The 3am – 7am watch was pretty eventful. The winds are easing and initially the sea state still confused but undoubtedly easier to handle than yesterday's evening watch. Even though we have been putting the clocks forward an hour each day for the last 2 days, to bring ourselves in line with BST, it is still light at 3am. The full moon is still up but is soon overshadowed by the sun who warms our spirits as it bathes us in the glow of a beautiful amber morning.

We finally make a move to shake the final reef out of the main as we need to move faster if we mean business. However mid way through setting up for this, we head-up and the starboard pole makes a strange 'Twang'. It bent, under the force, at a 90 degree angle. That's NOT supposed to happen!

It takes us a good half an hour to gybe the headsail, get the damaged pole down and made safe before rigging the other pole and re-gybing the headsail back in place. Then we finally get to shake out the reef – the job we'd started initially. By this time we are all desperate to strip off several layers of clothes – a result of hard work and the sun doing it's job well!

Even with the reef out we start to feel that we should be going faster and are chomping at the bit to put the heavyweight spinnaker up but we all know the sea is still a little too lumpy and it would probably collapse in the troughs of the waves, more than it would fly at the moment. We just need to sit and wait for the sea to settle for an hour or so.

Eventually just before end of watch (as is quite often the case when you're most looking forward to your bunk) Justin arrives and declares us ready for the kite hoist! We get it flying and I then realise that he must have got the latest schedules in. The other boats are out of stealth mode and Qingdao have overtaken us by 3 miles! We really DO need to put the foot to the floor if we are to hang on to 3rd/4th place (dependent on Cork's position). We'd like to do better but realistically a third place is the best we can hope for now. Still – we have a first and second place pennant to fly so perhaps it's only right that we should get the full set!

By the time we take over at 7pm Qingdao are now 5 miles in front of us and we really need to start pushing. We are confident that they won't have the angle to fly their spinnaker though, so we are hoping by the time the next sched comes in we'll see the benefit of an extra half knot an hour that we should be getting. The night is once again dark, with stormy clouds around and we watch nervously as black clouds threaten rain and potentially big winds shifts that could mean we have to do a swift drop of the kite. We prepare all the lines in readiness and even change into full foulies so we don't get drenched but most of it passes in front of us and we hold onto the kite.

Towards the end of our watch I start to gets pains down my left leg while holding onto the spinnaker sheet and no matter which position I shuffle into I can't find one that is comfortable. Frustrated I have to relinquish charge of the sail trim and sit out the last hour, desperately trying to stretch out my spine, hoping that whatever might have nudged out of place will click back in quickly. As we go off watch I hope that despite the roll on the boat a few hours flat on my back in my bunk will do the trick.