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Final Straight for Delivery Crew

Firstly we would like to apologise for a lack of reporting on Friday, we had a bit on, in fact we were being battered by gale force winds on the nose and crashing into a short steep sea, which made typing impossible, sleeping difficult and anything else was plain hard work. However, we had a great day’s sailing on Thursday, cracking along at 18-20 knots with our Code 6 up, (a very big reaching headsail.) We all enjoyed a good drive before the wind came forwards and our fast run came to an abrupt end. We are now sailing in the same weather system that is giving the UK the freezing conditions that you have all been experiencing. “Ha ha”, I can hear you all say, “about time”. The cold has definitely arrived, and with it, the thermals, the middle layers, hats, gloves, hot chocolate and the heater, which I prudently had fitted for the coldest days in the South but works equally well in the northern hemisphere!

We have been sailing up the course alongside the Vendée leaders who are sailing a little faster and harder than we are. Two days ago Bonduelle passed a couple of miles in front of us and now Mike Golding is within 10 miles of us. We will be splitting slightly now as we are heading further north than them. What a way to finish such a gruelling race though, so close and any of the three leaders could do it. PRB is in a good position but will see the wind go lighter than the others first. Bonduelle is also in a good position and I think my money would be on Jean to take 1st place. The conditions over the past 48 hours would have been very hard on them all as the wind has been very shifty, and very up and down. No sooner have you pulled out the big sails the wind is up and the smaller ones are needed again. A hard way to finish the Vendée indeed. But Mike Golding is still in with a shot, it wouldn’t take much good luck to put Ecover in first for a British victory.

After our last report I have taken some stick from Mr B, quite rightly, he told me he would get even and he did, read on! Mr B has received a lot of fan mail since that report which makes very interesting reading. Thanks especially to Katie, Bel, Emily and Ails, but we did not receive the picture, please resend! All emails that are sent via the website are sent to the boat and read by us. It’s turning into a really long trip, so please keep the emails coming.

Down below on Hugo Boss can only be described as a bedsit; a couple of hard beds with thin mattresses, a seat and a tiny single burner cooker and little heater. It is only 2.5m x 4m and gets very untidy with four blokes living inside it! Simon keeps it tidier than the rest of us for which we are very grateful. Food is down to the basics again, freeze dried or freeze dried. It is the food that I didn’t eat on the race and as such I choose it, and not everyone likes it, which isn’t that good, when you have to eat it for three weeks! We only have three flavours so decision making at dinner times doesn’t take too long!

Two days ago we passed within sight of the eastern island of the Azores, Santa Maria. That was the first land we have seen since we set off on the 7th of Jan, it was also the time when Mr B got even with me over the last report, which may have been constructed with lies and hearsay! He told me at the time that he had got me back, but I had no idea what. On going to sleep that night I woke up with jolt when my finger got trapped in the bunk fan – much to the amusement of the others, especially Mr B. Alas though, that was not my come-upence. It was only yesterday that I found out when Ross put on my oilskin top, put his hand in the pocket and brought out a nicely rotting, stinking flying fish in a ziplock bag, which completely failed to contain the smell. Good one and well deserved! As time goes on, it is important to keep our spirits high, especially with the encroaching freezing conditions and lack of interesting food. With this being the case ‘stitch ups’ are common place and very amusing. I suspect there are several more in the offing, more on how they are getting on next time. Nicknames are flying around all the time, Mr B obviously has his, I have lots, the reaper, slugman and fringeless being the most polite. Not many people get to earn their nicknames but David has certainly done that, we call him the Hibernator for his ability to sleep at any given opportunity. We are missing a good one for Ross, although I am sure a few can be suggested after that lovely picture of him in the tiara. On the website today you can find one of him showing off his beautiful rainbow, along with a new picture of the four of us together ….. Many of you have asked what happened to the scorpion from last week as he seems to have gone AWOL. The Hibernator insists that he is just well hidden but we are not convinced, so we have asked for proof but that has been denied so we are in a bit of a stalemate situation. Finding Boris wasn’t that good a game anyway!

ETA – everyone is asking, but they aren’t that easy to give. We reckon late Thursday or early Friday will be a good bet. We will be having a welcome home bash in Gosport on our arrival night so please do come down and drink a few sherberts with us. We will of course be taking it easy having not had a drink for 4 weeks!! Look forward to catching up with you all in person in just a few days…

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2005 at 11:16 am and is filed under Vendee Globe. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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