LN899 11/07/2016 – We woke up in tall sea, this was a big test for new stomachs (including mine) which some of us passed… Powering south along the coastline, we could briefly see behind us the Danish square-rigger we were docked alongside in Antwerp, battling the relentless waves like ourselves down towards Dunkirk. With the race’s start-line outside Torbay we still have most of the England’s south coast to cross before it gets competitive, and there are plenty of faces on board that are silently expressing a hope that the force 6-7 gales will ease off before arrival on Wednesday.

At around 11am with Mislav, Sarah, Pardy, Donal, and myself on watch, we were treated to one of the most awesome displays of skill and engineering you could ever witness. In the distance I caught sight of a Belgian coastguard’s helicopter slowly approaching us. They signalled down to our decks and it soon became apparent that they were attempting to place two of the their air crew onto the ship as part of a random training exercise.

Watching our permanent crew and theirs work together in the conditions was truly amazing and I have to say the two Belgians taking the zip-line down and being hoisted back up from our vessel were braver than me! We reached the end of daylight having taken a shortcut through some lanes at the Dover straights and made up ground with the Russian Navy ship ‘Mir’ running at a steadier 5-6 knots as we caught a better side of the wind.

Ross Maidment Forward Port Watch