SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 1960, 1109. Enjoying a whisky and lime after strenuous start. It is something to have to dodge launches and one's rivals as well as get across the starting line singlehanded. It takes me longer to set sail, and the small boats got away ahead of me. I saluted them all.
SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 1630. Written over a cup of tea in a bag which you hang in the cup and pour water on. Everything that isn't wet is damp and clammy. If anyone is short of exercise, I can recommend furling a 385-square-foot Dacron mainsail in a gale. Anyway, I feel better. Seasickness stopped. At last the boat is sailing along fairly satisfactorily, even if damned slowly, with trysail and No. 3 jib. I propose keeping on this course, estimated at 225�, with the storm rig set, until this little storm blows itself out.
MONDAY, JUNE 13, 0220. Hell of a night on deck. Force 8 or 9 gale. Driving rain. Lumpy seas bashing the hull.... 0830. About 5 this morning I thought I ought to crack on more sail. But as I started to do so there came the father and the mother of all squalls—wang! bonck! Spluuuuuunchch! as the bow dropped into a trough. What a lovely lullaby, seas crashing against the hull. Now it is much quieter, but I would have been badly placed if I had had normal canvas set.
TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1310. So far, this is the slowest race I can remember. At 11:30 this morning, after three days, I was only 186 miles southwest of Plymouth. I shall not be there till autumn at this rate.
THURSDAY, JUNE 16, midnight. It's blowing hard, and I could see I was losing a lot of speed by not carrying more sail. I set to work at once, and though I consider I know the drill fairly well, it took me an hour and three-quarters to do it, chiefly to change the No. 3 jib for the genoa. Then as I took the proper strain on the genoa, an extraordinary phenomenon occurred. The yacht went quiet and was off. I felt she smiled to herself and said, "This is what I have been waiting for." She has a sort of quivering, undulating movement, as if she were shaking her powerful haunches in a wild, silent gallop. No fuss, no disturbed wake, no noise, but the motion makes it hard to stand up.
SUNDAY, JUNE 26. Yesterday, at 10:45 in the morning, I went on deck, having noticed by the compass in the cabin that the course was erratic. I found Miranda's clamp was slipping. I started at once to take it apart and cure the defect. And there began an adventure such as I have seldom had at sea.
As soon as my back was turned to the tiller, the boat ran off, one way or the other, and pistol-like reports from the sail brought me back urgently. I found I could not leave the tiller at all. We were running with two jibs, the big genoa and a slightly smaller one, poled out wing and wing, like twin spinnakers, and going at a great pace, but the following seas would pick up the stern and slue it to one side or the other. In a few moments the boat would be coming round hard to the wind with one jib aback, and big trouble ahead if it was not checked at once. I wondered what to do. Should I carry on at the helm a few hours to take advantage of the eight knots that we were making in the right direction? Or should I shorten sail?
Fortunately, I got very sleepy and could hardly keep my eyes open, so I decided to down the rig. I say fortunately because the wind was increasing very fast. I realized it quickly enough when I started hauling down the big genoa. The bellied-out sail flapped madly. The noise was terrific. The boat began sluing wildly to come upwind with the genoa's big flapping belly behind the other sail. I rushed back, corrected the course and rushed back again. I managed to gather some of it and pass a sail tie around it.