Just in from Phil aboard Imerys Clean Energy

Position: 2nd / Distance to finish: 377 nm

“I can’t believe how tight the racing is still – it really is like a leg of the Figaro, but in proper offshore race boats!

“Last night was a very wild night… It felt particularly wild because of the super slow start to the race. Shortly after dark there was, of course, more wind than forecast, so I had to change down to the small kite. Racing in these conditions is totally exhilarating – the boats really come alive and start screaming down waves, and just go faster and faster. I had one massive broach where the boat laid flat on its side, I had to ease all sheets, and fortunately have no damage – apart from that, all the manoeuvres have been relatively clean.

“Rounding Fastnet Rock was quite full-on solo. Having to drop the spinnaker, deploy the genoa, drop the staysail, and then also grind the sheets. It is the first time I have left Fastnet to starboard… which has at least made my 8th rounding a little different!

“Right now I am close reaching with the boat, and unfortunately for me, this is where the new boats shine. They are incredibly fast on this angle, I was literally just behind Yoann on Veedol at the Fastnet, and since then he has left me for dead. I don’t have much control over the rankings on this leg, so currently my objective is damage minimisation, and to sail as hard as I possibly can to try not to lose any places… However, I have Aina breathing down my neck so better go and see if I can do any more about that…” Phil