Adrien's Birthday aboard Imerys

All is going well aboard Imerys and we are now out of the St Lawrence River and charging towards our next mark - the island of St Pierre, off the south  coast of Newfoundland and some 250 miles away.  As I write this, Milan is at the helm and has just seen a whale surface just 20m in front of the boat. A little too close for comfort!

I have to say it is a good feeling to be heading  East and escaping the clutches of the river. It  made for some very challenging and rewarding  sailing but never gave us a moments peace - the  wind was always changing and we were almost always having to either change sails, tack, or gybe, which makes rest very difficult.

With a low crew number of three, the minimum for this race, we were fairly  exhausted come last night and have been sleeping  quite a bit today, and are now feeling more relaxed. Yesterday  afternoon we must have made something like 30 gybes  to stay far inshore to play the accelerated breeze.  This takes its toll and now there is time to  actually get some consistent cups of tea in, and get enough food down!

We are pretty happy with the boat and our performance so far. Our first objective for this race was to escape the  St Laurence River in the lead pack, to ensure we  could have a good chance of being the first into  the Atlantic systems where often the rich get  richer.  Yesterday evening we rounded the Gaspe buoy in 1st place before being overtaken this morning by the slick  Spanish on Tales II. We tussled with them most of yesterday and made big gains on the rest of  the fleet. Frustratingly however we hit a brick wall  of very light wind after Gaspe. We could only watch  as the rest of the lead pack sailed right up to the  back of us after all that hard work. But that is the unpredictable nature of sailing and you have to accept the winds and play them to your advantage as much as possible.

Today I found out from a sat email that it is  Adrien's birthday today, which he kept very quiet!  So we just had a celebratory lunch were we prepared  him a top-chef French lunch platter consisting of a  fine assortment of cheeses including chevre noir,  reblechon and camembert. Note this is  unprecedentedly posh food for offshore sailing!  Somehow a water melon also made it onboard so this  was a good excuse to get rid of such a payload  which never should have been allowed near the boat!

Tomorrow the wind will be picking up to 20-25 knots  from the south which should make for a quick  passage to St Pierre, so we are looking forward to hopefully taking advantage of this to fight our way back to the lead."

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