David Glenn reports from on board


After a fairly tedious beat into 20 odd knots of true and in dreary overcast and showery conditions off southern Cornwall we eventually make the Runnel Stone mark and then round Land’s End.

If the breeze had stayed from the west it would have been a port favoured beat to the Rock but the wind, as forecast, went north north west and more. We continued on port making to the right of the course. We could go a long way right but we decide to get closer to the rhumb line. During the early part of the night we dip Hexe, the old Boomerang, then when we tack back we’re ahead of her.

At about 0300 the wind makes its move and the neat thing is, as we are out to the east of the rhumb line it gives us a very healthy line to the Rock. We are also rewarded with a cracking sunrise (“First one I’ve seen in the bloody Irish Sea,” says Branagh) and we enjoy some great sailing at 12.5 knots and more smack on course.

We know it’s going to go north west and maybe west so we may not be able to enjoy this for long but it’s a great morning and the smiles are back after yesterday’s dreary interlude.

Steve Branagh’s yarning at the wheel. His top speed (not on this boat) is 32 knots but the most exhilarating was off the Portuguese coast in Nariida (Wally 105 ketch) when they topped 28. His first Channel crossing was in his dad’s Folkboat fitted with a Seagull outboard.

At 0800 were’re about 55 miles off the Rock. We are wondering where the hell we are lying in the fleet as we can not access www here.

It’s now 1400 on Tuesday and we’re now about 11 miles off the Rock on a good line. We reckon we saw Leopard on the return just after dawn and then passed the Open 60s led by Artemis and BT in a reasonable bunch. Now that we’re in range of G3 we discover we are lying 13 on corrected. Hexe has squeezed ahead of us.

Breeze is in at about 20 and we changed down to the three about an hour ago, going through the process of setting the staysail first as we have to do bare-headed changes on the one groove headstay.

Roast chicken drumsticks all round, plus pies and pasties so we’re happy and offwatch has currently just watched Bads Boys and now they’re into 88 Minutes. The Rock is now in our sights – the cameras will be out soon, we’ll be popping that big asymmetric and we’ll be on our way home. The book’s just opened on our finishing time – some seem to be in a hurry because they reckon tomorrow am. It’s looking like Wednesday afternoon at this rate. See you soon !