Having missed a mark in the first part of the race my team has rallied and overcome all hurdles thrown at them. We continued up along the next leg of the race in last place having lost two hrs. My team didn't give up. We worked hard to keep on the pace, hoping for an opportunity in the light winds that were forecast. We sailed fast and looked at the GRIBS and the current. We discussed a preference for being up tide when the wind dropped and tried to make easterly ground when we could. The winds favoured us and we looked to Unicef as an example as they had done with us in the previous race. They had managed to circumnavigate some of the fleet and correctly to the West. The breeze was due to go right to being on the at side of the course and was always going to pay on both accounts. As we approached the pack we had a slight right hand advantage and a little extra pressure as we closed in. Now belatedly aware of the situation the fleet responded digging deep to carve upwind to cut us off. It worked. We were behind Seattle, WTC Logistics and Zhuhai having picked off Imagine your Korea earlier in the day.
From the left hand side we saw yet another boat coming in. It was Dare To Lead. They had been one of the left hand boats and had lost second place to 9th in the leg which must have been frustrating. We closed further as the fleet all sailed on starboard tack. It was time to dig into the shift harder. We had tried pointing to be the inside boat on the shift but the fleet were too far ahead so being the most right wasn't enough. We had to be even further right, but not so far we would be lifted beyond the mark and need to bear away. A tack away was dangerous. With a strong current our north easterly mark looked to be swimming away from us as we took note of our south eastern heading. It was painful but the forecast said the shift would continue. It had to work. We tacked over again after an hour of sailing and could no longer see the competition. Their port tack must be worse than ours when they came back towards us, afterall we were lifted by 10 degrees since our previous starboard tack. The wind had started to go right.
We continued to be lifted until it was evident we would beat the three boats and Dare To Lead, now trailing. As we closed in on the mark we found yet another surprise. GoToBermuda and Wavy were coming in from the left also. For at least a time we had pulled into fifth place. After an 18 mile delay.
The excitement on board is ecstatic. Everyone is really pleased to be working hard and having to fight right from the back has been exhilarating. We are still currently with four boats to catch and three are just ahead. They are all sailing very very well and we are struggling to make the tiniest of margins on them. They are currently 4 miles ahead. Five hours ago when I came on deck they were 5 or 6 miles ahead but there is only 134 miles left to go. At the current rate of catching we will run out of race course and we would desperately like to gain a second place here after our setback.
Thank you Unicef for being a great example of the upwind standard of sailing we used you as a benchmark for many hours before our paths separated. Wishing you guys good luck you! Fought from the back too.