Bernard Stamm keeps stretching his lead in Around Alone, while others face a bumpy New Year's Eve - including Emma

Race leader Bernard Stamm is now past the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean and through the imaginary gate that forms part of the route at 105 E and 120 E. Without any further constraint to his course, he is picking up speed again and inexorably pulling away from his competitors in Around Alone. This morning he is nearly 300 miles ahead of his nearest rival, Thierry Dubois, and has a lead of more than 700 miles over 3rd placed Graham Dalton.

The New Year is going to come in with a blast for several of the Class 1 yachts as a deep low tracks east and into their path as they make their way north to pass through the same gate. This report was sent this morning by Emma Richards:

‘As expected, I am now reaching fast eastwards and the wind is slowly going further aft, or should I say from the west more! Its back to cold wet sailing as opposed to the cold dry sailing before, and all that sleep I was looking forward to isn’t quite how I had been imagining it – maybe the dreams of big bed, fluffy pillows and duvet were too vivid in my mind!

‘The boat is crashing around a lot again, with the wind not so steady – it is easy to be sailing across and down waves between 12 and 20kts boatspeed, or with a typical 10-15 degree shift, the boatspeed can drop to a steady 10, which will wake you and force you to let go of the sleeping bag wrapped round your top half, and let a hand out into the cold to find the remote control for the autopilot, adjust the steering and then quickly wrap up again to not let out any more warmth you’ve only just built up!

‘A bit like a cold winter’s morning when the heating hasn’t kicked in cause you are up early for something and just getting your first toe out from under the duvets is the hardest! Then you have to wiggle your toes around to check that they are still there and moving, move your legs to pump some blood back round then close your eyes and try again!

‘The feet definitely get the tough part as they never get to see the inside of the sleeping bag that your top half gets, but they did get a new pair of boots before this leg started!

‘Now I’ve set the engine charging the batteries, switched off the water maker, and written a little bit for you guys, I’m going to make the most of the engine warming under this seat and snooze again!

‘Em x’