44:30.20 N 15:18.50 W. 1200UTC Wednesday 6th June

Rob Packham
Wed 6 Jun 2007 13:33
We have had a great morning surfing down the waves with wind astern and poled out Genoa. Wind speed has been over 30kts occasionally but more generally high teens, low 20's. The seas are quite big and confused so I am bouncing around as I write this. Nice thing with the Southerly is I sit here at the Nav Station looking out as the watery world races (well nearly) along.
We had the spinnaker up all yesterday afternoon and made good progress. Decided to keep it up for the night but then had the wind gust up to 27kts so opted for the Genoa poled out. It was a pitch black night until the moon rose in the early hours.
Around midnight we saw the lights of a large ship headed fast in our direction. Plotting with MARPA on the Radar showed she would miss us but called her on Ch 16 to make sure. No worries came the reply - they had seen us on radar for a good while. This was good news - the first time we have proof that the SEAME radar transponder we fitted works well - difficult to test in the crowded Solent.

Now a short note from the other half of the crew. Although we are on the same boat we work different watches so we hardly ever see each other, just during meals and watch change-over. We have however been communicating about tactics and other race related subjects via email. We have been sailing with poled-out genoa for most of the night. We probably could have run with the kite but the risk of shredding it on Day 4 of maybe a 10 day race is just too high. We only have a 1.5 oz kite(that is basically the strength of the cloth) and if that goes we do not have a replacement and we feel the advantage of the kite is greatest in lighter conditions, so hopefully we will make the most of it. Just now looking for ways around the windless patches protecting the Azores although it seems the Azores are having a bit of a blow at the moment. Well it is back to work for the mate, talk to you soon.

Rob and Robert