Fifty miles behind them there is a tightly contested chasing group of four sailors which DAVIES is now leading by four miles after passing Marc EMIG (FRA) this morning. Just a single mile separates EMIG from Jeanne GREGOIRE (FRA) with another 1.6 miles back to David RAISON (FRA) in eighth. A further 60 miles separates this group from the last four of the fleet who are between 155 and 200 miles behind CAUDRELIER.
In her email log this morning DAVIES talked about her strategy for the day before going on to make some non-technical descriptions of the conditions she has been facing: 'I consciously tried to rest some more today [yesterday], as I feel I am still tired. It is good to try to take your mind off everything for a little while too, so I have my book for that. I limit myself to only a short period per day, but I find it is the best way to clear my head.'
'Then, by midday, I could resist the conditions no longer and I helmed until sunset, 'sending it' as fast as I could get Skandia to hurtle down the waves - What fun!! There were times when there were the 'on top of the world' kind of waves - where you get lifted up SO high on the crest that it is like you have a birds view of the ocean below, then you go hooning down the front for what seems like ever, going so fast that you match the speed of the wind and the sails collapse as there is no longer any pressure in them...'
'Other times the waves were less co-operative. I have named a few 'wave types' because they fall into certain categories:
1. On top of the world (see above)
2. Boat wash - as the name describes, this one comes on board at the front and rushes down the decks, clearing all debri in its path. Not good if you have your cup of tea placed on the deck. Also advisable to remove all unattached items from cockpit floor.
3. Wildlife delivery - this comes in several physical forms, but does what it says, and delivers very surprised live wildlife specimens to your doorstep. Often in the form of a wriggling whitebait or baby Portuguese man of war, but other items have been shellfish (?) seaweed, pipefish. The best kind is when the wave takes the specimen right through the boat and over the other side (or the back) otherwise a rescue mission is required. The worst kind is the night time wildlife delivery that is not discovered until two hot, sunny days later!
4. Lap dancer - this wave is the kind that you see coming, with your name on it, and there is nothing you can do. It slaps the aft quarter, and jumps over the lifelines and lands directly in the helmsman's lap. The rest of the boat stays bone dry. Normally seen just after removing spray top.
5. Hurler - this is the kind of wave that you don't want to get onto because it is too big and going in the wrong direction. Also, it is normally the wave you can't avoid. It starts with a battle, that has the boat on her ear, straining to get off, then finally you take off with the wave and rocket off down the front at 40 degrees to your route at about 20 knots. You can't get off 'til the end, then it is messy. Either ending up by a wet faceplant into the wave in front (can be expensive) or just with the boat doing only 2 knots in the wrong direction.'
'Anyway, there are more, but I can get carried away. I will leave it to your imagination...The wind is shifting aft and I need to go and change spinnakers...'