December 2019

Ahoy there Hehir’s,I am currently emailing you from 19°02’.910N 032°38’.006WWe started the race 2nd over the line but as we didn’t put the kite up due to lack of experience we were soon drifting back in the fleet 😞However since then we have fought our way back up the fleet to apparently 4th which isn’t too shabby!!We are on day 9 sailing west after a painful trip south from Las Palmas through the acceleration zone to the Verdes where there were wind holes after wind holes! Now the trades have filled in and there is a steady 15-20 knots of breeze! I am becoming quite a handy bowman so I’m told 😁There are a number of competitions going on within the boat including the watch which travels the furthest in one stint - mine currently winning with 32miles in 4 hours. Another one being top speed which surprisingly enough I

Day Eight, the beginning of our second week at sea.The day got off to a strong start with a tasty lunch followed by freshly made brownies (the packets of brownie mix have been carried some 5000nm since leaving the UK just for this purpose!).After this treat we swapped spinnaker and halyard (to avoid wearing either one out too much) and continued to press on westward. After a short period of light and shifty breeze the wind filled in to a solid 12 to 15 knots from the North East giving us great speed. This has held for longer than anticipated meaning we have made more ground than expected which is always a good start to another week at sea!Unfortunately these high speeds proved too much for our fishing ventures; we had a large fish on the line but it was impossible to reel in (and hard to slow down with

Day seven has been consistent sailing. The past 24 hours have been spent on the same course making great progress West through fairly light breeze.Of course there is always some entertainment to break up the day! One more fish caught but released as it was too small, Two Tuna nearly landed but got off the hook at the last minute and an armada of flying fish attacked the boat and crew in the dead of night! No one was seriously injured, just ended up a bit fishy. The morning has been spent finding all the flying fish that escaped notice last night and clearing them off of the deck. It's amazing to watch them gliding out of the water but once they are on the boat and you notice the smell they lose a lot of their charm!After clearing up the carnage from the battle the crew have settled back

Day six brought steadier conditions and more fishing success to the Jua Kali crew!We have been headed WSW now for almost 24 hours, using what has built into a fairly steady 10-15 knots of wind to power us along under spinnaker all day and night. A sliver of moon was visible for a couple of hours just after sunset but it swiftly set as well leading to a mostly moonless and clear night again, interspersed by a few clouds (some of which looked angrier than others so we avoided them).We caught our third Mahi Mahi around lunch time which we promptly got marinating and ate as ceviche, only to catch another (larger) one as soon as we put the lines back in the water after! This one we actually cooked and had baked for dinner later. We are now at a total of 4 fish caught and eaten which has made

Six days in and (now we've finally found the iPad) time for an update from Team Rocket Dog II (track us on https://share.garmin.com/6FA5P).It has been a week of firsts: 360-degree sunsets, flying a spinnaker, reefing a mainsail in the dark in winds gusting 30+knots, showering once (and only once) and trying to keep track of socks in a 40x10' space with 10 other people and ten kilos of oranges - no chance of scurvy on this boat.Sunday we started out well, through the acceleration zone and south to try and miss the dreaded wind holes across this part of the Atlantic. Made good progress, split into watch teams and by Monday were in steady wind of 10-18 knots. Dolphins, shooting stars, pilot whales and flying fish all in the first 24hrs

7 days at sea and love every minute. We were treated with a pancake breakfast this morning, a perfect start to our Sunday and celebrating a week at sea. The crew are gaining lots of experience as the race progress which will come in very handy as we chase down the competition to the finishing line. Not really a novice crew any longer. James (Foster) received an surprise visit from Fiona the flying fish much to the delight of the rest of the crew. You had to be on board to appreciate this one, hilarious. We adjusted our clocks on board by an hour today, one extra hour of rest for port watch. The clocks are turned back by an hour every couple of days, nice and gentle. No showers for 7 days! Say no more

Blog from James Foster today. Our progress is bit slow at the moment. Firstly to my lovely mother, yes I am being careful, stop worrying!!We are now nearly a week into the race and things have fallen into a vague routine. You’d think all the hours we spend on deck would get monotonous, but every day brings its own set of little things to enjoy, be it Harry directing people around the boat like a chessboard to try and squeeze an extra percentage of speed, or Simon’s electronic misadventures. If anyone is interested, there is a drone somewhere on the bottom of the ocean around two hundred miles off the coast of west Africa. Our skipper Gareth has been the perfect leader for our crew. He has known exactly when to remind us to sharpen our focus on keeping the boat going fast, when to radiate confidence in our progress, and

Today James Harrison is the man behind the blog. Today is Day 6 of racing. The previous days now seem blurred, defined not by sunrises and sunsets, but by shifts on and off. The day breaks down into multiple shifts 6 hours long, or 4 hours at night, shared between 2 watches. The unpleasant 2am alarms and 10am bed times are made bearable by the incredible scenery. Though the sights rarely change, it’s hard to be bored of a sky illuminated by only starlight, and sunrises over an empty ocean.We’ve befriended various dolphins along the way, who I like to think are guiding us home. Their appearance is usually the highlight of any watch. I initially was worried about the sleeping situation: small, shared bunks hardly appeal, but the levels of fatigue endured make any spot seem like the softest mattress. I have found the logbook to make an unexpectedly