Direct from onboard:
Heading straight for Venus as the American Navy patrols their cost.
We have spent most of the day looking at the computer with blank faces. How can we beat Sec Hayai? They are storming along with their A2 and we are battling along with 50m2 less sail area. We sailed with the A4 pole out last night to try and make way dead down wind. We took the A2 out of its sock yesterday to see if we could fix it? We definitely do not have enough materials on board for that job! So we have just been plodding along slowly.
At sun set there were several ships on the radar and none on the AIS. We could see one of them on our port side. It was doing the same speed as us and appeared to be following us. We initially thought it might be the coast guard but we soon discovered the other boats on the radar. As night fell the ships did not light up. We heard aeroplanes flying around and saw little red lights flashing on the horizon. We guess it was a naval exercises. This is a real sign that we are once again approaching land and civilisation.
What were the special moments about today is the question I always ask myself at the end of the day? Today it has got to be Nick was standing on the bob stay as the bottle nose dolphins came in arms length of him. The dolphins were so close and swam slowly with the boat. We were in the middle of changing from the A4 spinnaker to the code 0 at mid night. Our tackline had worn through so we were changing it around when about 4 bottle nosed dolphins appeared. They were very big, tame, calm, dolphins that swam slowly with the boat checking us out. Swimming right under the bow and so close to the boat. Nick was on the bow sprit at the time so put his feet in the water to see it he could touch them. He never did but the dolphins did swim very closely.
We changed to the code zero at midnight under a moon lit sky. It never really got the opportunity to get dark tonight until the moon set at 04H00 local time. We were able to trim with out our headlights and it was very warm. When the moon set things changed quickly, it got dark and cool.
Sec Hayai has over taken us but as long as we finish within 24 hours of them we will take third place. Sec Hayai did a crew change on the north coast of Brazil and took a 24 hour penalty for it. The computer says that we have 62 nm to go to the finish and it will take us 11 hours or so with
10 knots of wind!! I did a routing to take into account the light airs today and it reckons 24 hours! So it is anyone’s guess right now as to when we will finally finish. But we have two challenges before we finish 1.