Good morning, afternoon or Monday Funday as we say. Did you miss me? Been a long time, I can only apologise, but now for a bit of an AQP lowdown.

As I write this it is about five degrees, and the sun has been up for about two hours, we are doing our best to keep the boss asleep, and the guys are doing a great job! I’m currently giving them space on deck watching the nav numbers and allowing the team to take responsibility for the speed of the boat while we listen to some sad country songs. It’s great to see the passion, not only through our watch leaders but everyone onboard taking the bull by the horns and treating the boat as a home. But anyway, onto sailing.

There are two key elements to ocean racing: safety and speed. As I say after every evolution: “Did we do it? Was it safe? Was it fast?”

Now, we are closing down our first week I want to go through this criteria: Firstly, did we do it? Absolutely, we have smashed it to the best of our ability, the team have absolutely pulled together showing strength all the time which generates a great energy. Was it safe? Absolutely, a few bruises from the wars but everyone is safe happy and healthy. Was it fast? Well, that bit we were working on, but we are back…

As the active supporters and blog readers you are, I’m sure you are aware of the situation impeding our speed, but I will go over again for all the new readers. Over the last few days, we have been battling our mast track coming off, this is what holds the luff, the front edge, into the mast and stops the sail looking more like a bow than a wing. As this was broken, we were stuck in reef three, our smallest amount of mainsail we can put up. This was fantastic for about twelve hours when it was blowing six knots however, not so much for the rest of it.

But, enough of that and time for the story of the repair… Woken up with the sunrise, Stephane from the sail locker, where he was having a cheeky nap before embarking on this adventure, myself thankfully from my bunk. We suited up for the slight chill that was outside, while Nano dropped the main. We had a plan and what a plan we thought we had! “Let's just drill the rivets” we said “it’ll be easy” we said! So, we began, much to our demise the rivets are a lot harder and harder to drill than we had anticipated this led to some quick thinking from Stephane to just drill new holes. WOW what a plan it worked super well, with Marc handling the setup of the tools at the base, the flying Dutchman Nanne on the helm and Stephane and I taking it in turns to see who could make the hole the least wonky while the waves pushed us about.

For those interested in the fix to our unique problem, we drilled new holes through the track and into the mast, then we would carefully tap the hole to create a thread inside to which we would screw in a pre-made thread also known as a helicoil. A bolt was then screwed in and made tight to fix the track to the mast. We repeated this six times taking a total of five hours which is absolutely awesome. I couldn’t be prouder of how the team reacted over the days of not racing, they have been absolute stars!

But now to now as yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift that’s why we call it the present. After the track fix, we had quite frankly the best happy hour yet and Nano did an exceptional job at resurfacing the urge to race, for we are not the Punta Pod, nor the Punta Parade, we are the Punta Pack and we race like such. The hunt so far is going well, the team setting our macro goal of hunting the boats down, and then micro goals going down to the week, day and then hours. Its important to do this as it allows us to see progress, good or bad, on a visible scale creating something tangible in the monotony of the ocean.

We’ve had a great few days, with some one-on-one coaching improving everyone on the helm trying to create some superstars of all conditions and it’s working amazingly. Diego stepping up to the helm and Miguel on the verge of greatness. Rachel is SMASHING it, I’m scared she’s coming for my job! Scott is all over it like a dog on a bone, and don’t even get me started on our Victor! And that’s just to mention a few. Smashing through the icy blue water with almost freezing conditions. Punta4Lyfe

The hunt is on so keep vigilant we may be closer than you realise...Angus, Nano and the Punta riders