Global Challenge yacht Team Stelmar holds the lead on Leg 6 of the Global Challenge. Skipper Clive Cosby reports
Here we go again, my favourite point of sail – poled out yankee, full main and staysail over 30 knots of wind and 11-12 knots down the line, fast stuff. But who will be the fastest?
This 24 hours will determine the record for this leg and at current pace could threaten our Global Challenge record of 271nm. Really, who cares?
We are still keeping ourselves closer to La Rochelle then the rest of the fleet and are centrally placed to cover the boats behind. BG, north, getting the big breeze first, Unisys and Me To You just behind and south, and then Samsung diving south towards SAIC as the lonely southerners.
The breeze should hold up until dawn then at some point the tricky decision
of when to go back to the kite in what will be a large and well developed
sea and a very rolly boat with the potential for the wind to pick back up in
what have been very unstable gusty conditions for days now.
It looks like a predominantly downwind run in, with lighter stuff ahead in Biscay. 1,000 nm to go but the round the cans feel to this leg of the race continues.
Twice before I have sailed back this way, from Buenos Aires and the Caribbean, it is always a great sense of home coming, picking up UK-sourcer weather faxes, spotting the landmarks on the charts, strangely familiar waters and yet as ever we could be anywhere in the world.
The Global Challenge is drawing to a close a few weeks more sailing to Portsmouth then the sudden stop. We do not see it like that here, we have a job to do and we
are getting on with the task at hand, sailing as we know best, fast, faster than the rest. Enjoying the experience along the way, a happy boat, and looking out for each other until the end, safe.
Earlier we equalled our race speed record, 19.6 knots. That speed was
achieved just south of here in our first big storm off Portugal headed south
nearly nine months ago. Here we are now after so much drive, determination and tenacity still pushing the barriers, always looking to improve performance and more committed than ever to make it count.