Will they - won't they?
Early this morning our on board navigator, Roger Nilson, was in intensive discussion with our router, Roger 'Cloud' Badham in Sydney, as they triedto sort out
the best strategy for getting us out of the current weather system and into the next one which will likely determine our fate.
While we are currently three-sail reaching under full main, gennekar and staysail on a flat sea and making around 14 knots, 'Clouds' is predicting we may slow down dramatically for a while, as the breeze swings from the northeast to the southeast. The key question is how long this transition takes and how quickly we can get through it. Anticipating the shift, we have headed further east down the North Sea than the rhumb line and everyone on board is hoping for a bit of luck.
Coming south from the Shetlands overnight we were treated to a spectacularly clear night as Orange romped along at about 18 knots under the direction ofthe master of ceremonies himself, Neal McDonald. We were also treated to a great view of the many oil and gas platforms which were lit up like cathedrals in the middle of nowhere. This morning some are still visible.
It has never been all that cold on this trip, but most of us have now jettisoned our thermal layers and shorts are becoming the order of the day. Damian Foxall is convinced we are going to better Lakota's time. "We are going to do this," he said as he took the wheel from Bruno Peyron. Peyron himself is not giving up until all hope is lost. "We are still alive - as long as we are still alive there is 'ope. We will never give up and try t the end," he said.
For the record, we had been at sea for 96 hours at 9.10BST this morning. At that stage we were 457 miles from the finish and on a line of latitiude about 45 miles north of Edinburgh. At that point, our average speed required to beat the record was 10.4 knots.