Bouncy, bouncy, splishy, splashy, and sicky, sicky for some as we left the shores of Den Helder for our last race to Southampton with 2 reefs in the main and the Yankee 2 flying. Since then we’ve had glorious downwind sailing under lightweight spinnaker. Everyone is enjoying the calm seas and pleasant weather for our last race. It’s a mixture of sunshine and showers in a moderate temperature as we sail through an occluded front and then a trough before our final high to race finish. The gentle weather has brought with it the most amazing cloud formations, rainbows, sky colour and our last few spectacular sunsets and sunrises. I got up this morning at 2am to a beautiful clear starry night with the Milky Way streaking the sky. What a way to finish the race! It’s all the good stuff packed into one short race (even some dolphins playing along the bow yesterday). The one thing that is slightly different about this race though is that it’s along the shores of the area we all trained in, so not only are we inshore (a first) and familiar with the on-shore geography, we are also familiar with the coastline (nasty wind farms around Kent and Essex!, the white cliffs of Dover etc, etc) and the waters. Everyone is in good spirits. The crew are buoyant and excited about the finish. Everyone is in a good mood and humour is high. It’s a tough race for our skipper though. With no first mate, a lot of shipping and a tightly packed bunch of boats, sleep is not an option so Piers has taken to cat napping between advising on trim and checking nav. The race is the most exciting yet. We have sailed all the way so far with almost every boat in sight and with the podium positions changing with every tidal turn, current, little breeze or skipper snooze. We’ve gone from 3rd to 9th to 5th to 3rd to 1st (it’s a new experience for us to look behind and see the entire fleet bearing down on us under spinnaker) and are currently 2nd. At around 3.30am this morning we crossed the second gate of the race in first position, we sauntered past Geraldton (who were in the lead) and Singapore just 10 minutes before the gate to take first place. We all have our fingers crossed now that the wind dies and the race is called at that gate as we will then have our first podium finish. So it’s 6.50am, I’m off to bed until mid day when I hope we will be leading the pack in glorious sunshine.
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