Leg 6 Race 8 Day 12, Sat May 1st

Saturday 1st May

It's almost unbearably hot before we even get up today – breakfast on deck is reasonably pleasant but by the time that is over we're sweating, bathing in sunscreen and the guys going off watch are not looking forward to trying to sleep below decks in the oven that is now the forepeak. Still, the mood on board is pretty upbeat as there is no sign of Singapore trying to come back up behind us and we are now fully focussed on catching California. Last night they were 15 miles in front, and now they are tempting us on only 13 miles away. The focus is yet again on trim, trim, trim and we are constantly checking our speed and course of ground and comparing it to theirs. My shoulder is a bit painful today after the spinnaker rescue from the night before when it really was a question of all hands required. Today I'm paying the price and after managing a helming session (mainly right-handed) I then found that hanging onto the spinnaker sheet was too much to ask so have had a frustrating time sitting it out. I made myself feel useful by doing some filming and ingesting into the laptop and keeping on top of our stats and comparing them to those of California. We can't see them on the horizon but we know they are out there and the distance comes down to 10 miles between us. Frustratingly we seem to get stuck at that and no matter what we do we can't break that down any further. It's hard to tell though as they are taking a slightly different course and Tom who IS Mr Statistic is convinced we are gaining ground on them little by little.
During my off-watch in the afternoon the wind built again and starboard watch set-up to 'peel' the light-weight spinnaker off to the mid-weight. Unfortunately it all went horribly pear-shaped and before I knew it the light-weight kite was being piled below deck with a section of it's upper half in shreds doing a great impression of a venetian blind! On closer inspection there was a sizeable rip – with a whole bit of spinnaker missing – presumably still wrapped around the top of the forestay somewhere! Albert and I exchanged glances. Looked this was another Saturday night when we'd be staying in!!!