The crew are feeling the elements - having to make five sail changes during a three-hour watch

Days 10 & 11 What a day

I did not have time to write any thing the last day. We are fighting the elements and this take all the energy we have. yesterday night was probably the worst in this respect, in 3 hours time during our watch from 02:00 to 05:00 we did five sail changes. Winds from 8 knots to 20 knots in only minutes, always this huge swell. Very difficult circumstances which suck all the energy out of your body, we damaged a sail twice so instead of going to bed sails needed to be repaired.

Today a lot more of the same – high waves up to 5 metres high and 25 knots of wind with gusts of up to 28 knots. We were trying to round the south of Ireland which went really slow and difficult. Damaged the genoa no 2 badly today. There is no way to repair this now, we are trying to dry the sail somewhat inside the boat which means there is not space for anything else really.

Tomorrow morning we can try to repair the sail than, let’s hope the wind stays so we are not loosing to much to the other boats. at the moment we have 17 knots of wind only and we are sailing under full main and genoa 3. Somewhat underpowered but we still have an acceptable speed. Long distance racing is asking for a different approach from all of us to these problems. We are learning a lot about this on this trip as well on what a body and mind can do.

Since the start of the race we have been complaining about the quantity of food we have on board and therefore eat as much as we can to get lighter. Despite all the food which includes massive amounts of candy bars, chips, cheese etc we are all loosing weight. even during your sleep you use muscles to stay in position in your bed and this apparently sucks all the energy out of your body. we are still in good mood though, laying first in class and 7th overall. we really like to be first of our class at the finish line but at present can only use genoa no 3 which limits our options.

Today we have had dolphins around the boat almost all day – they make you smile when you look at them. So gracious and easy they play around the boat. Hours and hours you can look at this. We spotted a whale twice today and although we saw 3 or 4 of them so far we are really waiting to see one from close by. Maybe tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be a little bit better.

140 nm to Bishop rock. Only 2 or 3 days to the finish line. So, so, so tired now – will try to catch up some sleep tomorrow if weather permits.

To read more from Richard and the Winsome crew, CLICK HERE.