Another upwind day

We’re still racing in the sunny trade winds – the sea is navy blue scudded with white, and surprisngly clear. Sitting on the rail we sometimes see big shoals of tiny brown fish, and we’ve seen one turtle and one snake. We also see a depressingly large amount of plastic, and sometimes polystyrene fast food containers too. the nights are a little hazy, but we are still enjoying the stars, both Southern Cross and Great Bear, and later in the night a biig bright moon. We did actually have about 15 minutes of drenching rain this morning – sadly just 15 minutes before we were due to get off watch. It was just about enough to rinse salt out of our hair, but not enough for a proper shampoo. THe highlight ogf last night was what seemed to be an enormous block of flats, mounted on a pontoon, being towed by a valiant little tug boat. It loomed gradually on the horizon for hours before we could make out what it was – when you can see lights from something well beyond the horizon you know it is going to be big. Racing wise it’s interesting, as we race alongside and spar with first one yacht, then another. PSP and Derry are now behind us, we can see Switzerland too, and we have QingDao a couple of miles ahead – in our sights! When a new sail appeared downwind early this morning, our watch layed bets as to who it was. I guessed Derry, correctly, but sadly I did not take up the bet with Heather and Morgan that would have had them doing my heads-cleaning duty for the entire race. If only!
We still have he frustrations that come along with the difficulties of making these boats go upwind – but we ae all remaining cheerful as we try different things, some working better than others. As we currently seem to be making gains on the pack around us, at least some of what we are doing must be on the right track. Helming in these conditions is a matter of great concentration and small rewards – so different form the ‘easy pickings’ you get when surfing downwind! Never mind, only another 2099 miles to go – if, that is, we could sail directly to QingDao. They are surely going to be some long and painful miles, before we are done with this race.

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