Written on the 13th, Phil talks about life on board: “All is going well aboard Imerys and we are now out of the St Lawrence River and charging towards our next mark – the island of St Pierre, off the south coast of Newfoundland and some 250 miles away. As I write this, Milan is at the helm and has just seen a whale surface just 20m in front of the boat. A little too close for comfort!
“I have to say it is a good feeling to be heading east and escaping the clutches of the river. It made for some very challenging and rewarding sailing but never gave us a moments peace – the wind was always changing and we were almost always having to either change sails, tack, or gybe, which makes rest very difficult.
“With a low crew number of three, the minimum for this race, we were fairly exhausted come last night and have been sleeping quite a bit today, and are now feeling more relaxed. Yesterday afternoon we must have made around 30 gybes to stay far inshore to play the accelerated breeze. This takes its toll, luckily now there is time to actually get some consistent cups of tea in, and get enough food down!
“We are pretty happy with the boat and our performance so far. Our first objective for this race was to escape the St Lawrence River in the lead pack, to ensure we could have a good chance of being the first into the Atlantic systems where often the rich get richer. Yesterday evening we rounded the Gaspe buoy in 1st place before being overtaken this morning by the slick Spanish on Tales II. We tussled with them most of yesterday and made big gains on the rest of the fleet. Frustratingly however, we hit a brick wall of very light wind after Gaspe. We could only watch as the rest of the lead pack sailed right up to the back of us after all that hard work. But that is the unpredictable nature of sailing and you have to accept the winds and play them to your advantage as much as possible.
“Today I found out from a sat email that it is Adrien’s birthday today, which he kept very quiet! So we just had a celebratory lunch where we prepared him a top-chef French lunch platter consisting of a fine assortment of cheeses including chevre noir, reblechon and camembert. Note this is unprecedentedly posh food for offshore sailing! Somehow a water melon also made it onboard so this was a good excuse to get rid of such a payload, which never should have been allowed near the boat!
“Tomorrow the wind will be picking up to 20-25 knots from the south which should make for a quick passage to St Pierre, so we are looking forward to hopefully taking advantage of this to fight our way back to the lead!”
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