Conrad manages to save his Code 5 - just - on a tough night in the Vendée

Very tough night. Gennaker halyard snapped just after dark, dropping Code 5 into the water which I ran over still doing 20 knots. Dropped the mainsail as had to recover this sail. Without it would mean serious dent to downwind capability for the rest of the race.

Pulling 200m2 of 3.4oz cloth out of the water nearly broke me. Boat rolling all over the place in the pitch black. Twice went over the guardrails as the sail again and again got ripped out of my hands.

Miracles sometimes happen and after I had given up the fight, the sail drifted out from under the boat and was picked up by a gust and blown onboard! Took an hour to stuff it down the forehatch and get the mainsail up again. Lost three hours. Made them up with 6 hours averaging 22 knots.

Boat’s a submarine, but loves these conditions, everything still in a bit of a mess but need to sleep.