Sam DAVIES (GBR) on Skandia holds sixth position after a night of spinnaker running in strong northeast winds, at times gusting up to 30 knots, with an average speed of ten plus knots. The races' 24 hour record will be one to watch today with these speeds set to continue, 'I don't know what my top speed is so far,' said DAVIES. 'I think it's 18 knots. Quite often when you do your record speed you have your eyes shut!'
DAVIES's night onboard Skandia did not go to plan...after re-configuring Skandia's sail plan, so she could switch to autopilot allowing her to eat and get some sleep, her 'See Me' alarm starting going off... 'I had just decided to put the big boy's sails away and the big girl's sails up and go and sleep. Just as I sorted everything out, and went inside, I heard a beep....beep...there was really bad visibility so I thought if I'm going head on to this ship then it's going to come up really quickly so I can't sleep. It was frustrating. It turned out that the ship was coming up from behind which meant it took AGES to catch up and AGES to pass, and when it did, it went quite close down the starboard side.'
DAVIES finally managed to get her head down afterwards, 'I'm feeling quite good, it's probably the adrenaline that keeps you going when the conditions are like this. You find how tired you are when you get on the helm for a long period of time and after two hours if your head starts nodding you realize you're tired. At the moment I feel ok. I think I got quite a lot of sleep last night [the 2nd half of last night] - I was dreaming and everything!'
There are mixed feelings between skippers this morning. Leader CAUDRELIER had a good night's sleep, 'I had my automatic pilot on all night and slept well, everything is perfect', whereas others were feeling quite the opposite like GRÉGOIRE: 'I was very tired last night as I hadn't slept the night before. I didn't know where I was and broached several times so I needed two hours to have the boat back in order.'
With around 440nm to the closest island of the Azores, the fleet will be starting to think about the tactical decisions and strategy on their approach, DAVIES has been looking at routing options: 'As as we approach the Azores there's a really light patch - there's an option to hold your course high and go south of nearly all of the islands, that way you stay in the wind when you end up going south into the trade winds. The other two options I've looked at take you north, through a really light spot so it will be interesting to see who chooses which option. It's a few days away yet so it's difficult to tell, but you've got to decide earlier enough to get south because it's quite a long way south to go if you don't go direct to Flores [the northwest island of the Azores, which boats must pass south of]. It should be interesting in the next few days.'
The North-East wind is forecasted to turn eastwards to a South-East, with no change in wind speeds which are between 15-25 knots.