After a few days at sea I finally get my chance to take the helm which is great. We are sailing downwind so that the wind is coming at a slight angle from the back of the boat in a good breeze. The sun is shining and for another day there is nothing in sight except sea and sky. We parted company with all the other boats in the fleet after about 24 hours racing as each plotted their own course to try to find an advantage, however small, over the rest.
And so here I am at the wheel of 34 tonnes of racing yacht on a glorious sunny September morning, surfing down the front of Atlantic rollers at speeds of up to 17 knots. What a privilege! It is awesome and a real challenge. There is a narrow range of steering where the boat sails well, fast and true, but veer outside the range and at best you lose speed, incurring the Skipper’s glare and at worst all sorts of horrible things happen to the sails, and the damage experienced by other boats as they suffer from ripped spinnakers, snapped halyards, exploding blocks is testament to that, quite a worry so early in a round the world race.