Tuesday 10th – Race 3, Day 15

I had one of those nights last night when you think you've slept forever and wake up certain that you've over-slept and find that you've been in bed only 20 minutes.  So you go back to sleep and wake up again positive you've slept through your alarm to find it's only another 15 minutes later.  And so that went on for about 5 hours!  The reason for this is that I was Watch-leader for the day and with that came the responsibility for waking up the rest of the watch and making sure they were on deck on time.  You then are the skipper's right hand person and when he is asleep are supposed to take care of boat, crew and racing position! In training I'd done this with relish but this was now in the actual race and in the middle of an Ocean in very lively conditions.  Add to that the events of the previous week and I felt the troubles of the world were on my shoulders… hence the no sleep!

The night watch turned out to be pretty easy going.  Yes the conditions were 'lively' and then got livelier – which meant we had to put a reef in – but when it came down to it I found that I knew what needed to be done and managed the job fairly well.  The night was pretty wet and miserable with no moon or stars and with no wind indicators other than the ensign flying off the stern of the boat, keeping an eye on changes in wind strength and direction felt a bit hit and miss. However this would have been the way sailors of old did it so I just got on with it as best I could.

As I was watch-leading, Vic was helping Mike B below to finish the repairs on the spinnaker so there was a reduced team of us left in the afternoon to rig a pole, gybe a Yankee and shae out a reef – pretty well all at the same time. The phrase 'less is more' turned out to be true and our tiny team worked like a dream and got the evolutions done with no hitches...and even had some fun at the same time.  Maybe this watch-leading malarkey wasn't so bad after all!

The waves still seem to be getting bigger and bigger and even without a spinnaker up we are managing good speeds. However so are the others – Cork, Finland and Singapore in particular. The latter two are now in stealth mode so we can't tell if they are moving away from us or not.  We're conscious we need to up the pace but also need to make sure we don't make any mistakes. It's a fine line between going faster and pushing too hard.  Getting it right wins races, getting in wrong ends in broken bits of boat – or people and low morale. And it all rests on our poor skipper’s shoulders!