Yesterday morning, after writing my blog, I went on deck to take the helm for a while. We were still under reefed Main and Yankee 2 at the time, running downwind in a gale. Almost as soon as I took the helm, the boat pitched her bow down a steep wave and launched herself to a speed of 28.9 knots. A new record for the Zhuhai team, and, as far as we know, the second fastest speed recorded by any of the boats on this race, so far.
After that, things began to calm down and by mid afternoon we had completed the 180 nautical miles of the Ocean Sprint part of the race, at an average speed of about 11.3 knots.
Hearing about damage and wrapped Spinnakers on other boats in the fleet, we decided to be conservative and only changed from the Yankee 2 to the Code 2 Spinnaker early in the evening. The wind went quite light during the first part of the night and we had to put in a couple of gybes around virtual mark Burkes, west of Lisbon.
As the dawn twilight begins, we are reaching along directly to the final virtual mark, Santos Gonzalez, off Cape St Vincent. The tracking system seems to indicate that we are making some slow gains through the fleet as the front runners have spread out, trying to find a way through a patch of light winds further ahead.
Wildlife sighting of the day was a Pomarine skua, one of the least commonly seen members of the skua family, at least in this part of the world. It is easy to identify by its long, rounded tail feathers.
Ina Baum, our team coordinator, and Bernard Tomasini, our stop-over manager, spent yesterday in long discussions, pouring over documents trying to plan the most efficient use of our time and team members to ensure that we get the boat ready for the next leg as soon as possible.