Tuesday 29th
Apart from the excellent jape by starboard watch, last night was very frustrating.  We had the light-weight spinnaker up and the main sail but had so little wind that it was all over the place.  The guys on the helm had to use the gentlest of touches on the wheel and even the really experienced guys struggled to keep the sail filled.  In the end we took the mainsail down. It might not have helped much with our speed but it stopped the main flapping relentlessly with constant painful, loud flogging noises.  As the saying goes “A flappy sail is not a Happy sail” - and neither were we!  I commented that the continual flogging must be like having a baby that's constantly crying – however I was quickly assured by some of the guys who are Dad's several times over that this was nothing by comparison!!!
We got our schedule in at 8am which gave us all the current positions of all the other yachts (this is updated several times a day. It looked like Australia had played a blinder and had come across the high pressure ridge fairly well. Technically they were still behind us but only just and with the leading boats being spread out across east to west it was really hard to judge who had the lead.  The high pressure and light winds meant that our plan of sailing down the east side of La Palma – hoping to pick up on a rip down between the islands, was thwarted and we've spent a frustrating 24 hours approaching the island and trying to cross the top to go down the west.  We were all quite excited to see this lump of land and civilisation loom into view (most people because they were hoping for a mobile phone signal!) but as the day plodded on and we attempted to get around the top - sailing into the wind and against a current – the mood changed towards this poor unsuspecting piece of earth and we all declared we were sick of the sight of it and vowed never to visit it in our future lives!  Not even the most stunning of sunsets nor the brilliant and beautiful moon with Jupiter loitering close by in the dusk sky over it, could appease us. This was a bad place – that was decided! At this point it looked very much to me as though we were going backwards and I feared we'd be going in the same direction back down the fleet.  My fears were founded as the scheds came in and we were now second behind Australia, who were further west with Eero and the Finland boat having made a lightning streak down to the south – although they were still a long way to the east.  Piers is still confident that we can make the scoring gate first. I took my turn on the helm as the night draped around us with firm determination, We'd soon catch that pesky Australian Boat – although we'd have to catch some wind first!