Alex Thomson, now 609 miles behind the leader of the 5 Oceans Race, reports from the racecourse 31/10/06

“I am glad I am not on holiday in the Canary Islands at the moment, it does not look nice, as I think I’m getting similar weather to them at them moment – a lot of cloud and some big squalls full of rain.

“The last 24 hours have been so much better than what I am calling ‘slow Sunday’. Yesterday I spent most of the day with my reacher up pushing 10 -12 knots and overnight it has not been too bad either, although the direction leaves a lot to be desired. I did have a slow spot last night but I’ve been pretty cheerful throughout and only minor swear words were used. ‘Slow Sunday’ has helped me a lot with regards to patience and hopefully the large bout of tourettes I experienced on that day will never be seen again!

“I managed to get a lot of rest in the last 24 hours, and I have decided whenever conditions are stable I will be getting my head down as much as possible, as its impossible to predict when I will need to have full bars on the energy stakes. I still had to make a few sail changes yesterday, and in the night, but as last night was full of squalls I have been a little cautious and opted not to push too hard.

“The weather and routing over the next few days is a real head scratcher and very difficult to predict where there will be wind and where there will be nothing. I receive data weather files called Gribs every day and they, along with charts and observations, decide where we go. I can tell you now that it is not clear and it will be interesting to see who it pans out the best for. It would be nice at some point to see some trade winds before I cross the Equator which is still some days away. I am not used to such a slow passage south, as in the Vendee we were across the Equator in 7-8 days whereas at this rate, I think, I will be lucky to make 14! So, if you know any wind gods, now’s the time to do an Aretha Franklin – say a little prayer for me!”