We have now begun Leg Five of Eight – the half way mark.  In terms of legs
only – we still have 22,000 miles to go, 18,000 gone, or four and a half
months gone, six and a half to go.  Sounds better if you say half way, so
that is what I will stick with.

The start was a bit of a weird one – because of the reef, we motored out
150 miles before we did the actual start.  It was meant to be a showery day
– and it was.  Can’t complain though – the weather on the stopover was
absolutely fabulous.  It was a bit of an emotional start for me this time –
not quite sure why.
It could be because Michael, Emily and Serg were on the pontoon waving us goodbye,
or it could have been the facebook picture of my family having a Sunday roast dinner without me there.  Either or, or a combination of both.  Couldn’t stop the tears, so the sunglasses had to go on both above and below deck.

After we finished the parade of sail around a cruise ship and waved to the
crowds on the shoreline we set off for Vietnam.  And as we often do, we
started going the wrong way – south.  We had to get the other side of the
barrier reef, and it was decided as the channel was very narrow, that it
would be safer to navigate it by motor rather than racing.  I can see the
logic in that.  We had to go through the “Hydrographer’s Passage”, which
apparently is a fairly recent discovery in chart terms.  Without google, I
have no idea!  We had the reef on either side of us for a fair few miles
before we popped out the bottom.

We all then gathered for a Le Mans start.  It was a little later than
planned, as Unicef have had a change of skipper, who only arrived in Airlie
Beach an hour after we left, so they went back for him.  A Le Mans start
means that you all line up in a predetermined order (it was pulled out of
the hat) with the middle boat in charge.  They count down, and when the
gun goes everyone runs from the back to put the sails up.  All was going
well at the start.  We were one of the first to get our sails up -but then
disaster struck.  One of the sheets (ropes) came off the yankee (sail), so it had to come back down again, have the sheet retied, and then be hoisted again.  That meant we were just about last when we all headed off.  And we have the cameraman who is making the documentary on this race on board our boat for this leg.  Oh dear!

We have made up a little ground, but at present are not one of the leading
pack.  There was a choice of route – either round a reef or through it.
Four boats went through it, and they are the ones in the lead at the
moment.  But there is a long way to go yet!

And it is unbelievably hot.  Kat had bought everyone little usb fans, all we
had to get was the power pack they are plugged into.  They are an absolute
god send.  As soon as you go downstairs, your clothes start sticking to
your body and your skin runs with sweat.  And the seas haven’t been too
kind either – the boat has been heeled over at forty five degrees almost as
from the word go.  I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to try pulling up
your pants in the toilet with one hand, whilst trying to keep upright with
the other.  And over a wet body, so nothing moves smoothly.  You end up
strangling yourself if you aren’t careful!

And most of the new crew were seasick.  And some still are.  And I was
again – not sure what is going wrong here.  Luckily it was just once whilst
I was passing the toilet, so no dramas there.  One of these legs it will be
flat sailing, pleasant conditions etc etc.  Not!

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