Good morning all and what a fine morning it is.
Michelle Weiss is our Team Coordinator (TC). She works hard at sorting and organising the ship, its paperwork and even going above and beyond to help with watch lists, rotas and the general crew dynamic. She has clearly been missing Phil and Kev, who are sadly off for injury rehab time for this race only. Michelle's role as TC is a thankless task, so I wanted to let her know that her dedication and hard work to and for the team doesn't go unnoticed. The boat wouldn't be the same without her. Michelle is not a one trick pony. She is the first to get involved in the evolutions, always volunteering to do the harder tasks, whether going to the bow or even up the mast.
Today it was great to see her asking about the trim as her daily position as Performance Manager) PM. She knows far more than she lets on and is far better than she gives herself credit for. Sometimes people like to really know a subject before pitching opinions above and beyond others which is always a good philosophy. Instead of outspeaking our TC sets the standard of reading our sailing books like North U Trim and the RYA sail trim book written by an old friend Rob Gibson. If every boat had a crew member, let alone a TC like Michelle, I'm sure they would function better. Thanks Mish for all your hard work.
So with all that hard work from Michelle and the whole team over the past 24hrs I have to say we are looking ok. Unicef have tracked with us and have always been a fast boat. They will be hard to beat in this race and at this stage it's too early to even predict a front half position. We will have lots of light airs before the end and just like the last race these might harm the leaders and allow boats to overtake from the back.
We have been very busy with numerous sail changes, all been well executed, closely led by Matt Springett (Watch Leader for the first time in his race), George Dawson, Watch Leader since Race 3 and their assistants. Jody Shaw our engineer steps into an assistant Watch Leader position and for the first time this race and we have Doeke stepping up to fill the position too. He had said he didn't want to be a Watch Leader but I thought he would do the job well. In fact, we have a number of people that could easily step up into the role. I digress.The sail changes have been key to staying at optimal speed. Tactically everything seems to have fallen into place. Not being involved in the north bound Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint with the nine other yachts has helped hugely.
When competing in a sprint we are awarded points for best progress over two infinite lines of either latitude or longitude. In this sprint the lines were latitude meaning that yachts needed to make best progress North to secure points. This means that we were advantaged being able to play the tack that worked for the best progress allowing us to make our way north with current and then head eastwards without worrying about our sprint time. I'm sure our strategy of going through the sprint in the other direction will allow the competition to take similar advantages on the way back home to the finish.
I'm looking forward to my latest forecast as there will be some interesting decisions to be made over the coming two days. It's very unlikely our path back will remotely resemble a point to point race where one takes straight lines between the marks.
Join us tomorrow and please, please spare some pounds for Unicef UK charity. You find the link to our Just Giving page on our Qingdao supporters page found on Facebook. Thank you everyone look forward to keeping you up to date