30th September

We all know that the one thing you can rely upon with the weather is its unreliability.  And sure enough it's lived up to that over the last twenty-four hours.  Overnight we continued to crawl along, although the wind has a feeling of starting to build.  Having looked at the synoptic charts, Piers took the decision to tack out to the west – away from the direction of the scoring gate but hoping that the better winds we'd find out there would make our overall speed towards the gate faster than the boats still stuck in the high pressure ridge.  As I'm currently only up to the third chapter of my “Weather at Sea” book – having already read those first three chapters about six times over the last nine months – and it's only just beginning to sink in – I take Piers's word on this.  After all, as a Maths teacher in his previous life, if anyone should be able to work the angles – he should! It seems his theory is paying off as the further west we've gone today the stronger the winds have been.  We're heeled over at an angle and ploughing through waves.  The alarming sound of the boat hitting the occasional wave at force reminds us that we're sailing again and while most of us are relieved and thrilled (even if we are sailing away from the scoring gate!) the poor guys on mother-watch are cursing as everything below decks is twice as hard and takes twice as long.

Even with the additional wind and speed, each day seems to be getting hotter and hotter,  We're all slip, slap, slopping like mad – getting through bucket loads of sunscreen.  The heat by day and night and the frustration that both Plan A and Plan B have not quite worked out have also seen a rise in a tempers on board.  A few people are getting edgy and the need to let off steam has given rise to some uncomfortable confrontations. Hardly surprising with the mix of characters and backgrounds and numbers of people per square foot on board with nowhere else to go.  I find taking a keen interest in the stars is handy at moments like these on night watch and am pleased to say I can now  identify the constellations of the Plough, Orion's belt, Cassiopeia, and Scorpio very easily and can point to Jupiter in a jiffy!