Thierry Dubois slips by as Emma struggles with a headsail

As Emma Richards slipped back to 3rd place, she sent this report yesterday:

‘I was determined not to take the gennaker down last night even when the wind went over 30 knots for a while. It was not forecast to exceed 25 knots so I thought it couldn’t be sustained.

‘Well, following a full day of handsteering and then trying to continue into the night, already too tired, I only go to the early hours before the danger of falling asleep at the wheel is too great. Had loud music blasting, you know the scenario: windows wound down so the cool breeze keeps you wake, when actually you know the truth is you need to stop driving and get some sleep.

‘When I went to furl the sail, with bad memories of early on in the first leg, I thought it thru very carefully before I did anything, had a plan in my mind, went to pilot for the few seconds to finish preparing, and of course the plan still didn’t work. I got half furled when the boat wallowed at the bottom of a wave, the gennaker blew round the front and twisted round the forestay – it made an hour glass so I couldn’t finish furling and couldn’t unfurl to start again.

‘Nightmare situation once again – too tired already to repeat hauling a sail out of the water, I had to make sure this came down onto the deck. The top of the hour glass is flogging away, threatening to rip the cloth and render the sail useless, so had to drop it quickly. Lots of sail ties at hand, dropped it bit by bit and lashed it to the deck. It is still on the deck now hours later as there is still a risk of it going over the side as I surf at 18-plus knotsand trying to unwrap it from the forestay. I’ll wait a few hours til the breeze dies and my strength comes back.

‘Now I’ve finally had some sleep, the boat is still going fast but at a slightly higher angle and the pilots are coping very well with this. Thierry overtook me during these hours. I know he has more experience with this but it is still disappointing. I have so many questions to ask these guys that get it right! Mind you, it sounds like Stamm is flying his underpants!

‘To put a better light on the night’s activities, at least I am not a flying fish – I found two dead ones in the cockpit this morning. Ah, back in the tropics and heading for the Southern summer?

Em x’