videographer difficult.
Anyway, so far we are living up to that name on this race as well. Wavy already mentioned our Le Mans start in the dark, then the following evening we approached the second gate of the course just as the sun was setting and the moon was yet to rise. We just turned the mark by some careful downwind sailing, then came up into the wind aiming for the third gate, dropped the Code 2 Spinnaker that was up for virtually all of the first leg of the course, and up went the Staysail and Yankee 1 - all in close proximity to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam (Hi Josh!) doing the same thing a few metres away, and all in the dark. So yet again, no video.
Since then we have been trimming our way close hauled up the second leg (Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint) of the course in a somewhat variable wind, and just as I type this the wind is slowly dying off unfortunately, potentially leaving us bobbing about and desperately trying to drift through the gate in hardly any wind. Hopefully we will be able to keep this little hint of breeze until we are at least through these gates!
We also appear to be in some popular fishing grounds here - the birdlife are making a habit of swooping around the boat in the hunt for flying fish, with an occasional dive followed by a neat splash as they spot one scared out of the water by our approaching boat.
Wavy, Mike and Crew