6th day out and just south east of Virgin Rocks, point alpha to those of us out here battling light airs to make easting ahead of the rest.  It is good to be free of that restriction.  We sit in a class with one other, our Nemisis, Phaedo, who in these light airs certainly should hold the upper hand on us.  Let’s be real for a minute, we may be a much longer vessel at over 4 times Phaedo’s length, but we are full displacement and over 70 times her weight, oh, and we sail with every piece of equipment we normally carry.  We’ll hold our own in a blow, but this light stuff is the real challenge for us, for the boys at the, ah, ‘wheel’.

For the days leading up to now we sat in debate of the choice we made to keep north, certain those light airs to the south would becalm us. “Which way should we go?”  Smart people said go south.  Some did and they flew.  As we dragged our way along our north passage, at times barely moving, with 2400 square meters of cloth oft hanging limp above us, we watched the tracker with frequent bouts of dismay, repeatedly clicking the little boat icons to see how people were performing, how we were fairing against the fleet, at times obsessively.  We had to believe the choice we made was right.

My watch started at 0600 this morning.  From my bunk straight to my engine room, normally a sweltering, humid +34 degrees C in tropical climates and the heat of the two noisy Deutz beast that we call upon from time to time to give us a shove, now lying cold as ice as 10 degree water grips the hull and turns this space into an oversized icebox.  A lone generator purrs in the background keeping the hydraulics going, fridges, freezers, A/C, galley running hot, water makers running, toilets flushing.  Life goes on as it would any other day at sea for us down here.

I complete the engine room log, sit at my desk.  Screen up.  www.transatlanticrace.com. News. Blogs. “Newport, R.I. USA (July 2, 2011) – Nordwind and Carina have opened up a significant lead on the rest of the fleet that started the Transatlantic Race 2011 on June 26. These two yachts have stayed in good pressure, whilst the yachts behind that stayed north have not -- leaving them well over 100 miles behind the frontrunners.”  That was two days ago.

www.transatlanticrace.com. Tracker.  Interesting,  seems our Nemisis has aborted her previous south bound route and clawed her way back north.  North, where we decided to go.  Her lead has fallen away drastically, a sweet reminder, that out here, anything can happen and the most unlikely of challenges can still put each other to the test.  Game on Phaedo and 2nd place buys the first round. Who buys the last, well that goes to last man standing.

See the photo gallery for a collection of photos from onboard Maltese Falcon.

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