Sunday 1st Race 3 Day 6
Halloween last night wasn't quite as planned. We ended up having a very busy night-watch so had no time to organise ourselves.  However Piers had conjured up some Pumpkin balloons from somewhere – with lights so they looked like lanterns and the second night-watch managed to conjure a ghoul, a ghost and a black cat. The only trick that was played by us 'spooks' was to confiscate Piers's special treat box... with a ransom note/poem left in its place saying that he wouldn't see it again until we were in first place... we like to live dangerously on board!

I saw my first Albatross today.  They are truly fantastic creatures with a massive wing-span that allows them to soar effortlessly on the wing for hours, weeks, months even. I'm sure I read somewhere that they can spend over a year on the wing and will only go back to land to mate and raise young, until they too are old enough to set-off on this mammoth flight pattern.  Today we are witnessing part of that cycle as we appear to have mum, dad and two juveniles – who appear to be being put through “flight school” as we are now terming their drills.  There are quite a few other birds around too – although without the aid of a bird book we're not sure what they are!  I'm going to email Hymers College to see if the kids can find out for us from the photos!
We are still pushing hard and that has paid off big time.  The midnight scheds had us in third – ahead of California and by the 6am scheds we are now officially in the lead!  Hoorah!  Moral is high and for those of us on the first leg we now feel like we are finally being rewarded for our efforts. Piers also now has his treat box back!
The swell has been building gradually for a few days now – we are starting to get the remnants of some of the massive southern Ocean waves. You can sense a gradual build-up and during our 'AA' briefing Piers confirms that we have two new fronts approaching and that means more wind and bigger waves!  We take down the medium kite and put the heavy-weight up. Mid-hoist the halyard gets wrapped around the spreaders and we are threatened with an immediate drop and huge loss of ground.  However Tom gets into the harness, gets bounced up the mast and performs an untangle operation that saves the hoist and the day! We're back racing quickly. Bring it on!