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Crew member on RSA23 Phesheya-Racing

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Phesheya-Racing, in the North Sea

Another 24 hours of bashing upwind aboard Phesheya-Racing! According to yesterday's theory that implies that we should soon be owed some great downwind conditions. The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organisers have informed us that our tracker has failed and several attempts to reset it have not borne fruit. It is rather frustrating, but we will try to keep information flowing through our website. Progress has been really slow recently and Concise 2 has managed to get well ahead of us. Nonetheless we are still ahead of the record pace for a 40 footer and there is a long way to go yet! Early days. At the moment we are at the latitude of the north coast of Scotland.

These past 24 hours have been busy as we threaded our way through the oil and gas fields of the North Sea. At sunset a large tanker, the Stena Natalia, obligingly altered course to allow us to maintain our route but we were soon forced to tack due to a mass of oil rigs, support tenders, rescue vessels and supply ships dead ahead of us. As soon as we were clear of them we tacked back onto our proper course.

The night was lit up by what appeared to be a mass of Christmas trees as we worked our way around the rigs.

Midnight brought a large pod of dolphins. Judging by their behaviour they seemed to be Common Dolphins, but at sunrise we saw another sort that we were unable to identify. Bigger and heavier than the Common Dolphins, and with no obvious beak, they had dark backs and light undersides. A bit like pilot whales in shape but they were happy to play in the bow wave for a while. Any ideas?

In the early hours we were hit by a rain squall again. Nowhere near as intense as the one of the previous day but it still brought shifty, gusty winds for a while.

This morning we have been forced to tack four times already due to oilrigs.

At 10H00 we finally got to hoist the full mainsail and an hour later we changed to the solent jib. We are now under full sails for the first time on this race!

Small rain squalls cross our path from time to time, keeping things lively, and as I write another one is bearing down on us. Will we have to shorten sail again?

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