Leg 6 Race 8 Day 9, Weds April 28th

Weds 28th
I dragged myself away from the drama of checking our position against Singapore to help John – one of our Ambassadors, in the galley over breakfast. But by the time we had cleared up it looked like Singapore were edging back level with us again. We note that they are flying their medium weight kite – unusual in the breeze which is dying by the minute, but after Justin calls them up on the VHF radio for a chat, we find out that they damaged their light-weight the night before and it too was under-going surgery from their own sail-repair team. We thought we would have an advantage over them in the light breeze but annoyingly they seemed to be matching our every move!

The temperature on today's oven has been turned up to about gas mark 7. It's hot! And as hot also means it's getting very sticky below decks I decide it's time we reinstate the snake-pit shower ritual. I pass on my highly refined technique of washing my hair (2 shampoos and a condition) and a full body wash (bikini-clad) using just under 3 litres of water to some of the new crew on board who are all intrigued. However most of the girls settle for a hair-wash. The boys aren't so hesitant and opt to have several buckets of sea water thrown over them on the transom at the rear of the boat with the their 2 litres of fresh to rinse. I'm very happy to do the dousing while they try in vain to get their shampoo to form any kind of lather in the sea water. It just doesn't work! Justin also takes his turn but manages to lose one of our galvanised steel buckets in the process. Mike is not happy. He had quite a battle with Piers over these before the start of the race and til now they are the only 2 buckets to have survived the whole race. He'd been looking forward to presenting them back to Piers at race end in Hull!!! We are now back in the naughty zone and during the afternoon we sign up all our new crew into the club of helming the boat with 000 Boat speed! Justin then gave us special dispensation to doff our lifejackets (unless forward of the mast or trimming the spinnaker) as we could all pretty well now swim faster than the boat. So while our pace was frustrating our consolation was that we wouldn't end up with weird life jacket tan lines. Not today anyway! Looking round at everyone else (who wasn't directly involved in driving the boat) with their noses buried deep in a book, I decided to join the brigade and picked up Mitch Albom's “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” which many previous crew had read and recommended. This would be only my second book of the race (discounting books on stars etc). I'd always seemed to have other stuff to do! Now though, I decided it was time I indulged and got lost in another world far away from the boat in between keeping a firm track on Singapore's mast on the horizon and casting a wistful glance at our sails that were mostly definitely NOT full of wind.