Steering gear issues ,racing for second

Get ready for watch ,white sails are up ,9 to 13 knots squalls all around. Punta have closed the gap and are only 12 miles behind .We discuss setting the code 3.The wind angle is 80 85 .There is a big squall behind and one approaching from windward ,North. Delaying the kite set ends up the right decision with us able to point up and skirt the squall while Punta fall into a temporary hole behind and have to bear away. We are able then to set the code 3 . We make ground quickly and after are watch are already more than 20 miles ahead of our rivals. The trade winds have sort of arrived but a there are still intermittent squalls around. The rain is a welcome relief from the heat and humidity. The next 8 hours we make our way a little further ahead from those behind .The drag race is on for second . Halong Bay are well clear But 2000 miles still to go a race is never over.

come up the code 2 is up yacht moving nicely i take the helm and it all feels great thr sailing we have been waiting for i hand over the helm we broach first time this leg
during the recovery i note there is an issue wth steering gear
we drop code 2 and hoist code 3 all goes well till watch end ,we broach and Jorge notes same steering issue
kite comes down
bar connecting the 2 helms is loose
overnight Punta must have had a problem as we still pull away Korea are catching us
our morning watch the steering gear is repaired
prepare code 3 for hoist but delay
later hoist it but breeze drops but code 2 being repaired!
we sail along

Our sailing in the trade winds continues. Under the code 3 we have Korea catching us due to the code 2 being repaired.The wind gets up and we now according to AIS are the same speed.The wind drops later and our code 2 is hoisted we now are matching sped with those behind us. Jorge does some helm coaching over next watched for a couple of our watch with not much spinnaker experience. Both seem to pick it up well.Our drag race continues ,who makes less mistakes which is the right line the lower course we are taking or the higher one. Time will tell. All in all these are a yacht s are a pleasure to sail in the 10 to 15 knots downwind conditions.

So the drag race for 2nd spot continues between us ,Qingdao,Punta ,Korea. The northeast trades continuing to blow between 12 and 18 knots.Code 2 spinnaker conditions today with the sea state building a little. Each 6 hour sched Qingdao always a little quicker .2 to .4 of a knot ,Punta and Korea , sometimes quicker sometimes slower.Noone really pulling clearly ahead.Us with a position further south and slightly ahead the others 20 and 40 miles to the north. Will a leeward advantage be beneficial in the end or will the more northerly boats get the breeze first Who knows !
Occasional squalls interrupt the trades with an increase and shift in breeze.One of our helms got to experience his first broach today during one of these.While at a relatively high wind angle we were suddenly overpowered with wind jumping to 23 knots.Despite easing the main we were not bearing away.I grabbed the leeward helm and asked my fellow crew member to let go of the other wheel . He looked a little bemused when he saw me turning the wheel what appears to be the wrong way, but of course this is to straighten the stalled rudder then as the yacht starts sailing again one is then able to bear away. Till one experiences a broach all this is difficult to appreciate.

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