Ahoy. We are on our way. The last set of blogs were stories of wind holes, Windseekers, and drift-a-thons around Virtual Mark - Nano, but now we have a very different picture. Day 2 brought beautiful sunshine and some lovely downwind conditions; we had the Code 2 flying for almost 24 hours until the early hours when the wind slightly increased. Not wanting to push our luck we dropped the Code and continued under white sails.

During our stop in Cape Town, all the new joiners must do a day refresher sailing. Usually, two crews come together with a Skipper and an AQP of each team and we spend the day reminding the crew of all they learned through their training. This time me and Joss, the AQP of Perseverance (currently being borrowed by Ha Long Bay Viet Nam for this race) took six of the new Washington DC crew and six of the Perseverance lot out for the day. Before the refresher sail, Ineke and I chatted about what we’d like the crew to get out of it. We both agreed that by the end of the day, we wanted to make sure our crews were slick with their reefing (those not into boaty language - this is changing the size of our main sail).I’m very glad we did as earlier whilst having a lovely time zipping along, we were found by quite an angry squall containing some 50kt gusts. We might have been ever so slightly overpowered in our full main (up to that point we hadn’t had much over 30kts true and going downwind our apparent wind was even less), but we’d done all our practice so everyone jumped to their stations, and we quickly popped in a couple reefs and flew through the squall. It’s great to see old and new crew coming together, reacting quickly, and getting the job done well.

We’ve stuck to our reefs through the night, and although it’s been tempting to remove them, every now and then the wind will sneakily increase making us grateful that they’re still in place. This is a long race and spending these first few nights allowing the helms to get used to the dark and gusty conditions without being too overpowered will hopefully benefit us in the long run.

The rest of the boat is all running smoothly, we seem lucky that no one really seems to be down with seasickness. (Florian started feeling a little green but took an antihistamine and a B12 vitamin tablet, had a little sleep on his off-watch, and came back bouncing, I’ve not heard that one before but obviously, it worked wonders). The heads are sparkling and the food coming from the galley is wonderful. Particularly must shout out Bill and Bence who produced a delicious spag bol which the whole crew devoured!

Looks like this wind will be with us for a few days so we’re excited to continue on our speedy journey to Australia!

All the best Hannah, Ben, and the Washington, DC crew