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Crew member on GBR7383R Visit Malta Puma

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Captains Log 0630 28 August 2010

Woo hoo, we have come out of a small squall and have sighted the South tip of the Shetland Islands. Only 70 miles to go now before turning the corner to head home.

I wonder how far ahead the soldiers and our friends on Encore are! We are all waiting with baited breath to find out what time Playing Around and Cheeki Rafiki went round Muckle Flugger. It took 20 hours to get back to the spot where we suspended racing, so this is where we find out if we have made any gains.

The sun is coming out, we have 14 knots of wind and we are pointing right at the waypoint. Morale is in tip top shape, I mean how could we not be enjoying this, it is just brillaint to be up here relishing the crisp Arctic (well feels like it)conditions.

There is so much to savour out here and we are quite privelaged to have the opportunity. To think that many years ago people had to be press ganged before being convinced to escape to sea! Now we do it volunarily for fun!

Just had the shipping forecast for our area. F5 -7 W to NW. Vis Mod Sea State Mod to rough. Looks like it may get bumpy! At least it is in a good

(ish) direction.

Crew member on GBR1429L British Soldier

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DAY 3 - WED 25 AUG 10

All's well on board British Soldier. If you're reading this then we're been successful in getting the steam driven satphone working! Hopefully there'll be a GRIB file waiting for us too.

After a busy and windy afternoon/night yesterday, with 40 knots+ in some of the squalls, we incurred some damage to the main resulting in it having to come down for a number of hours so the bolt rope could be stitched. Consequently we lost a number of hours whilst sailing with the trysail and No 4. Anyway it's been repaired and appears to be holding. Our luck seems to be better than Incisor who suffered a knockdown and we believe have had to retire.

Today we've been on a one sided beat pretty much all day into about 15 knots of wind. The breeze is reasonably unsteady at the moment so not much point tacking in the headers. Have caught up with Alicia (IRC0) who now sit about a mile off to starboard and sailing slightly deeper. Fingers crossed the wind will back round to the east so that we can start reaching again.

Just parallel to the entrance to the Firth of Forth (Edinburgh) and approx 90 miles offshore. Muckle Fludda (North Shetland) is approx 290 miles away.

Yesterday BS clocked up 223 miles in the 1st 24 hrs of the race, averaging 9.3 knots. In the 48 hrs since the race begun we have clocked 400 miles on the log. At the time of writing (by the time I've finished on this infernal rubber keyboard it will probably be considerably less) the GPS is telling us that we've only got 1385 NM to go.

That's it, other than to say that down below the boat is beginning to hum - too many wet bodies and too little space (and personal hygiene!).

Skip

Crew member on GBR1429L British Soldier

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DAY 4 - THU 26 AUG 10 - 0915 HRS

The upwind pounding continues with BS close hauled in 16 knots of breeze whist maintaining an average speed of 7.8 knots. Full main and Code 3. Currently 92 miles due east of Peterhead, with approx 196 miles to Mucke Fladda. GPS gives us an ETA of mid morning tomorrow. So far we've sailed 512 mils along the rhumb line with 1288 NMto go. Actually we've sailed slightly further though the water, clocking up 552 miles on the log.

Our porridge breakfast this morning was sabotaged by one of the crew who has refused to own up, although we have our suspicions. Porridge oats and bilge water had already combined to make an interesting mess which no-one was brave enough to try. If we catch the culprit, then a Court Martial is expected. No legal advice out here and no requiement for referral to Services' Proecution Authority - we'll just make it up (who doesn't?)!. As a result, Day 14 breakfast has taken a hit - let's hope we don't need it.

Crew are in fine form and comfortably into that routine where the off watch read books in between sleep. First sign of a toothbrush last night and plenty of 'Glasgae showers' though!

Had an interesting trip through the oilfields last night. Plenty to look at and the guard ships call up for nothing more than a chat. Alicia still to starboard at 4 miles and slightly ahead, although considerably further downwind than we are. We should converge at the top, although we intend to tack back to the rhumb line later this afternoon in order to pick up the wind backing through to the west. Well that's the plan....

Skip

Crew member on GBR1429L British Soldier

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DAY 5 - FRI 27 AUG 2010 - 1000 HRS

We're back! Well, at least the satphone is. After launching itself across the saloon, bouncing off the galley stove and gently waking an offwatch crewman, it has singularly failed to behave. Spread over the cabin sole in about a hundred bits, with a Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineerng officer (who professes to have tinkered with motorbikes in the past) and a Troop leader from the Light Dragoons clutching a torque wrench claiming that he's a dab hand at replacing tracks thrown from his Scimitar light recce tank, somehow between them they managed to fix it.

A reasonably frustrating night last night waiting for an anticipated wind shift to back to the west which eventually materialised albeit 6 hours late. So much for free weather GRIB files - we want our money back! Currently laying Muckle Fludda on 310 degrees close hauled at 7.9 knots. GPS is giving us an ETA of early evening, although that's very much dependant on this wind holding out in strength and direction. Looking forward to the next leg - there's only a certain amount of oil rigs and harassing safety boats that you can take before it all becomes a tadge monotomous. A beamy/broad reach across the N Atlantic to St Kilda would be nice....

Conditions on board are pretty good, although we're all becoming adept at doing things with a permanent angle of heel whilst the boat pounds throw the waves. Foreheads wedged against the bulkhead in the heads is painful but prevents unnecessary spillage; swinging from grab rail to grab rail is pretty fast, whilst clinging on to the guardrail with your teeth has become standard practice. Suffice to say that the majority are becoming gymnasts, whilst the slightly older are creaking and groaning.

That's it - my fingers have numbed on this rubber keypad. So far we've logged 725 miles through the water in just under 4 days, whilst GPS shows us as having completed 647 NM with another 1153 to go. So if my infantry maffs is correct, that puts us just over a third of the way round.

Skip (neither a gymnast nor contortionist)

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