Hello all! When you last left us we were manoeuvering round the northerly marks of the course, having completed the second Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint section and on our way to the third. We chose a good moment to tack and head south, and a nice close hauled run saw us pass the virtual mark just 48 metres to the (correct) side of it. It may interest you to know that our virtual marks are actually complex holographic projections, from orbiting geostationary satellites directly above. In fact, between each race it's a big job moving each satellite around in orbit to the new virtual mark positions. These ex-NASA satellites do occasionally go wrong and send the virtual mark holographic projections on the fritz, which presumably is what happened earlier this race, to Qingdao it probably appeared in a different place than it should.
When you think of Clipper Race Control, what you should really be thinking of is a huge control room with banks of computers everywhere, like NASA's mission control, with the Race Director overseeing everything that goes on - think Ed Harris as Gene Kranz in Apollo 13, immaculate waistcoat and totally in control of the complex situation out in space (or in our case out at sea) and you're basically there. Though obviously without the disasters and explosions and daring rescue missions and such. In fact his job is probably a lot more concerned right now with complex global geopolitical situations rather than our routine sailing situations. Maybe we should all find a deserted tropical island, anchor off the beach and hang around sunbathing and drinking pina coladas until all this blows over.
Anyway I digress, after passing this towering virtual mark close enough to touch, the wind promptly died, because of course it did. It's what happens in these parts and we're getting used to it by now. Fortunately this time it didn't last too long, we got the Windseeker up and kept to course, and soon the wind came back, Windseeker down and Yankee 1 and Staysail up to get a better course towards the final gate, and now we are shooting off towards Subic Bay at high speed (11 knots as I type this), attempting to keep off the challengers of Zhuhai, Seattle and Dare To Lead snapping at our heels.
See you all soon back on shore, hopefully not too much more than 24 hours! (Traditional end-of-race-wind-hole permitting.)
Wavy, Mike and Crew