Leg 6 Race 8 Day 17, Thurs May 6th   
6th May

Election day back home in the UK a million miles away from life here on board Hull & Humber.
The winds picked up during 3 – 7 am watch and Maggie and I started to slide from one side of the saloon to the other – although trying valiantly to continue to repair the sail holding onto our seats with clenched stomach and buttock muscles!!!
By 6.15 we'd finished taping every part of the sail except the main rip across the head where the sail was still effectively split in two. The boat was now banging along violently, having come through another squall we were now left with 20 knots of wind and we zipping along at a fair old lick. Good news for our progress but not so good for spinnaker repairing – especially as the next stage would be a fairly delicate operation of trying to match 2 halves of a sail exactly together with a good few inches of the bit in the middle now missing due to the amount of fraying that took place during the rip!
We took the decision to postpone the repair until the seas calmed. We wouldn't need it in these kinds of winds anyway, so if the breeze did drop and it looked like we needed the lightweight kite- we'd just have to crack on with the final part – which I estimated would only take another 12 – 18 hours of hard graft!!!

Last night with the squalls the hatches were shut – the heat increases within minutes. However during the morning the winds eased slightly, less water was coming over the deck and we were able to risk opening the hatches a fraction in order to get some of this lovely breeze through the boat. The difference is amazing and makes life so much more pleasant for all concerned.

Over the last few days we've gone from 5th back to 7th, then 8th, then 7th and as of lunchtime today we are now 5th - tied with Edinburgh who we have been chasing down. It's still really close between the middle of the fleet though and with Cape Breton in stealth mode we are not sure if could drop a place or gain another place by the time we come out. We are certainly hacking along at a good 8 – 9 knot average but we just don't know if the other boats have the same wind or not. It is apparent that there are lots of localised weather systems so it IS possible that we have different winds to other boats only 20 miles away. However we've been on the up and down side of them. It means the positions are changing at every sched right now. All we can do is keep working hard with what we've got and hope it's enough to keep make gains on those in front of us and keep those behind us eating our wake!!! To add to the pressure, we found out today that the office have called the race short. There is a huge park-up zone over the original finish so they have announced that the race will now finish at one of the earlier gates. We are about 213 miles from the finish so the pressure is really on to make the most of those miles to improve our placing.