The game of cat and mouse continues relentlessly, although now it's under spinnakers

The game of cat and mouse continues relentlessly, although now it’s under spinnakers. Since rounding waypoint Alpha (60 miles off the west coast of Ireland) at around 09.00 this morning, we’ve been flying the flanker under bright sunshine wearing only mid layer clothing and sunnies for the first time – not what I expected.

My six-hour watch consisted of trimming, trimming again and more trimming, while we watched BG Group and Spirit of Southampton through the binos and on the radar, at one point we’d pulled ahead by nearly 2 miles but since 16.00 BG Group have closed by nearly a mile. The watch change overs are critical, particularly the grave yard shift, and it is at this point that losses are often sustained as the new watch, adjusts to the subtleties of the helm or spinnaker trim.

With 702 miles under the keel, over a third of the way round, the fleet is split into three distinct group (LogicaCMG, BG Group and Spirit of Southampton out front, Daily Telegraph and Basilica chasing, with Vail Williams, Spirit of Hong Kong and Team Spirit at the rear) but there is only some forty miles between the front and back markers. There are constant calls from on deck to the chart table for the ‘distance off’ from the nearest boat and as I write, Dan announces the bad news that BG have shaved a bit more off our lead but Spirit of Southampton have lost out further. More concentration is called for up on deck and I have no doubt that the next radar check will reveal the reverse, that’s the way it’s going at the moment.