Dirty teeth and things that go bang! Neal MacDonald with the latest from Ericsson

Not a great couple of days for us – having got to the gate before ABN2 and Brasil 1, we have been slowly caught by both boats. The guys have been working their hearts out but currently we simply have not had the speed – we have been stuck at a wind angle and wind speed that our current sail inventory does not cope well with.

On the plus side of things we have now some good thoughts on where to focus for our future sail programme. Whilst working our buts off getting every last ounce of speed out of the boat we have also had other problems to contend with.

Yesterday, while I was catching an afternoon nap I was woken up by a huge bang – my immediate reaction was the rig had come down – rushing on deck it was clear that was not the case. We had more halyard problems! The huge AO sail had fallen in the water and it took the whole crew to drag it back on board.

No sooner had we got our breath back and ‘bang’ there it goes again. This time everyone knows exactly what to do, another component in the system had broken and another mile lost to our competitors. Now we have to hoist the sail on two halyards – one extra as a safety. Very inconvenient, but a necessary precaution under the circumstances.

Despite all the set backs and recent losses the guys keep working like mad. We have a long way to go and we intend to give it all we have – we have to push hard and pounce on any opportunities that come our way.

We still manage a laugh now and then too – Tom (Braidwood) came on deck this afternoon and asked where the toothbrushes were kept – we all looked at each other a burst into tears of laughter – 10 days into the race and he had not even cleaned his teeth yet!

Neal McDonald