The past two days have been quite nice sailing with sunny weather, a flatter boat and good speeds towards Cape Town. This has led to an outbreak of increased morale on board. Symptoms: more rested and talkative crew, music on deck, more elaborate meals in the galley and just in general more energy on board. It started yesterday morning, waking up with better wind and some sun and the reality that Dare To Lead must have hoisted its kite, as the team was rapidly covering the eight miles difference between. We could see them on the horizon, getting bigger by the minute. So obviously we decided to hoist our Code 3 as well. It was a bit choppy sea state, but the wind had freed up enough that it should be a good run. However, rather than hoisting the kite, we inadvertently ended up using the Code 3 to clean the hull of our boat. Oops!

While we were setting up for the hoist, a wave had caught a corner of the sail and within seconds the whole thing was in the water. The tack was still attached and so were the sheets, but some quick thinking on the foredeck had ensured the halyards were quickly removed, otherwise the damage would probably have been worse. As we were trying to figure out how to get it back (I was trying to work out in my head all I had heard of the infamous A-frame retrieval technique), we lost steerage and came up into, and through, the wind. This meant the sail now ran underneath the boat, but luckily this meant it was a bit easier to get to the sail. Our foredeck team (now 14 people strong) quickly tacked to the other side, and with some determination hoisted it back in, while pulling it all across the bottom of our hull. Miraculously, it did not get caught anywhere and our sheets had not got wrapped around anything.

Result: one really wet but undamaged Code 3 that now sports some fashionable camouflage stripes and a clean hull. I say that's a win. Joss and quite a few crew set out to do a super packing job, quite hard work with a wet Code 3. In the meantime, Dare To Lead had come within two miles of us. So, when we hoisted again, we had an audience. This clearly motivated us enough and second time around the hoist went perfectly. And in the end the whole experience brought the team closer together and more confident that they could overcome the problems and mistakes we will at times encounter.

Since then, we have had some lovely sunny spinnaker sailing, including another close encounter with Dare To Lead (Hi Ryan, Charlie, and crew), where it passed us at a few hundred meters. Both boats have some great pictures to mark the occasion. That is until just now when the dreaded high-pressure system that has been slowing down the whole fleet finally caught up with us. Wind holes really are no fun. But if all is well, we should be at full speed again by the time you read this blog, hopefully on our way to the Scoring Gate in a reasonable position for some extra points. How to proceed once past the Scoring Gate, across the minefield that is this year's South Atlantic weather, is a problem for tomorrow.

Ineke, Joss and a happy seadogs crew