On the back of the waves

Prepared for the storm, prepared for the home straight. Before the wind gets too strong, that is over 35 knots or so, we've stowed the downwind sails in the gangway. Between here and Yokohama we'll no longer be able to make use of them as there will be too much wind and too big a sea. Rather than leave them on deck – which is always a source for potential worries even when they're firmly attached to the platform, better to place them where they will be the most effective, that is down below to lower the boat's centre of gravity as much as possible. On port tack, at the foot of the bunks, shifted as far astern as possible, we now find the small gennaker and the genoa staysail. Léo Lucet awoke a tad annoyed earlier. Getting out of bed wasn't so much of an issue but rather his beautiful Gore-Tex shoes for cyclists, which had slid underneath the sails. What rotten luck! On starboard tack, it's the large gennaker which has taken up the little space allocated for human life.

1300 UT. A dark night, even darker than usual, though it was hard to imagine that was possible! The only shards of light in all this darkness, the odd glimmer of plankton on the crest of the waves. There aren't phosphorescent cascades sadly, but it's not far off. The seas are unquestionably big, and daylight will prove that to us. The dials are displaying the expected figures: 43/ 45 knots, with peaks of 55/58. Under 3 reefs and ORC, we're hurtling along with ease at between 20 and 25 knots. We're naturally going fast and certainly aren't in a position where we're ‘searching for speed', quite the contrary in fact. It would serve no purpose whatsoever to position ourselves on the edge of the waves at 30/35 knots. The impact would be violent. We'd risk burying the bows into the waves too, which is something we're looking to avoid. The finish isn't far off, and there's just one thing required now: withstand this bad weather, and we'll be dropped as delicately as a flower at the foot of the Japanese coast.

Until tomorrow

Nicolas Raynaud

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