Entering the "Roaring Forties", the band of latitude between 40 and 50 degrees south, is always a great moment. When going down the south atlantic it means the beginning of the south, the long swells, the grey days and the start of the strong winds that roar, hence the name. Entering this band going back up again means an escape from all that and the promise of calmer days and the opportunity to untangle the nerves that were wound tight by weeks of stress.
Even now at 48 degrees north, the constant damp of condensation inside the boat is drying out with the rising temperatures and I am blessed with bright sunshine, puffy white clouds dancing in blue skies. Eric has had a dream run since the Horn, with one tack taking him straight up the direct route home whereas conditions just a few hours behind have meant that I have sailed more miles with more maneuvers in order to find the wind I need to maximise my limited sail wardrobe.
I am currently in stable running conditions in up to 30 knots of wind and am making great progress. All that is set to change however as today the wind will come more from the north and I will start a long upwind march that will have the boat banging into the crests of the waves, instead of sliding over them downwind, until I get up to the level of Rio. This is one of the least interesting parts of the race as it's just one long port tack towards the north east on boats that are optimized for running and reaching, not hundreds of miles of upwind! Still, if that's the price for thousands of miles downwind I'll take it but first I need to find my earplugs!