The creaks and groans, slams and bangs that are part of my daily life took on a more ominous tone last night with the news that Stephane had lost his rig. What would it sound like to have your dreams come crashing down around your ears?! I have been friends with him since 2009 when we did the Mini Transat together and have always found him to be a fast, but safe, competitor so it's doubly disappointing. My thoughts are with him to get safely back to land.
Independently of Stephane's horror I had a tough night that started when the pilot over corrected coming off a wave and spun the boat into a chinese gybe. Imagine the scene from my video with the boat pinned on its side and now imagine it in the dark. This time as I stood on the side of the cockpit to furl up the sail I was illuminated by the navigations light winking hopefully from beneath the waves that lapped at my feet. After much effort I was able to get on my way again without any damage to man or machine.
I am now sailing downwind with a very conservative sail plan of two reefs in the main and the solent jib but I'm still fast in conditions that gust to 40 knots as the back side of the previous depression rolls over me for another bite. I'm happy to have the good wind as it will allow me to press my advantage over Arnaud but the ghost of Stephane's mast clearly passed along the message that even after 40 days at sea it's still a long race and we're a long way from home! Got to keep trucking!