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Update, day 108: dodging ships!

You would think that with the boom repaired, sails sorted, and food rationed out I could just kick back and relax on Foresight Natural Energy to watch the miles (slowly) count down. Sadly no! I am back in busy European coastal waters and there are few spare moments as I am constantly on watch to avoid being run down by cargo ships or fishing boats that don't look where they are going. To make matters worse I lost my electronic aids like radar and AIS when the mast went down so I am back to kicking it old school with a pair of binoculars and a hand held compass to calculate collision vectors. Low cloud and swirling mist complicate the job because swirls in the clouds sometimes turn into speeding ships but more often than not hide nothing but my over active imagination. Fishing boats, while slower, complicate things further with their intensely bright work lights that drown out their navigation lights so it's hard to know which way their going at night. Seeing a bright blob in between the crests but not knowing how to avoid it is like knowing your sick but not how to treat yourself! A big thank you to all who have written in with encouragements and suggestions. My wife Clara forwards them on and they help to pass the long days at sea when I had long since planned on being home and dry (and fed!). One great idea a received from a Foresight employee was to use an emergency foil blanket as a reflector to boost solar performance. Nice idea and I would certainly try it had I not ruined the ones on board when I cooked the composite repair on the boom. Others have suggested that I eat seaweed. Sadly with my return to coastal waters there are more plastic bottles than seaweed and the excellent Nautix racing antifouling on the boat has stopped all growth below the waterline, even at such slow speeds!

While I am constantly hungry I am surprised by my capacity to manage it as in normal life I have a fast metabolism and am never far from a healthy snack to keep the fires burning. As I was very severe in my rationing initially I should now have nearly 800 calories per day if I am able to make it to port by Friday night.

© Foresight Natural Energy / Conrad Colman #vendeeglobe

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