Well we have just finished a sail change to some bigger gear (code zero) for the lightening winds ahead. The last two days we've seen heaps of wind and had the dragon boat fully cranked up. It shouldn't be as physical with the lighter airs and reaching. Needless to say, I will still be indulging in a Nutri Pharma protein bar before I hit the bunk.
I hear La Rachelle has famous oysters? I expect an oyster to be my first feed once we hit shore. It will be tough trying to compete to the Australian Sydney rock oyster, proven by oyster specialists to be the most potent of all oyster aphrodisiacs? Perhaps a little vino [wine] too.
We broke the cover on our spinnaker sheet last night. It was quite bizarre trying to hold onto it and feeling the inside of the rope run out. By the time we could grip the rope the spinnaker was eased and enjoying a little flap in 35 knots of wind. Our sail makers on board weren't too happy, but it proved to be a great test of strength. The Code 5 repair withheld even another beating. I still can't believe she's up and flying after being slashed to pieces a few days ago. The onboard sail loft has proven very efficient.
The boys on deck have just asked me were the Code 2 [spinnaker] is. This is a light air running spinnaker. There are so many sails on deck all stacked upon each other that you tend to loose track of where sails are between watches and in the dark. I think I headed them in the right direction having seen it squashed under a few heavier spinnakers.
We actually carry 17 sails on board making it a rather large heavy stack on the side of the boat. Add water to this stack and it becomes quite a mass. We are planning the sail program for the rest of the race as we sail. Within a few days we should have decided what sails we need to order while we're still out here racing so NZ [New Zealand] North can start production before we finish.
Big Herve [Cunningham], one of the French's on board is just climbing out of his bunk in a drunken state of sleeplessness. After the first wave he will be awake and alert. The water is getting colder, now at 13 degrees and the sun has set. Big Herve has some pretty good hiding spots for his boots and jacket. I think I'll have to copy the technique too.
Day 10 should be interesting. It's Arve's [Roaas] 40th birthday. I have hidden a little magazine surprise in the food bag. It's a glossy picture mag of interesting things! We also have freeze-dried ice cream for that day. A little party at sea!
I nearly forgot. We went within two meters of the biggest whale I have ever seen. What would a whale be doing going so close to a Norwegian boat? Very high risk indeed, considering in Norway I saw whale steaks on the menu of many restaurants.
Well while I typed this, another sail change has been completed. Spinnaker now. It's getting a little quiet down here so think I'll sneak off to my bunk and have a little snack in bed.
Page three.. An e-mail from Mark Rudiger aboard Assa Abloy