Cheyenne has encountered more mast track problems and the crew are preparing to perform the same tortuous repair operation they did two days ago

As the saying goes, things always look darkest before they go totally black. When climbed into my bunk at the end of my watch, we were sailing, all be it slowly. We had fixed the mast track problem, re-run the broken solent halyard, and were driving hard escape the centre of the low pressure that has held us captive for the past two days. Exhausted, but up to speed.

Three hours later, the total absence of noise woke me as effectively as the loudest alarm. I lay in the dark, wondering why I did not hear the water moving past the hull, or at least the slatting of a lifeless sail. Moments later, Steve came down to say that the masthead headboard track position has pulled off, just as the first reef one did two days ago. The storms are one thing, but it is the calms that are killing us.

The sail was dropped, broken section of track removed, and the sail rehoisted to the first reef. Now we prepare to climb the mast and perform the same tortuous rescue operation we did two days ago.

Long faces, eyes downcast, faces that look suddenly tired. “What is next?”, is the question in our minds. What other hurdles will we have to leap in the race to Cape Horn?

On the plus side, we are still ahead of the record, though not on record pace at the moment. We know how to solve the problem, and have the means and opportunity to do so. The drill bits are duller, we are robbing bolts from all over the boat, but the job can be done. We have taken our good days in stride, so we should be able to deal with our bad days with the same good humour. This is a part of the world that rewards persistence, so we are going to hoist the big gennaker and go for every drop of speed we can muster to get back in steady breeze, and get around this blasted point of land.