Race 12 - Day 3, Mon June 21st

It's the Summer Solstice today – mid-summer's day and the longest day. It conjures a vision of a beautiful bright sunny day – blue skies with crisp white sails. What you don't expect is thick fog and zero visibility but that's exactly what faced us at 3am this morning. The fog horn was laid out on the deck ready and a couple of flares were also looked out in case we suddenly had 'too close an encounter of another boat kind'!  We also had to post someone on radar watch for the first time in our circumnavigation as spotting the bow of another boat coming looming towards us 50 meters away would be too late to do anything about it! And so we took shifts in the Nav station in front of the radar looking for steady 'yellow blips'!

Later I got so fed up with the ladies heads (toilet) not working that I decided (as I was on engineer duties today) that I would try and fix it. I remembered seeing some instructions for them somewhere so I got “tooled-up” and had a go! 6 hours later after much cursing and swearing – mainly because I couldn't find the right tools for the job – I'd had the entire thing apart, sussed out the problem and fixed it. Or so I thought! The issue is with the lever that toggles to allow water to flow through into the inlet pipe. I did get it working but somehow in reattaching it to the body of the pump it is suddenly not working again! I tried to look on the positive side and satisfy myself with the fact that I'd learned something and had at least changed all the other seals and flaps that needed renewing. But after 6 hours on my hands and knees, in a cramped confined space, dealing with pipes that flushed both water in and waste out, I really had to admit that I'd had a shit day!

In between this we'd had a few dramas on deck changing between spinnakers and headsails as we had both a halyard pop and a guy look so in danger of about to blow that we had to drop the kite immediately. We're pushing hard but so is everyone else and there had been only a couple of miles between the first 6 boats. We've now lost about 6 miles to Australia but are up and running again and chasing them down all the time!  Just as we were tidying up from our last spinnaker peel of the watch at 7pm Justin shouted form the helm for everyone to look to port. There not more than 30 meters form the boat was a pod of 4 or 5 Humpback whales, gliding through the water. They were majestic and silent apart from the occasional spurt from their blowholes as they took a breath before diving down deep and away from sight. A rare treat which made of for my lack of toilet humour.