Phil reports from Imerys Clean Energy

“You are probably wondering how our lead on Imerys Clean Energy was slashed from 41 miles mid-last night to nine miles this morning?

“Well, it was the dreaded attack of the seaweed monster once more… We were both a bit puzzled as to why the boat didn’t seem on the numbers, and why we were quite a bit slower than the other three boats in our “hunt”. Initially we put it down to some compression expected as we sailed into less wind, but when V&B appeared suddenly 10 miles behind us on the position reports, going 2.5 knots quicker, we knew something must be really wrong.

“We stopped the boat and dropped our weed camera over the side to find a mountain of seaweed on the keel. Unbelievable because we hadn’t seen any weed since Biscay, so this particular monster swam far to hunt us down! We then set about dropping the spinnaker, sailing the boat backwards, and lastly I jumped over the side for a final check to make sure all was clear. The water temperature is really nice down at these latitudes. Shame I didn’t have time to do a couple of laps around the boat to really enjoy it!

“We are pretty gutted losing out on 30 odd miles after putting in so much work to drive the boat hard and build up a cushion over the last few days… But that’s sailing for you, I guess we are going to have to try and do it all again, after this big loss.

“The other important news is that we managed to download our first weather chart today – BIG HOORAHHH!!! Using our extremely clunky emergency sat phone that we have been trying to get working since our fleet broadband system packed up two days into the race.

“A cause for celebrating our arrival into “classic trade wind” sailing, i.e. not the 30-35 knots we’ve had over the last few days, Pablo has opened Le Jamon, Serrano’s finest that came all the way from inland Spain only hours before departure. Tastes a lot finer than our cold freeze-dried food we have been eating, as our one and only jetboil, to our horror, stopped working a couple of days ago. Jamon however makes a pretty good substitute for tea! – Phil”