Day 11: British offshore yachtsman Phil Sharp only 36 miles behind lead 1/5/08

Phil Sharp and David Krizek onboardAtlantickhave made huge gains on race leaderFinance. Since Tuesday (29 April) the duo have seen the lead shorten from over 80 miles to just 36, and find themselves in sixth postion:

“You know you’ve been offshore for a while when you start to forget what day of the week it is. A bit like when you’re on holiday, but where we are now is actually far from a holiday. We are pushing really hard all the time in power reaching conditions and staying focused is crucial at a time like this and not ourselves get too relaxed and into the swing of things as it were. Since the day before yesterday, for the first time in the race we’ve made big gains on the leader, ‘Finance’, having reduced his lead from over 80 miles to 36 from this mornings positions, and now in 6th place!”

“We are polling just ahead of Gildas Morvan and Jean le Cam, racingCircle Vert, who have taken a more southerly option and have ended up in lighter winds than us. Obviously with Morvan being my big rival in the Route du Rhum it would be great to keep him behind us again until the finish but this is going to be far from easy since there is still around 2000 miles left to go and anything can happen in this crazy sport dictated by what forces nature throws at us.”

“The night before last was fairly interesting as it was really dark with a confused sea, chucking the boat off balance the whole time. Before I took over for my shift I decided to keep things as dark as possible below decks when preparing a midnight meal, which didn’t get off to the best of starts when I managed to pour boiling water all over my leg. This was just before I was about to put my foulies on as well. So when I dived into the boat’s first aid, which has pretty much every drug and medicine offered in a Concarneau pharmacy, it was sods law that the burn cream was missing!

“I went in search for more drugs and creams in the boat but all I could find was a very large bag of white pills in the food bag. According to David this is to ´relieve stress´ in heavy conditions, put together by Czech nutritionalists apparently, that can make a very traumatic passage, such as sailing with spinnaker up in 35kts of wind, turn into a walk in the park, with a feeling of euphoria from time to time (all according to David)… Anyway I’ve decided my burn is good enough excuse to take some as we try to cut more mileage out of the leaders.”

“The big weather news of this race is that it’s going to be a wet upwind slog across the Atlantic over the next week, and we are far from easy downwind sailing in the trade winds unfortunately. I had even got my Tilly Hat out ready to go but have reluctantly bagged it away again. The race is really on!”