Mary writes:-

We got off the line well, but then really struggled with speed from the outset and around the ww mark we were on a tight reach with the jib and up against the heavier boys we struggled. We desperately tried to change gears adjusting the rig and the trim but to no avail. The Dutch guys and the Chinese boys sailed around us.


Then the wind did a big shift to the left making it a beat once more and in came with it a sandy storm covering everything in fine red dust and blocking out the whole fleet. Sailing blind we tacked into shore and found good pressure and then finding ourselves on the layline for the waypoint we tacked back to consolidate our position and we’re looking good having made big gains back on the fleet when we had a few close crosses from out of the sand storm! Unfortunately now, looking at the tracker if we had tacked back we would have continued into the pressure and been up with a shout of the lead but we continued as we were on the lay in pressure ,however this dropped right out and then with no wind and huge adverse swell we sat there bobbing around in a massive hole. Meanwhile on both sides of us the fleet had got pressure and we’re zooming past.
Eventually the pressure filtered down to us and quickly we hoisted our kite and then had a tight reach with the big spinnaker to the waypoint.
We had some great speed here and Annemeike was a great star trimming us expertly on the edge of wiping out all the way to the waypoint and then gybing and tight reaching on the other gybe to the finish.

The Oman girls did a great job constantly grinding the spinnaker in and out and trimming the mainsail very intuitively. We got some great pace and managed to overtake both of the boats in front of us and see us finish in 7th position.
Lots of lessons learnt this leg including rig adjustments and not to sail the shortest course but where you think the wind is going to come from!
Today we were due to have several inshore races but there is a big sandstorm and 30kts of wind blowing so we’re having so chill time, I’m still battling a nasty cold so bed for me but the others are off to an enormous mall to try and go indoor skiing! Crazy!!
The next leg to Abu Dhabi will be another short one and fairly easy with just a few restricted areas around ‘the palm’ and ‘the world’ to avoid and some good wind forecast means we need to get heavy and have a good breakfast!