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Planetary encounter

The first full day of the newly-started race proved to be an eventful one.
In the early hours, the on-watch Mongols had an alarming encounter with a
bright light appearing on the horizon with a bearing apparently drawing
straight towards the boat. After a nail-biting period spent failing to get
the binoculars to focus on the strange object drawing nearer, the Skipper
finally informed the watch that in fact Jupiter had risen, and they'd been
having kittens over the appearance of a planet in the sky.

As the sun rose, with low winds, the crew put up as much canvas as they
could to harness everything the wind could give us. Today we were
celebrating the birthday of the loud on deck, louder in his bunk, ever
snoring Angus Elliman. None of us have birthdays during the trip, but the
Afterguard have cleverly compressed the year by 9 times from our date of
departure in order that everybody gets to have theirs celebrated. Today was
Angus'. His watch all clubbed together to buy him a haircut but alas he was
uninterested. So instead Mother watch (the Mayans) wrote him a 3 sentence
book about a whale called Angus who had a haircut. It was critically
acclaimed.

Mother watch kept themselves busy, taking boat cleaning and maintenance to a
whole new level - literally. For the first time today, mother watch went
Bilge Diving. Harry Normanton bravely nominated himself as tribute. Mother
picked him up, turned him upside down and dangled him by his ankles into the
bilges below. Armed with a dustpan and brush and a head torch, our hero
descended as a crew member and returned as a god. Bilge Boy was born.

As the day went on the wind progressively picked up. We hit our greatest
heel so far of 25 degrees and screamed along at a dizzy 8.5 kts and often
reaching above 10 kts in gusts.

During the quieter times, Mother Watch treated themselves to an aft-deck
shower with the help of the Mongols, the second of the trip so far. This one
was unique in the new addition of the 'George Hopkins Power Button'. In an
attempt to supplement the slow drip of the sea water shower, a push of the
button will cause the Mongols' watch officer to empty a fire-bucket of water
onto the shower's occupant. The experience was simultaneously shocking and
effective.

The Mongols were jealous of such a service and intended to do the same after
dinner. Unfortunately they got their wish a little earlier than anticipated,
as sail changes on the bow gave the entire watch a full sea water wash down.
Unfortunately they'd all neglected to take their shower gel with them.

In race progress news, we finally left Newfoundland behind us this afternoon
and set out into the real Atlantic, over a Grand Banks plagued by
intermittent fog. Our speedy progress also had us overtake race competitor
Blue Clipper. After ditching some alarmingly explosive tins of chicken
curry, the crew ended the day with corned beef hash, ratatouille and
cheesecake.

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