We had the call from Clipper on Saturday evening that the race was going to finish at 0500 local time on Monday morning, giving us virtually 48 hours to get to Danang from wherever we ended up.  The series of way points that we had been given would not be completed by anyone – even though Derry are just over 200 miles ahead of us.  When 0500 comes, everyone will be measured from the front way point backwards.

The boats in front of us, in order, are Derry, GB, Garmin, Lmax and Qingdao.  There was no real hope of us catching any of those as we had been in the same order with approximately the same amount of mileage between us for the last week or so.  Teletubbies, on the other hand, were the next boat behind us and had been gradually catching us – or so it seemed.

Let me explain.

When we turned the corner and started heading North again the wind was not in our favour.  To get to the line of way points that had been put in for us,on our port side, we had to tack several times. One tack took us North to North East, depending on the wind which changed direction several times every shift.  To get us far enough East to make sure the way point was on our port side, we had to tack.  That tack took us South East, so basically heading further East which we needed to do, but back on ourselves.  A rubbish tack, but necessary.

When the schedules are released to us every six hours, it would depend on which tack we were on as to the distance Teletubbies were behind us.  If we were heading South, and they were on the North tack, it may look as if they were a lot closer than they actually were.  They, too, would have to do the rubbish tack and head southwards.

When we went off shift yesterday afternoon, I was thinking because of this, Teletubbies could go faster westwards (where the wind wanted to take us) and if we were having to tack southwards to get around a way point they could technically be closer to the way point than we could be.

I had a cast iron guarantee from Wendo that they would not overtake us.
Good enough for me!

At 5am this morning when the race actually stopped, we were in sixth position. As predicted.  I should imagine anyone viewing the race viewer at around that time will have seen all twelve boats simultaneously turn and head north west towards Danang.  As fast as they can, but not before 6am on 17th!
But when the results were read out, it seems there has been a protest.  Not about our sixth place, but around the redress that Lmax has received when they went to check out the de masted yacht.  They received 3 hours and 4 minutes.  In a normal race with a finish line that everyone goes over, that would be an easy calculation.  Their finish time would be 3 hours and 4 minutes ahead of their actual time.  But when it has been calculated on a distance instead of a time, the time has to be converted to distance.  No one knows what calculation has been made, or who has made the protest.  I would imagine that it would be either GB, Garmin or Lmax who are all within 30 miles of each other.  Derry, I believe, will be the outright winners.  But who will come second and third will be between the other three.  Watch this space!

Knowing that Mission Performance were awarded an extra eight points for their rescue mission on the last race, when we saw what we thought was a ship on fire a couple of nights ago, points were floating in front of our eyes.  We were making our way through another fleet of fishing boats (there are so many) when one of them had a huge funnel of black smoke go straight up into the air and the lights turned orange.
We were all ready to drop the sails and motor over, when the smoke stopped and the lights went back to normal.  The fact that none of the other fishing boats were going over to help was another indication that they were not really in trouble. Everyone was quite disappointed, as this has been a fairly boring week or so, and that looked like a bit of excitement.  We decided that the funnel was either a time tunnel up to a space shift, or the smoke from an overworked diesel engine.  I liked the sound of the former!

It was Valentine’s Day yesterday, and Kirsty in her state of not being able
to do much, decorated the boat with balloons and hearts.  Rich thought it
would be a good idea to have a “diary room” and film messages back to our
loved ones for the documentary.
A few people took part.  Mine was not really conventional, and one of the crew that will remain nameless asked if he could record a death threat to his ex wife.
That one was declined!
I have had quite a lot filmed this leg, as I have been deemed “interesting”.
Not quite sure what I make of that.
Will have to see how much actually makes it into Episode 4!

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Bridget only has basic email facilities on the boat. Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!
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