Bouwe Bekking takes you onboard Telefonica Blue as they grind
their way back to the front.

This is the sailing most readers like, rough, tough, bashing upwind.
This is the first test in these conditions against the other boats,
and both our Telefónica boats seem to go well. We are gaining
against the front boats, but more likely because we were two degrees
further east, but we have made big gains against the guys behind us,
who have been sailing in the same water.

The Russians are really struggling in these conditions, with a bulb
weighing over 1,000 kg less than ours. It is evident they like the running
better. Even that it might look tougher to go upwind from the outside,
the guys are less tired than on a run. We just have to work the traveler
and sometimes the mainsheet, and even that it is noisy downstairs, it
is not as stressed sailing compared to going downwind.

There are 5 guys onboard who never sailed across the Equator, but decided
to keep the whole Neptune thing away. We cannot afford to lose any more
miles. The other boat will have plenty of media coverage and it will
become boring anyway for the public, since we where only the 5th boat
to cross the Equator. I think a way better idea is to throw a party
in Cape Town, for the entire team, so that they all can help ‘torture’
our guys. Any suggestions for treatment are more than welcome…

What will the next week bring: from tight reaching to broader angles,
and then finally downwind again, but it looks like to be going again
a longer trip than expected, as we have to sail a lot of extra miles
around the high pressure. Hoping for another park-up, even better would
be if we just would be able to reel them in on boatspeed.