Leg 6 Race 8 Day 10, Thurs April 29th

Thurs 29th
Still struggling with the 11pm – 3am watch last night. Also a very frustrating watch. We can still see Singapore although they have managed to put some space between us now and we are very much the ones chasing them down. No matter what we do we don't seem to be able to close the gap. The wind is not on our side and keeps veering back round to the west which means we are heading almost due east – sometimes slightly north of east (NOT GOOD) when we want to be heading south east. There's little we can do other than make the best course we can and hope the wind shifts back to coming more from the north or at least north west , which will give us a fighting chance. Each time the scheds come in now we get more and more depressed. The leading group are pulling away all the time. Australia got maximum points from the scoring gate, followed by Finland and then Qingdao. We are all delighted for Qingdao as this is their first scoring gate point. It is especially well done as they are sailing under the guest skipperage of Hannah Jenner. – She's due to skipper the new Cork clipper and was overseeing the final fit out of the boat in Antigua. At the last minute she was asked to step in to take care of Qingdao as Skipper Chris was stranded in the UK due to the Icelandic volcano putting a halt on all UK flights. She only arrived straight from Antigua the night before race start – and hates flying!

In between frustratingly trying to trim a flogging spinnaker and helming – crammed in a few chapters of my book and was so engrossed in it I stayed on deck during my off watch all afternoon until I had consumed every page. Nikki did a sterling job on mother watch pretty well on her own and topped it all at the end of the day by making 2 cakes for dessert – chocolate mocha and an apple and cinnamon cake. Both looked like they'd come out of a high-class bakery and the standards bar for mother duty was raised another couple of notches. I'm just very relieved I don't have to follow that tomorrow!!!

I'd been swotting up further on my constellations, which I was eager to try and find on night watch. Under Patrick M's tutelage I also arrived armed with binoculars (had never thought of using them for looking at the stars – DOH!) and was amazed at how many more of my little twinkly things appeared by using them.  My entertainment was thwarted once again by a blanket of cloud that snuffed out the sparkly objects of my desire in one quick billow.