Leg 4 Race 6 - 4th Feb, Day 3

Last night we saw the fruits of all of our lugging and rail-sitting efforts. The scheds that arrived around 11pm put us in second place next to Cape Breton.  We were chuffed to bits and even more so when, having tacked, we crossed Cape Breton's path. We were on Starboard tack and therefore the stand-on vessel and so as we were set to collide, Cape Breton had to duck behind us to avoid us. As they ducked behind us, that technically then put us in first place!  Admittedly only just – but with the race places changes so rapidly at the moment we are crowing about every success we have while we can!!!

With some good concentration and continued lugging and sitting, we managed to put about 3 miles between us and The Bretons.

This morning the positions are still very close. We went through a patch of very light wind so breakfast was eaten “a la rail” but this time on the low side to help the boat heel. We are supposed to be moving slowly around the boat too, in a mouse like fashion to make minimum disruption to the flow but most people seem to have their mice and elephants very much confused! 
Cape Breton have been playing cat and mouse with us all day. They snuck ahead briefly this morning but we have managed to pull back the miles and as of now (3.30pm DMT – Dudin Mean Time) we are about 3 miles ahead of them again.
We are all very lethargic – which we are putting down to the heat and our bodies adjusting back into the watch system and there is a split down the crew between those that are permanently hungry and those that feel it's too hot to eat.  I'm in the latter group at the moment and have just refused a chocolate biscuit to accompany my tea! (Those that know me will know what a shocker that is!). We are 9 minutes from start of next watch so I'd better go and get on deck!

Well we've just done our first headsail change of the race! We were skirting round to the south of a small Island – Pulua Bungalan when the wind suddenly veered and died forcing us to tack and then tack again to try and find some breeze and regain our momentum.  However once going, we soon headed straight into some very ominous looking black clouds – bringing back memories of last leg and those 6 hour squalls we got to know and love so well!!!  The wind picked up quickly and as I was on the helm and it didn't ever really drop the threatened rain onto us, I managed to stay far drier than my fellow crew mates who were on the bow wrestling down the yankee 1 and hoisting the yankee 2 sail. They frequently disappeared completely as waves gushed over the bow completely enveloping everything there in a watery embrace.  As a precaution I counted the heads before and after each wave and mentally ran through in my mind the man-overboard process! Not necessary as everyone was safely clipped on but we have learned over the past 5 months to expect the unexpected and I figure it's best to be prepared!

Despite worrying that Cape Breton might eke some advantage out of seeing us hit a wind shift and being forewarned and forearmed, as the night watch crept along we kept them  at a respectable arms length – a 5 mile arm length to be exact! The next scheds arrived and we're still in first place – we know it's only a tentative lead though but every little helps!
The waves continued to hurl themselves over the boat – which in turn meant the hatches had to be closed which then meant the poor off-watch tried in vain to sleep while being slowly roasted alive in their bunks.  I have all that to look forward to at 2am!