Filthy seas and headwinds as Emma slogs south - separated from two rivals by only 5 miles

Land and shoreside comforts are within sight to the west but frustratingly beyond reach tonight as Emma Richards shoulders her way south to Tauranga, New Zealand. She has been struggling against a short headsea and headwinds for the last few days. Pindar is taking a battering, the Iridium phone’s not working and fuel is so low she can only use her Sat B for weather.

For all that, she is still leading the next pack of three boats due to arrive at the finish of this leg of Around Alone. The only other remaining rival in Class 1, US sailor Bruce Schwab, is five miles astern and has been matching Emma tack for tack today. Sandwiched between the two boats is Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, the runaway leader of Class 2, putting in a fantastic performance in his Open 50.

All three are expected to arrive at dawn tomorrow.

This is Emma’s latest report:

‘I’ve just looked at the 0600 poll expecting the worst as I have literally done only 20 miles towards the finish in 8 hours. It is just a filthy sea to sail on – not dirty but short sharp waves, every wave crashing over the boat or pushing it sideways, every wave from a different direction, up to 30kts of wind.

‘I have tacked maybe four times and my tacking angle is terrible. I finally made a choice to go further east to catch a shift I am supposed to have by now, which I don’t yet, but am still optimistic. A bit of a risk but I appear to be slower than Bruce at the moment anyway so it was really my only choice, and somehow we are still equal miles, so I only lost one. I shall find out soon if the risk pays off.

‘I also took a tumble in the cockpit last night in a wave, no real injury but I am stiffening up now so I feel like a crooked old lady, not that there is anything wrong with crooked old ladies, but just not practical right now! Anyway the fight goes on and I have to admit at the moment I wish I was reading about the fight on the internet, too!

‘Til tomorrow, Em x’