Race 11 Day 3, Tues June 8th 

I was up at 7am for breakfast and ready to start work on the clew section of the sail.  It was hard to get out of my bunk not just because I was exhausted but also because the temperature had dropped significantly and we'd gone from t-shirts and shorts, still frazzling our way out of New York, to now being in full sleeping bag and into thermal base layers and full foulies.  However at least it's warm when you're buried under piles of spinnaker material – which acts a little like a duvet (great in cold weather but horrible in hot!). It took me until mid afternoon to finish the repair on the clew – which takes a massive amount of stress and was made up of multi-layers of spinnaker material – all of which needed repairing individually. The job is always made easier by great people on mother-watch who keep you fed and watered on a half-hourly basis and other members of the crew helped greatly by digging out their special supplies of chocolate and biscuits to keep us going.  The best incentive is that on each sched today we've extended our lead by a mile here and a mile there.

My estimate of having it ready to fly by 7pm watch changeover looked very unrealistic when it took us 2 hours to re-feed the foot line back through the foot of the sail, a job which took 4 of us doing something very similar to a tug of war with the sail for a good hour solid! Exhausting and hand-crippling too!  To add to the delay we were just getting the sewing machine out to start stitching the taped repair, when the wind picked up and the previously flat boat was now on a very jaunty angle unconditioned to taking charge of a sewing machine! That aside, a team of 4 of us - 1 to sew (me), Albert to feed the thread so it didn't snag, and Charlie and Jo rolling the edge of the spinnaker as tight as possible so that we could get to the repair – feeding half a tennis court sized sail through a 4 inch gap in the sewing machine – battled on against the lean of the boat to get the sail finished. By half past midnight we were done. The whole repair had taken roughly 37 hours, approx 50 cups of tea, several packets of biscuits, 2 bags of mini eggs and a bag of minstrels!!!

We went to bed exhausted but satisfied on two counts...the repair was complete and looked good and we are still nearly 11 miles ahead of the nearest other Clipper yacht – Team Finland.