I went to bed with the weather not bad and the spinnaker up, and got up to heavy seas and two head sails.  The rain was coming down in torrents and the boat was pitching badly.  We had a little flock of five birds come down the companionway and perched on the wet locker rail.  Unfortunately by the end of the shift, two had fallen off dead, two had tried to fly back out but had got caught in the heavy wind and were blown into the sea. The other one was found several days later in the sail locker, also expired.  What were they doing out here anyway? Not exactly on the normal flight path for little birds.

On the other hand, we have had sightings of albatross daily and larger ones as well. Beautiful creatures.  Very elegantly gliding over the crest of the waves and then disappearing.  But still no whales.  Several squid on the deck, but no whales.  And no dolphins yet this leg either.

We left Rio and went virtually straight down to get the better winds that are lower down.  The shortest route is apparently not the best route.  There is a scoring gate that is slightly further south than we need to go, but as we were one of the first boats we decided to go for the gate.  This is a virtual gate on golden arches in the middle of the sea.  The first three boats to go through the gate get three, two and one points respectively.  There seemed to be only three of us going for the gate, us, Derry and Ichorcoal. After over one thousand miles, fifty miles from the gate we saw the lights of Ichorcoal to our port side. Derry were about ten miles in front of us, so they were going to get there first.  It was a battle to the last for second place, but we made it.
As long as Lmax and Qingdao who started four days after us, don’t get there quicker in elapsed time, we have two points which doubles our current total.  But by going for the gate we have lost placing overall.  I am sure we can catch up!

On a night shift a couple of nights ago, when the weather was at its worst, my right ear came a little too close to the South Atlantic for comfort.  We were sitting on the high side (oh what joy) when the boat went into an accidental tack.  The high side quickly became the low side.  Marc just managed to hang onto the yankee car with his fingers, but I was thrown against the guard rail post.  I was there for only a few seconds, although it did feel a little longer.
accidental tack
Two strong hands from Marc and Matt pulled me back into the middle of the boat and safety.  Those waves sounded very loud that close!  Everyone seemed a little concerned about my state of mind, but it happened so quickly I didn’t have time to worry about it.  Still here, so no harm done!

Talking about sitting on the high side, there is rather a lot of that on this leg.  The butt cheeks get a little sore sitting one position for hours on end but I am sure that this is good exercise for them as you are constantly moving to keep upright.  Maybe I will have a small butt at the end of this! Ha! Probably not.  Also, sitting up on the high side puts you right in the firing line for all the water coming over the side.  The foul weather gear is holding up quite well.  I found an extra couple of seals inside the sleeves of the jacket a couple of days ago.  After the water had gone up my sleeve and made my mid layer sleeves wet.  Oh, and nothing dries on here.  What gets wet stays wet.  And starts to smell.  A different smell from the first leg.  That was mostly sweat.  This is more wet dog.
My gloves have been wet from day one.  You get off shift, wring out your gloves, and put them back on four hours later in the same state.  So the sleeves of my fleece are still wet.  Yuk!

Not only are clothes wet, but the whole boat is full of condensation, that drips off the ceiling and makes the walls all wet. It made the keyboard wet, and it didn’t work at all for a couple of days.  There are several letters and numbers that still don’t work, including a number for my password that we have got around by finding it in another document and cutting and pasting it.  Thank you Nancy for going through the text with a fine tooth comb and guessing what I am trying to say.  Don’t you just love technology!

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