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Crew member on GBR93 Concise 2

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1330 27 August 2008

The Mystery of the Missing Sleeping Bag.

Last night, around 0200 Concise 2 tacked onto starboard to begin her journey back South. In accordance to Class 40 rules we transferred the stack down below. Half an hour later, a disturbed and troubled crew member was wandering up and down, left and right around the boat, rummaging through the stack, through the foodbags, and under other asleep crew. 'Where is my sleeping bag?', cried Justin. The innocent little bag was nowhere to be seen. Hiding? Washed overboard? Or was there foul play afoot?

Was it Jess, the navigator, trying to cushion her beanbag just a little bit more?

Was it Ned, the skipper, who could persuade Justin to stay on the helm longer if he had no bed to go to?

Or was it Justin himself who concocted a double-pass to extract sympathy and more hot chocolate?

Justin forlornly proclaimed it lost and huddled in his Musto HPX overnight, mumbling unhappily in his sleep.

This morning, around 1100, Tom Dawson was foraging for food. Nik Naks - the special treat at yesterday's happy hour - were what he was craving. Tom parted the stack bags, cast aside the food bags, and dived into the starboard locker. And there, floating amongst the crisps, was the missing sleeping bag.

Justin was overwhelmed with the discovery and says the now he is 'much happier about life'.

The suspects were released without further questioning. The sleeping bag was dried and aired on the main traveller this morning and has now been returned to its owner. The case is now closed.

Crew member on GBR8308T Playing Around Logic

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At last, the wind has now picked up and we are off again. The sun is burning bright and we are pointing straight at Muckle Fugger doing seven knots. The good news is that we will have wind all the way there now and should be arriving at the turning point by lunch time tomorrow. The bad news is that I am sure we have lost a lot of the hard fought ground to the boats ahead!

When you are out on the water for days on end there can be time to reflect on what has been, what could have been and what might be. It is a surreal world out here and one which fills us with so many emotions, it triggers many thought processes and certainly makes us evaluate and prioritise the true values of life.

Every so often something happens out of your control and you have no idea why or for what reason. For example, Visit Malta Puma was the best prepared for an offshore race she has ever been. Attention was paid to every small detail and no stone was left unturned. When we left the dock on Monday she was in great shape and I was so proud of all the hard work everyone had put into getting her ready.

I have always proclaimed that the best prepared boats and teams are generally at the front of the fleet. Visit Malta Puma is always meticulously prepared for every race she enters and her results over the past five years back up my belief. We only have a small budget for Puma but that budget is spent wisely and many people give up their time for free to help keep her in tip top condition.

Therefore, one of the hardest things about the prospect of having to retire on Tuesday night was the feeling that I had let so many people down. Everyone who sails on Puma and all those that support her ashore dedicate so much time and energy to enable us to realise a dream, to keep Puma going at such a high level of competition and to enable many people to gain huge amounts of pleasure and satisfaction from a very special and unique racing campaign.

Getting all the amazing messages of support from our friends and supporters at home has really made an impact on me and I am sure on everyone aboard. They have made me realise how many hearts have been touched by Sailing Logic and Visit Malta Puma over the years, how much respect and admiration we have from people all over the world and how much everyone believes in us. That alone makes it worthwhile continuing with the race.

This race has clearly taken on a new dimension for all of us, I have often wondered what keeps people going when failure is glaring them in the face and there seems little hope of success. I have had a revelation over the past day and a sudden realisation that success and failure is measured in so many different ways. Failure is often just a self imposed perception of reality. In my mind if Visit Malta Puma did not win the RORC IRC1 Championships this year I deemed it as a failure and felt I had let everyone down.

However, as I said in my last blog, just getting around in this race now will make everyone on board a winner. That is a success in its own right not a failure! Wow, I seem to have learnt something about life! I have also realised that if Visit Malta Puma and her team had not been so well prepared then we would almost certainly have retired by now and at best would not be pressing ahead at 100% efficiency. Everything that has broken has been fixed with the minimum of fuss in quick time. Nothing is going to stop us finish this race and if the opportunity presents itself we are ready to take that opportunity and win the RORC Championships in style.

It appears from the messages that we have been getting from all our supporters that Visit Malta Puma has inspired many people over the years. For me the acknowledgment of that inspiration means more than any race win or result. That is a true success in life and one which I am so grateful to have been involved with.

Skipper Philippe Falle

Crew member on GBR100 Artemis Ocean Racing

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Well we have a very busy morning on Artemis. After a windless day yesterday, the night was better, until we got to St Kilda. Then the breeze just shut down, so we have had up, the genoa, code zero, big chute, and now again the code zero! A lot of work, but we have managed to keep moving, and have just got into more pressure. The light winds did however give us a chance to drop the furling Solent and carry out a repair to a big section of the upper leech that had split.

Lucky to have the time and conditions to do this as we will for sure need the sail for any upwind or reaching conditions. Anyway, the boys have just about finished, and we will then re-hoist and lash the head, and hope that it holds out to the finish.

Our water situation had become quite worrying, and even after many hours spent trying to fix the thing [the watermaker], we have not not had a drop out of her for days, and have been rationing pretty hard. So this morning, we had a little bit of luck and managed to get over 10 litres of fresh water in a squall!! Nice... only the squall sucked all the wind away and left us with 2 knots of wind!! Good and bad, but at least we can eat and drink again.

Apart from that, all is good on board, are we are determined to get the old girl moving again and make some gains on the fleet. It has been a fantastic race so far, and very close on handicap throughout, and hopefully we can make a move back up the leader board over the next day.

Cheers, from Jonny, and all onboard Artemis Ocean Racing


Crew member on GBR9357T CV8 Hull & Humber

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Welcome to Scotland. For us a sea of lights as we sailed through the oil platforms off Aberdeen through the night, a couple of dolphins joined us for company. Who'd have thought the North Sea had charm! The swell has come down and beating north is easier. Forget Shetland's ponies our next target is Muckle Flugga, the Northern most point on our race. Its two rock stacks are named after the folk story of two giants who sought the attentions of a mermaid. I don't think we'll be chasing mermaids as we tack to dash towards the Emerald Isle. On board the good ship Hull & Humber, I'll steal the Skipper's words - It's all good!

Stay tuned for more blarney as we reach Ireland...


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