The end of our final stopover before this whole challenging, exciting adventure drawers to a close.
Den Helder was a fabulous, relaxing stopover. We were welcomed with open arms by the Dutch people and made to feel at home for this last six days.
Thank you to all involved at both the City and the marina.
The Parade of Sail was a very official affair with the Royal Netherlands Navy helping the proceedings with a military tug as the pin end of the start line, a Naval cruiser as the committee boat and one of the oldest yachts in the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Urania, an 80ft sail training vessel that led us in our Parade of Sail.
The race start itself was a downwind start with spinnakers, although it did take us a while to hoist our kite, we eventually got it up and remained with the fleet as we slowly made our way against the tide out into the North Sea.
As the tide was quite strong and the wind not so much, we found shelter on a sandbank which saw the fleet short tacking to remain out of the main current of the tide, this saw Mission Performance make some impressive gains on the fleet and then we headed off along the coast with IchorCoal and Qingdao.
As we tacked out from the coast to make the first turning mark we had made some good ground on some of the fleet. However, this all fell away when we were unable to get the boat going on the port tack and lost out to the whole fleet.
So as I type this we are sitting in last position doing everything we can to make some ground on the fleet. We will see how that goes in the morning. The wind tonight is expected to increase slightly until tomorrow afternoon when there seems like there will be little or no wind at all. This is going to be a long race!
Mission Performance Warriors OFN.