British sailor Ross Hobson currently leads Class 3 multihull fleet in the Route du Rhum 31/10/06

British sailor Ross Hobson is currently leading Class 3 multihull fleet in the Route du Rhum aboard the Nick Bailey-designed trimaran Ideal Stelrad. Here’s Hobson’s latest log from the second day on the racecourse?

Current position
48 06.20′ N, 5 48.36′ W

Light fickle winds all day. Although you would think light winds are a solo sailors blessing – they re the worst. You have to be constantly alert ready to take advantage of each breath of wind and change in wind direction. So sleep becomes a premium and when each tack means hauling the 2000sq ft gennaker around the forestay by hand, then winching, it, the main and other bits, finally having to ‘pop’ the battens on the main so the sail takes its correct shape – some 10mins of hard work have elapsed.

Sometimes the min pops first time sometimes it can take 5 mins of wrestling the boom to leeward, rapidly pulling to windward then bouncing my full weight onto it at the correct time to get the battens to pop. And then the winds shift and you do it all over again.

I have lost count the number of tacks in the past 24hrs – dozens… The wind settled in for a few hours this am so got some sleep (in the usual 20-25min burst), hopefully the wind will settle in and play the game tonight. As I type this in the early evening boat is currently 20miles north of Ushant about to cross the busy shipping, so again need to be vigilant for both weather and shipping. Forecast is for decent winds to arrive in next few, so can plan some catching up of sleep as I cross Biscay.

Just gone midnight. Passed Ushant an hour ago, wind has settled in to a steady F3-4 from the WNW and Ideal Stelrad is making good progress at 10-12knots down the rhum line. Engine is on rumbling away doing the night time battery charge. Managed to get a half hour of sleep just after passing Ushant, so feeling tried, will try and ‘build up’ sleep today if winds stay steady as forecast. Next ‘problem’ is to get west far enough to benefit from the next weather system coming in from the Atlantic.