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EH01 - The countdown has begun

G'day all,

Since yesterdays blog the good ship EH01 has had its foot to the floor in a
wave of fresh pressure. After another stunning sunset the crew settled into
their night watches with the fractional spinnaker still hoisted and full
main. Another beautiful moonlit night made it feel like we were working in
daylight. The crew really have worked so hard in perfecting their driving
skills and I could hear the calls of 'GRIND' and 'HOLD' through the night.

As the sun rose this morning I was so pleased we had managed to keep up such
good boat speed through the night. The usual pre dawn hole in the wind
didn't even appear. All was going too well... I knew I should not of decided
to go and get some sleep. I was quickly awoken by the shouts of 'NICK, NICK,
NICK... we have wrapped the spinnaker'. There are spinnaker wraps then there
are spinnaker wraps... Ours was the latter. I'm talking vacuum packed,
shrink wrapped, smothering the forestay like a boa constrictor. After my
usual cursing of the deity in charge we proceeded to haul the kite down the
forestay. This involved myself taking a swift trip to the top of the mast
which as we know in the middle of the Atlantic is easier said then done. For
those of you who have seen Alex Thomson's mast walk, my trip up the rig
contained none of the glamour or finesse of his famous video. Once at the
top, I managed to detach the halyard and start to manually unwrap the kite.
Thankfully this only took about 20 minutes and two face plants into the rig.
By the time I had descended the mast (with my already angular nose feeling
slightly squashier) the crew had the headsail plugged in and had started
hoisting. We were away again. Within 45 minutes of the whole thing starting
the kite had been re packed and re hoisted, we gybed over and are now
blasting along our lay line towards St Lucia. We are looking to again
increase our VMG as we have had a couple of slower days.

Too add insult to injury this morning, the heads also became blocked! As
skipper I did the noble thing and delegated the task of unblocking the heads
to the person who was driving when the kite wrapped which happened to be my
favourite Hungarian and first mate Andras (also a PYR trainee). Thankfully
it was a fairly straight forward fix! I won't go into too much detail...

The forecast is looking good for us to continue on this hotter angle towards
our waypoint to the north of St Lucia. We have just over 1200 miles to go so
we are well past the halfway mark. Our navigation software is currently
estimating an arrival time of anything between 4 and 6 days depending on how
fast we are currently surfing down a wave! The crew are starting to imagine
that first cold rum and coke in their hand (or in my case, a cold Carib) and
are ever determined to sail as fast as we can. The weather this afternoon is
pretty tropical with scattered cumulus and the sun beating down. I will
leave todays entry at that as I need to go and even out my tan lines!

Ciao for now,

Nick and crew

S.V 'EH01'

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