Thursday 4th August

Biscay rages on today, as does the bout of mal de mare that has hit about 5 of the crew. After a comparatively light start – during which the early on deck crew were escorted along their way by a large pod of dolphins – which I filmed with my new GoPRO and pole toy – even getting some great underwater shots. The wind soon picked back up to a fierce blow and I spent the rest of the morning with more computer work which was extremely trying in the conditions. I started to wonder a) if I would soon be getting friendly with Mr Black Vomit Bucket too and b) why I had been so eager to take this job on in the first place! I had my reputation to uphold though (not actually sure what that is) so I soldiered on and packed away the office at the earliest possible opportunity. I had a fourth sort through my bunk and kit, got the camera into it’s raincover and then trialled my drybag rucksack as a means of getting the camera on deck and having both my hands free to get about.   As I discovered yesterday, when our bouncy castle ride started, moving around on deck in these conditions is somewhat scary when you have a professional video camera in your hands. The trial seemed to work ok and after a shaky start and an attempt to use full auto mode – which blatently didn’t work – I managed to get some reasonable shots which were even in focus – Bonus! The rough stuff continued as did the rotation of crew coming off watch and falling asleep in the saloon, too exhausted to make it back to their bunk.  Some didn’t have a bunk to go back to as the 2 hospital bunks are being used as storage spaces so the saloon is the only option when you’re bunk mate is passed out with sea sickness. I faced my own challenge of trying to hold onto a laptop and two hard-drives in the nav station so I could back up everything I’ve shot. An easy enough task on the face of it, but anyone who has ever sat in the nav station with the boat on an acute heel and bouncing all over the place will know that it’s hard enough just to keep yourself in one place, let alone two armfuls of precious electronic kit!  I’m praying that there are not too many of those occasions on this Race, while knowing full well that there will indeed be many more to come!  Best not to think about that though.

During the early afternoon Visit Finland crossed in front of our bow within about 100 metres. As it was our everyone up time the whole crew were sitting on the rail.  Finland who had about 3 people on deck must have thought New York was  a die-hard racing team, making everyone sit on the rail regardless of on or off watch!  It was interesting to see some of the crews reaction.  The sight was impressive as their boat pitched up and down in the fairly rough seas.  It only then dawned on them that that was exactly what we looked like and for some – especially those that had been struggling with feeling ill -  I think it made them feel not so bad about feeling rough. You could also sense that there was a swelling of pride: they were here, in an ocean racing yacht, facing their first big challenge and they were getting on with it – and with style.  New York was still in the top four and fighting all the way to regain the lead.