James H details more of the latest trial that the crew have faced on deck...
"Bit of an eventful day yesterday. Most importantly, we are all still safe and well! An encounter with a squall this morning has left us without some crucial pieces of equipment, and a 500 mile limp to the finish over the next few days.
We had our Race4Rene spinnaker up and were absolutely flying in the morning, hitting the highest speeds of the race so far. Ten minutes later, we were hit by some savage gusts of wind and a spinnaker pole downhaul (rope mechanism that controls how much the spinnaker can fill with wind) failure later, we came the closest to going for a swim that we’ve managed so far. The timing was particularly unfortunate for those on the off watch, who were just beginning to wake up after their night shift. Miki was left frantically scrambling around deck in his pyjamas, and Ivo’s morning bathroom visit included an unexpected shower.
After some great work from all the crew, we were able to get back under control and on course, albeit having taken some damage. Our main sail tore itself apart, and the spinnaker pole has a pretty significant bend.
Thanks to the repair and mast climbing skills of skipper Gareth and first mate Elliot, we have managed to right the ship. Unfortunately, our combination of sails now looks like something you might pick up in a car boot sale. It’s not pretty, but so far it’s doing the job. So far we have managed to cling on to our position in the race, but it will take everything from all of us to hold on until the end!
We need the strongest winds possible to minimise our disadvantage against board with a full repertoire of sails. The upside is that there is far less risk of any serious incident now than before. Every cloud has a silver lining..."