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Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki

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Big cheer! Its now less than a hundred miles to 'Out Stack' our northern most mark. We are now 15 miles off the east coast of the Orkneys in a north sea I hadn't imagined existed with waves of less than 2 metre. There is an atmosphere of expectation, wondering when the rough stuff starts. It's like drinking in a rough bar without an invite, knowing the locals have clocked you and are not too happy.

This latest shift (0600 to 1200 hrs) for blue watch was really good fun with all in good spirits. We treated the whole shift as a sprint to the 100mile mark, with the 8-10 knot nw wind we beat up at 340 making nearly averaging 7.5knots .

We haven't seen land for three days now and haven't a clue where the other Class 1 and 2 boats are! Will there be a scrum at the mark?

Early on we did some cleaning of the boat with the obligatory washing up (salt water). We've also refilled our 44litres of water bottles from the tanks. We use the water from the bottles (2L max per day each) and so track what is left in each tank. So far so good.

Those amazing silver grey dolphins have been back at least twice, buzzing the boat hoping for food, a race or sex. They didn't get any although Nick looked very happy when he came back on watch!

The joke book made a brief re-appearance, seeming funnier than last time, or is hysteria starting to take hold on board?

We passed the burnt out shell of Piper Alpha, this stands like a sad, awful, iconic epitaph to the poor souls who lost their lives. Let's hope lessons were learned.

This shift was a classic lesson in sail trimming and helming with Gary, Bret and Ken worked the head sail, main and wheel respectively. For the last 20mins Gareth took the helm to effortlessly show how it is really done.

Being out at sea (120 at one stage) without a sat phone, we believe our blogs and position reports haven't gone since early on the 24th. Hopefully they'll go when we come close to Shetland. Then we have the leg to Ireland. The tracker will hopefully be doing it's job though via the satellites.

Looking forward we intend to head up past Shetland far enough to tack and beat west at around 220deg. There's more to it with the tides and the unknowns of the weather but that's the basic idea.

Must mention the food, porridge for breakfast followed by dried apricots! As we kip down Martin from red shift has kindly rustled up the sausage rolls. I forgot to mention we had a late dinner on our 2200 - 0200 stint kindly prepared by gourmet Gary with help from sleepless Steve. Some sort of very tasty casserole and rice.

Red watch are now back on duty. Martin sorting some food, Nick smiling on the helm following the dolphin encounter, Stephen still awake and John on the main.

Ken Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

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