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Race Report

Ericson 4 Leg Five Day 17

Here we are, coming to the end of day 16 of our 40 day marathon.  It's incredible how things can change out here.

We basically have five boats tied together after 5000 miles of racing. A little shift one way and Telefónica Blue could be leading. A shift the other way could see Puma in front. Stuck in the middle are Ericsson 3 and ourselves.

It can be extremely frustrating at times. Different clouds can turn your day from an okay one to and absolute disaster. We spend 11 days building a 55 mile lead early on, and lost 40 of that in three scheds!!

Anyway, here we are, halfway between Fiji and the top of New Zealand in 'the race of the century' fighting for every inch heading toward the scoring gate at 36 south. It's going to be impossible to predict the outcome. I'm sure there will be hearts broken one way or another.

I managed to get up the rig today to do a full check of everything on the mast and forestay. It was a big relief to not find any majors up there. We are about to enter the full-on part of the leg, so having a clean bill of health in rig world is a good thing.

It is going to be very hard on us Kiwis, having to sail past New Zealand and not stop in. Hopefully Jules (Jules Salter – navigator) keeps us offshore a bit so that we don't have to go through the pain of seeing home!!

This will be my first real Southern Ocean leg, so I really don't know what to expect. The veterans basically tell me to plan for the worst, so anything better than that is a bonus! Can't say I'm looking forward to the cold but as 'Chopper' Reid would say, 'Harden the XXXX up'.  I'll let you know how it went for me in a couple of weeks.

We had a competition today to try and beat the boredom. The mission was to try and throw dried peas through the clew ring of the mainsail. Not sure who actually won, but we managed to leave about 1000 peas on the cockpit floor. Pretty dicey walking around up there at the moment but tomorrow’s 25 knots on the wind will clean it all up nicely.

That's all for now. Better try and get some rest before we get woken up for yet another gybe.

Phil 'Blood' Jameson - Bowman