Picture a slight blue sea, clear blue skies decorated with white fluffy clouds, a steady 12 knot breeze and glorious sunshine. Champagne sailing, though sadly no Champagne! These pretty much describe the conditions we have enjoyed over the course of our first week in the South China Sea since leaving Singapore. It has been glorious. Not in the history of Edinburgh’s 5 months at sea have we enjoyed such fair and consistent conditions nor seen the yankee 1 hoisted for so long! Just fabulous white sails sailing.
To add to the sunshine and smiles we have had the added excitement of California on the horizon and what has become a gruelling match race. We have so far reeled them in by day only to loose some ground by night, however as determined a crew as we are, we have every intention of matching our daily progress by night and closing the gap completely.
Having a visual goal on the horizon in the form of another Clipper yacht does wonders for moral onboard. Thus far we have not had the company of a fellow racing yacht for so long, but we are enjoying the company and the competition. Everyone has seemingly loved rising to the challenge of focusing even harder on the newly named concentration station, (formerly known as the helm) and like sponges absorbing the intricacies of sail trim to try and eek out every tenth of a knot of boat speed.
The last few nights have been colourful. The horizon in all directions has been lit by a multitude of navigation lights. At times somewhat surrounded, we have kept a beedy eye on the numerous cargo ships passing us by and enjoyed the odd dial up from inquisitive captains looking for a chat and wondering what on earth we are doing out here!
With the bulk of the obstacles in the form of oil fields and Indonesian Islands behind us our course takes us north up the Vietnamese coast towards the gate south of Taiwan. So far the wind has favoured our choice and we can only hope our projected calculations on the forecast come true and we continue to enjoy favourable winds. With the fleet currently divided, it will be an exciting forthcoming few days as the gate will draw us all once again together and we will see whose chosen course has paid off.