Speed: 8.5 knots @ 248.93°
Position at: 09 Dec 2013 08:00 UTC
Lat/Lon: 18° 49.80 N, 052° 44.19 W
DTF: 586.2 NM
3rd in Racing B
After a long night of regular short watch changes - to ensure concentration at the helm in difficult sea conditions - the morning started with hoisting our "Mr Norris" spinnaker to maintain our fast boat speed and bring us to St Lucia that bit earlier. With winds anticipated of up to 28 knots, keeping the spinnaker up all day was ambitious, but as long as he was up, we knew we would be progressing as fast as was possible. As it happened, surfing down a 5m Atlantic swell, we kept that over-sized beast of a sail flying all day and hit almost 13 knots several times - fantastic! Our afternoon roller coaster ride ended when the wind and waves suddenly whipped up to throw us first into a Chinese Gybe and then a broach. It was a pretty dramatic moment - we could have lost the mast - but Milanto pulled through and all were hugely relieved.
It was all hands on deck to drop Mr Norris. Two crew members wrestled on the lurching foredeck to pull him down as the wind whipped around, forcing the sail up and away from the boat and almost taking the foredeck crew with it. Despite sailing gloves, the force was too great and rope burns were suffered by both before they got the better of him, bringing him to his knees and forcing him into his bag. That may be the last we see of Mr Norris. He has lost the affection of certain members of the crew who painfully wince at the mere mention of his name. Tonight we will race with 2 head sails and the main and with the wind speed increasing, its unlikley we could go any faster anyway.
With St Lucia now only 2 or so days away, some of the crew are getting itchy feet. We need to maintain concentration at this very important part of the challenge and idle talk about soft white linen sheets, cold beers, proper showers, seeing our better halves, being able to stand up or walk around without having to cling to the wall like bloody spiderman, more cold beers.....needs to be checked.
Eyes on the prize gentlemen. There is still 450 miles of challenging ocean to overcome.