Race 12 - Day 2, Sun June 20th

To say night watch last night was chilly, would be the understatement of the year. Icily cold or flippin' freezing would be more accurate terms and as we all piled on as many layers as we could fit under our foulies. I mused that one of my early training blogs – where I joked about being on iceberg watch in the Solent, might not seem quite so ridiculous now! In truth we are probably reasonably safe at the moment but we are certainly not too many miles away from potential “growlers” – smaller bits of ice broken-off from icebergs – and in our crew briefing we were warned to be on the look-out for just such things! On deck the array of lights all around us – but still behind, just – was a reminder that the fleet were still all bunched up and emphasised the fact that the next two weeks were going to be a closely fought battle. Finland spent 3 hours right on our stern but when they tried to head up to get above us on the windward side, we spotted their manoeuvre, covered them and held them off.

Today I'm on mother-watch with Ken. I'm pleased to report that we are still out in front this morning – we can see the entire fleet spread-out across the horizon all flying their spinnakers – mainly midweight like us. Finland have just changed to their heavy (and as a consequence Singapore have gone soaring past them) and Cape Breton appear to be holding onto their lightweight despite the fairly hefty breeze! It is an amazing sight – which I will try and capture on video – just as soon as I can get the battery charged up!

The day is sunny and fresh but still pretty chilly and it's hard to believe that only two days ago we were walking around in t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops!  Today the guys on deck are once again looking like Michelin men and having to plan their toilet breaks in advance, as it takes so long to peel all the layers off!

We are now heading into the Grand Banks area which is a heavy fishing area so we need to be alert and looking for fishing nets and pots and trawlers. This was the area featured in the film 'Perfect Storm'....having seen the film I'm hoping for a much easier time than those poor fishermen had! I also have to keep reminding myself that as it was a film, George Clooney didn't actually die!

The positions change round again this afternoon as the wind builds and we watch a couple of boats shred their mid-weight spinnakers in the too-strong gusts. We whip ours down and change to the heavy-weight in time. Both Singapore and Edinburgh were not quite quick enough!

The race is on to be first through the “Ice Gate” - a virtual gate imposed by Clipper to keep us south and away from any potential ice in the sea. There are no points for this but the psychological advantage over the other boats would be worth having!

After a supper of bangers and mash (not proper bangers – but close!) Ken and I got involved in a sail change and spinnaker pack – a perfect after dinner activity before bed!!!!