Twenty two knots of boatspeed under blue sky and sun, things aboard the VO60 Spirit couldn't get much better... apart from the food of course

I just got a ridiculous half hour (maybe) of sleep during my four hours off watch. Not because we were all on deck peeling kites or gybing. No, simply because the noise in this boat is unbelievable.

The gearbox linking the coffee grinder to the port primary winch is literally about 15 inches from my head when I’m lying down, and it is being cranked constantly. Then there’s the sound of the PBO spin sheet being eased around the drum, the main sheet winch being cranked, and that being eased too. We’ve also got the genny running because we’ve been pumping ballast around, making water and charging batteries. There are probably another ten or so instruments in Spirit’s symphony but you get the idea. Add to that pipe cots clearly not made for 6’3″ sailing journos to stretch out in (I’ve been having ‘feet wars’ with the occupant of the next cot along, unidentifiable in the dark) and you begin to see the problem.

Biggest news of the day: no more foulies! After two days of grey skies and regular dousings by sea water coming over the deck, the wind’s come aft nicely, we’ve cracked off a bit, the water is a beautiful deep inky blue and the sun has come out. Needless to say, the boat looked like a second-hand clothing stall for a few hours while we all dried out.

We were supposed to get position updates from the World Cruising Club today… our sat c terminal is polled by them once a day to automatically send in our position. We heard nothing, but managed to get someone ashore to email the details from the ARC website. Interestingly, they had us over 100 miles out! Still, it keeps the rest of the fleet guessing. It’s clear that our race with Venom is far from over, and there are a couple of cruising boats snapping at our heels too, complete with microwaves, refrigeration and surround sound DVD no doubt. Probably well rested, well fed crew sailing on autopilot too. The b******ds.

Not much else to report. Oh, wait. No I know I’ve been banging on about food, but this evening’s offering must take the cake (Hmmmm, cake….). Imaginatively called ‘chicken curry and rice’ it could quite easily have been mistaken for wallpaper glue, only it didn’t taste quite as good. Never again will I criticise my local Indian’s jalfrezi. For the first time on this trip, there were leftovers. Lots. Does rehydrated food really have to be so bad?

OK, enough about food. The sailing continues to be awesome. We’ve seen up to 22 knots boatspeed now and had a 24-hour run well in excess of 300 miles (precise details withheld for tactical reasons). Coming on watch earlier and seeing Spirit’s frothy wake hissing out behind us, big blobs of phosphorescence marking our passage, makes it all worthwhile.