Richard Clarke, aboard the VOR leading boat illbruck, does a time check on how many days remain at sea

Had to check my watch twice to make sure that it was 6 May. Seems like just yesterday that we were leaving Southampton for the start of the race.

Talk is starting on deck that there is possibly less than 10 sailing days left in the race. There is still so much racing to go with such a tight and talented fleet and the final standings are far from decided.

We obviously like our position in this leg and in the rankings but we are pushing hard and are very weary of Tyco and Assa Abloy behind and SEB to the south.

Practically licked the leeward bilge dry to make sure that we are carrying no excess weight, especially to leeward.

What a difference a day makes – no more blast reaching. Thought we were starting to grow gills with so much water over the deck. What a fantastic job our shore team did preparing the boat for this leg. So much strain for so long and the work list for the next stopover is only a few items long. Thanks for the smooth bottom boys! Now we are plodding along with a Code 0 up, dry tops off, one guy driving, one trimming the traveller, three guys chilling.

Things got a bit dicey a few hours ago. Thought we were through the ridge and set to extend, only to be swallowed up again and drifting in no wind, 1.5 kts of boat speed and tensions high as we wondered how the rest of the fleet was fairing. I bet you could have heard the huge sigh of relief echoing across the Atlantic after the last sked came in reporting no big losses. Still looks like a few more obstacles to overcome but with this one hopefully behind us we all feel a bit lighter.

Another thing that made last week a strain was that we had a stomach flu making the rounds on board. Upset stomachs, fevers, aches and not a nice forgiving environment. Low light for me was blast reaching, trimming the main and puking on the deck. Tried not to get any on Stu [Bannatyne] driving and luckily the spray quickly washed away any evidence but JK [John Kostecki] had to turn down the intercom because the retching was disturbing the boys in their bunks. JK, Nitro [Noel Drennan], Tony [Kolb], Stu and myself were worse stricken but we are now all feeling better with our appetites returning but our toilet paper supply has seriously diminished.

Looking forward to some great French cuisine with Andria to nursing me back to 100 per cent. Mind you, a first place finish in this leg would do just fine.