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Ian Hoddle’s Figaro II Rare, sailed with just two crew, is the smallest yacht in the race and Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, is a fully crewed and heavy displacement yacht. The two yachts are poles apart in terms design and crew but both are enjoying a tremendous battle in IRC Two. In the fast downwind conditions, Rare is lightweight and able to plane but with the upwind conditions, Scarlet Logic‘s displacement will come to the fore.
“The adrenaline has subsided and life on board is now routine,” commented Ian Hoddle by satellite phone. “When we rounded Lowerstoft on day two our focus was on catching Scarlet Logic who had a 7 mile lead during the first night. With a rhumb line reach, we reeled them in as we navigated through the banks off Yarmouth. It seemed to take forever to finally pass them within a few hundred metres and then our courses diverged, as we went further inshore.
In the late afternoon the front came through with a bad squall. We had timed to perfection the change from Jib Top to J4, so the effects of the 35 knot blast were contained. A second front passed through and left us with 25 knots S/W, so at around 19.00 we finally got some colour in the sky with the pink A4 hoisted. A fantastic blast doing 16+ knots at times. By 22.30 the sky had darkened again, so we dropped the A4, just in time for 30+ knots with gusts. A great day for calling the sail changes!
Yesterday we continued to make great progress up the Eastern coast of the UK. 25 knots S/W clocked left and around lunchtime we found the low pressure system forecast. Big uncomfortable sea state with 30 knots building to nearly 40 made a tough afternoon. With two reefs in the main, we battled some really big breaking waves. With the wind clocking West and now N/W, we are in upwind mode trying to hold the rhumb line to the Shetlands. Scarlet Logic has returned back in AIS range and has reeled us back in!
Both the boat and ourselves are very damp. Off watch is spent cat-napping on spinnaker bags on the cabin floor – it’s like sleeping in a washing machine….Looks like this is going to be the norm for a while now: Muckle Flugga, 196 miles to go.”