Sharon Ferris, sailmaker aboard Doha 2006 the leading yacht in the Oryx Quest, sent this report earlier today

A huge hello to all.

We have around 1,000 miles to go and for the first time in a while we are able to consistently point at the Gulf of Oman. Which is the first corner we need to round before we can turn left and go sailing into the Persian Gulf, which holds our finish line.

Yesterday, Karine and I had fun using one of our rubbish bags as a boxing bag. We hit and kicked the crap out of the bag and gave ourselves a good workout at the same time, as kicking on the netting is hard work. It released some built up tension and we both felt a lot better afterwards. We had the weather and seastate marked on the bag and they were pounded!

This is all very exciting, we have the dust from the deserts on our sails and there is wind in them at a speed of 12-14 knots so she is all good. Our sails are the engines of our 110ft maxi cat and as on board sailmaker it is my job to make sure they stay in one piece. If there should be any repair to the sails or the battens, I need to get them fixed as soon as possible.

A huge thanks to Gerry North Sails France and Hugh from Incidence, France. You guys have made this trip for me a walk in the park. The sails have been fantastic and are still looking good. For such a huge boat we do not have that many sails if you compare us with the old Volvo 60s. Now that’s a good thing!

We have a North mainsail that we can reef three times, code O, Solent, Staysail (all North sails) and storm jib (Incidence) for up wind and they go in that order from light wind to heavy. Then when we are reaching, wind direction around 90 degrees, we have a Yankee (jib top) and a medium gennaker and then for downwind VMG we have the big dog, now she is huge, 540m of sail that wraps itself halfway around the boat. After that we have the storm spinnaker, which are all Incidence sails.

On this course this time, we could have left the storm spinnaker behind, as we did not really see the wind to carry her. But that’s what you get from round the world sailing, the unexpected! I have recorded the hours of each sail and taken photos to consistently keep a look on how long they hold their shape and where they age first for next time. I really hope there is a next time as these boats are great, nothing better than sailing faster than the wind. Even though it has been very light for the last few days she is still going around 8 knots up wind but there has only been 5 knots of wind. If we were sailing any other boat we would have been very happy. It is just that we all know in this boat with the right wind conditions and sea state can be sitting on 30 knots of boat speed, just licking off the miles towards home.

I have been looking at the weather with Will and Brian over the last few weeks and it is very interesting to learn and see how it all develops. I am learning how to use Maxsea and the weather routing has been fun. After my lessons with them I come over to the crew computer and have a go myself and find myself in some interesting parts of the world, especially here, with Oman on our bow, India behind us and approaching Pakistan and Iran to our right. And if we get headed we have Yemen (Pirate village), so as you can imagine it is not every day that you sail past these countries.

Everyone is excited to be close to home and the dream dinners and drinks are coming out thick and fast. Today was the last of the new food bags so after the chocolate and goodies are gone we are a chocolate-free boat, and that means it is time to finish. It is also a little sad as air flights are being talked about and getting things sorted in Doha and we are just enjoying the time we have left, as sooner than we know it we will be all off in different directions, into other projects. That’s life!

Well, best be off as it is another beautiful day and there is a queue for the computer, all the best to everyone and we are staying safe to finish.

Cheers, Sharon