Last night was the first time I've seen the moon and stars since leaving Cape Breton. It was however only a fleeting view of a few minutes before the clouds rolled over and spoiled my chance to brush up on my constellations. The sea is still pretty wild and the helming fairly challenging – even though the wind has eased considerably, the sea state is still pretty big and confused and we now don't have enough power in the sails to drive through it. After much debate we finally change from the yankee 3 up to the yankee 2 – which gives us more pace and drive and ultimately better speeds.

Team Finland continue to put distance between us and them – a few miles each sched and it is now looking unlikely that we'll catch them. We take a few miles from Cork one sched and then they put on another back, the next. It's hard to know just how much gap we need to have closed on them, to be in front of them by the time their handi-cap is retro-applied. So we have no idea if we are in second or third place at the moment. Jamaica, Qingdao and California are all in stealth mode so we have a nervous 24 hours to see if any of them manage to make grounds on us. All the while we are pushing as much as we can with the conditions that we have.

The sun comes out to brighten the morning and stays intermittently with us, lifting the mood considerably. Double choc chip cookies made by Tom and Charlie on mother-watch, also help to lift the mood – I declare them to be almost as nice as the final bar of Fruit & Nut that we share – to celebrate the fact that we have less than 500 miles to go to the finish. I thought I was paying Tom a compliment on his cookie baking, but he seemed rather insulted that I still prefer a “mass-produced, machine made” treat rather than something that had been individually hand-crafted by him on the boat. There really is no pleasing some people!!!!

It now looks like we'll be in on Monday sometime – which will make it an 11 day crossing from Cape Breton – much faster than the 14 days Clipper had originally estimated. Everyone is busy trying to book hotel rooms in an already fully booked Kinsale and inbetween sailing we are calculating how much work there is to do on Umba and how much free time we might have to sample what Ireland has to offer!

Early evening and the winds pick back up to gusting 40 knots again. We hang on to the same sail plan but the helming is physically tough and I bow out letting Brett do our hour sessions entirely. He's stronger and better at keeping Umba on a straight track when it's tough like this and we need to maximize every second and every knot now if we are to try and chase down the leaders and fight for third - or fourth place.