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Crew member on GBR93 Concise 2

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1230

We are still beating upwind, the kit bags are getting lighter as we wear layer upon layer of clothes, and the Muckle Flugga lighthouse still seems so far away. So while we wait for the Jetboil to heat some sea water to soak our food in for lunch, we have started thinking where we'd rather be right now:

Tom D - Around Muckle Flugga, heading home at 150 TWA.

Ned - Pigeon Beach, Antigua, with a cocktails and some decent food

Dan - Cuddled up in bed with 3 1/2 week old baby and missus, cup of tea in hand

Tristan - Sailing the Caribbean 600 race and then getting steaming drunk in the Mad Mongoose (after an espresso martini first, of course)

Jess - At anchor off Rottnest Island, Western Australia. A book and a glass of red.

Tom G - In bed with the missus

Crew member on GBR7383R Visit Malta Puma

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Day 4 - 11.00hrs

Greetings from Puma

It really is a " Beautiful Day" (courtesy of the Levellers!). Sunshine, 11 kn of wind,

8 kn boat speed and on course.

Cannot believe that I am out in the North Sea taking part in the RBI again!! After the 2006 race I promised myself that it would be the first and last time, it was a war of attrition - wind against all the way round, explain that! We sailed in a circle

(clockwise), wind on the nose all the way up, turned right at the top to come back down and the wind turned 4hrs later, a beat all the way down. To add insult to injury when we turned right at Dover the wind turned with us! So never again!

Things looked a bit different, when in Wicklow, having won our class in the Round Ireland and having it must be said a few glasses of the hard stuff, it seemed to be a perfectly plausible proposition. So here we are!

Without being too philosophical (those who know me will confirm that this is not one of my more recognizable traits), offshore racing has more than its fair share of ups and downs, which means that those who partake are either masochists or optimists - I tend to put myself in the latter category.

Tuesday was a very good example - 27hrs into the race, leading our class, strong wind, fantastic experience, life does not get much better. Sudden squall, 60kn wind and driving rain, 15mins of absolute organised chaos during we got the head sail and the main down on deck without damage (except for a broken jib halyard) and just as importantly with everyone still intact and on board! Look around thank the heavens and Philippe and hoist everything back up again - keep racing, memo to self, must remember to take the blood pressure pills.

Then the bad news, alternator problems, keep racing while they try to locate and resolve problem, 2 hrs later turn back towards Great Yarmouth. Difficult to describe how bad one feels going from first to last, adrenaline stops, retrace all the hard fought miles, feel very tired, the boats quiet, none of us actually think that there is any chance of repairing the alternator and restarting the race. We discuss the options of returning to Shamrock or sailing round Scotland and England, not much enthusiasm for either.

Arrive Gt Yarmouth, more alongside Incisor who suffered a broken boom in the same squall, apparently 2 crash jibes did the damage - eureka! the alternator starts working, don't know why, don't care why. Now the difficult bit, do we go out again knowing that by the time we reached the turn back point we will have lost 20 hrs on the leaders, or do we call it a day.

Easy decision for me - 3yrs ago during the 2007 Fasnet we had to divert to Salcombe to put Tom, complete with a broken leg, ashore. We decided not to go back out - a decision I have regretted being part of many times since. This time a short discussion was all that was needed, we go back out!

So here we again taking part in the RBI race, and believe me we are racing. Do we believe that we can catch up? Probably not, but there are still hundreds of miles to cover, plenty of time for fortune to smile. Not to wish ill on anyone but what happened to Incisor and ourselves can happen to anyone. We just have to make sure that we are there to take advantage - did I mention that I am an optimist!

So life is good!

Finally can I say a quick hello to family Maire, Anna and Oscar (all in Shanghai), David in Singapore and Siobhan in Penge and a big thank you to all those who have sent messages of support, they are much appreciated, keep them coming.

Brian

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?

Crew member on GBR9357T CV8 Hull & Humber

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Day three in the big orange boat and the crew are all getting used to conditions on board, life at an angle is always interesting. This is the closest I have been to home (North east England) in nine months and some welcome it gave us yesterday, storm sail conditions and three reefs was the story of the day but the crew just took it in their stride and got on with the task in hand. After the fast downwind conditions of the first day this is something of a different challenge for everyone but to their credit everyone is getting on with racing the big orange bus as hard as possible.

Today is Wednesday and the wind seems to have abated slightly, though sea state tells us of more to come but with the way the weather is at the moment its anyones guess. Sunshine and a good breeze have helped to keep everyones spirits high and Bob Marley playing on the stereo always helps, Piers keeps threatening to put on his Shania Twain collection but I've already told him I can't stop the crew from mutinying if that happens.

Anyway must stop rambling, we have a boat to race.

Ciao for now from Pierro, Alfresco, Flavio and the rest of us on Hull & Humber

Crew member on GBR8308T Playing Around Logic

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A night of 2 halves.

As the sun set, the wind dropped to 5kts, with 90degree wind shifts! Veryintense trimming and helming, rotating every 30min to stay fresh. Still wekept moving, occasionally down to just 2kts, sometimes up to 6.

Later in the night, the wind steadied to 12kts, and speed increased as weattempted every trick we knew to extract the best speed/height from playingaround. A lovely dawn and sunrise over Banff oilfield as we passed oil ships(is that what they're called?) pulling out of the ground whatever they canfor the latest 4x4s.

Now we're steaming along at 7kts heading towards Bergen. We're waiting forthe Westerly wind shift that will take us up to Muggle Flugga, less than 250miles away!

All's well on Playing Around, oven and hob now fixed, though a few peopledid get a bit green trying to fix it. Now we can be assured of hot food atleast for the next few days. This is the last day of 'fresh'

food (ie not dried), and it has remained frozen so far. In a strange waywe're looking forward to the freeze-dried, though I'm sure that will beshort lived and we'll be wishing for Allies home cooked again.

Day 2 we averaged 170miles, so we're still overall averaging over 200miledays. Now that's quick for a 40.7 offshore, and the long range gribs areshowing some downhill conditions once we get to Ireland. Can't wait to getoff this uphill bumpy slog!

From PA crew

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