Racing for the Podium

At last we have good broad reaching conditions for the kite. We go up for our night watch and there are lights all around us .

Punta’s stern light off the port bow.
Unicef’s steaming light and white light to starboard, and the Dragon (Qingdao) steaming light and port light off the stern to starboard.
This is the race for second place ,though with Punta more than 2 miles ahead we are likely racing for 3rd.
The conditions are great with clear skies , a breeze initially 12 to 16 knots building later to 16 to 20.A small following wind swell just enough to get the boat surfing.
We have the code 2 up and a full main and boat is nicely balanced.
We’re persistently pushing along at 11 to 12 knots with the boat surging ,12,13,14, and occasionally 15 and 16.
We initially gain on Punta but they then pull away and regain a bit at the end of the watch.
We continually gain on Unicef gradually seeing more of their port light,till finally they are almost right next to us and we pull away.The Dragon is coming for both of us the whole watch and when I hand over the helm at watch change Unicef and Qingdao are nearly alongside each other 1500 metres behind. Our watch covers just over 48 miles in the 4 hours in what can only be described as perfect sailing conditions.In addition to the clear night and broad reaching conditions the breeze warms the night air.And the moon makes an appearance in the last hours of our watch and lights up the waves and illuminates our path. We go third past the sprint gate and gain a little with Unicef and Qingdao having to bear away to the mark.

I hand the wheel to Ollie at watch change continue along in 3rd place. Qingdao do something extraordinary and round up and are suddenly 3 miles behind. At the last mark we come up on the breeze still with the kite up and head for the finish. But we know the breeze will die ,we can now see Halong only a few miles away doing only 2 knots. And the wind dies to almost nothing.Unicef bear away and we move to stay between them and the mark. The next couple of hours are frustrating, yet there was at one point it looked like we might slip past the two yachts ahead.Finally the breeze fills in a little ,Halong get it first then Punta then us and we finish in third.

We then had to wait till 11 am to berth and of course now are stuck here in the marina with Luzon island under lockdown. Who knows what next in the Clipper magical mystery tour skirting the corona virus.

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