We began the day in the Strait of Messina, having battled hard to catch the group of boats in front of us. The night was dark and the wind was not playing ball (we had every direction imaginable except for the forecasted one and had given up trying to guess what was coming next). We were keeping a close eye on our competitors and just ‘going with the flow’ but even the faintest of zephyrs required a flurry of sail changes.

Eventually, still under cover of darkness, we exited The Strait with the wind behind us. For the first time in two days Dorade could really stretch her legs, and we were able to fill every conceivable gap in our rigging with canvas. The final number of sails in the sky totaled six, and we were finally making good progress up the course and through the fleet. However, it didn’t last; the arrival of the sun signaled the exit of the wind once more. Stromboli, our next land mark, was on the horizon but with a boat speed of less than one knot made it feel impossibly far away. There was nothing to do but go for a swim, and bait the fishing line in the vague hope that we could have Sushi for lunch. As it turned out, we had lamb chops, which were enjoyed so much Matt Brooks commented: “This is the best thing we’ve ever had on the boat! Except for Pam’s cooking of course.”

While I’ve been writing, we have had a light Easterly breeze fill in and are sailing at about five knots toward the volcano. We are hoping it will put on a show for us tonight.

– Richard Mason

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