Phil Sharp's Blog - Day 6 of the TransatQSM

"I have just come off the helm after probably some  of the most exhilarating sailing you could ever ask  for. Conditions are downwind, 25 kts wind,  fractional spinnaker, and we are blasting down  waves average of 17kts. An offshore sailors dream!  (and an inshore sailors nightmare!). I have to say  I was grinning ear to ear for a bit. This is the  sailing we have been waiting for all this time.   Actually outside, if it wasn't for the temperature,  you could fool yourself that you were in the  tradewinds with the blue sky and deep blue ocean.  It's only when you get a wave pummeling you in the  face every so often, with a water temperature of 7  deg, that you realise you are not actually going to  see any flying fish. However we did see a whale a  few hours ago, quite far from the boat, making an enourmous splash.

"We are currently in 4th place, already 150 miles East of Newfoundland, but are now honing in on the leaders. We made 2 sail changes recently to different spinnakers, losing some time, but now we think we have the ideal weapon for these conditions. Hopefully by the time you get this we'll be higher up the board!

"Over the next 24 hours we will be crossing "Iceberg Alley' where the Labrador Current flows  south with the breaking ice to the east of  Newfoundland before spitting this out into the  Atlantic. As a result the race organisers imposed  an ice exclusion zone for the race, so we can't  sail further north than 47°N for the first 300  miles. However, the race organisers have also just  informed us that there are a few bergs now floating  around south of this, to the East of us, right on  our course! So we'll be vigilant in looking out for  these on the radar at night. I prefer to see them in the day.. shimmering away clearly.

"Milan is currently on the helm doing a great job and has just sent the boat careering down a wave at over 20 kts as I am trying to write this.  Adrien is asleep at the moment after very kindly giving me a lie in of 4 hours, which was amazing I have to say. When I got up he then made porridge for us but gave me an obscene amount of sugar to try and fully wake me up. I guess I must have looked pretty rough and he didn't want me falling asleep at the helm!"

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