Now with almost one third of their Length of Britain record completed, leaving the latitude of the north westernmost tip of Wales at 0700hrs UTC this morning, Phil Sharp and crew – Sean Conway and Alex Alley – have enjoyed a sudden burst of high speed which was welcomed until they suddenly had to scrabble to replace the big sails they had up. But in the process, in the inky dark and strengthening wind, they have lost a halyard (the line which holds the sail up) up the mast and it will have to be retrieved at some point when the breeze dies down.
After the short spell of pre-dawn all hands on deck drama, things have calmed down, the kettle is on for tea and porridge, and their Class 40 is racing north.
“It is all good now. It was a bit full on being caught with the big sails up in a rapidly rising wind and we had our work cut out. You are always expecting the change but never quite sure when it is coming. But that is the first indication of the new low coming in. We have SE’ly winds now and are all back under control.”
With 412 miles to the finish line off John O’Groats now, that means about 208Nms sailed since the start (suggesting probably a 220Nms first 24hours), Sharp is happy with progress.
“It has gone well. The worry is after Cape Wrath when the breeze is headed and we may end up upwind for some it, but we’ll take that as it comes. At the moment we have 25kts of wind again and are caning along.”
“It is porridge o’clock. It is seven o’clock and still very dark and yet yesterday at the same time we were approaching Land’s End it was lightening up. So it just shows you. At this rate John O’Groats must be permanently dark.”
“So Wales has not been overly kind to us. It has been drizzling all the time. And it is still drizzling.”