JUNE 13th – and less than 200 miles remaining on the Azores - Portugal leg of the ARC Europe Rally which includes rounding Cape St Vincent en route to Lagos. Squalls, mopping up and oil tankers are the order of the day in this latest report from Neil, Curt and Shea on board Supertaff.

All fine here but pretty exhausted after a couple of days of bad weather. We are now less than 200 miles from Lagos so we’re starting to think about arrival.

The weather is showing a slow improvement and we just had a squall and rain but you can tell some of the fight has gone out of them now. Spent some of the day mopping out the bilges in the heads compartment again today and have managed to get the place into some sort of order.

Had to use some towels and then towed them behind the boat for half an hour to freshen them up and now it feels and smells quite fresh in there!

The angle of heel and motion of the past few days has been a challenge to get water ingress to drain back into the main bilges, so lots of mopping and sluicing has been necessary. The perks of the job I call it!

Winds are now down to around 20 knots outside the squalls and I expect this to continue falling and hopefully the wind will shift to the Northwest as North-northeast has been the general rule. At first light I hope we can set some more sail as we are already starting to feel a bit slow with our current configuration.

Looking forward to Lagos

We still have not received any update on the position of other boats but hopefully everyone is doing fine. We have made some great sailing friends on the other boats and many missed the very bad weather in the Atlantic leg to Horta – so I am sure the last few days has been a challenge for some of the crews.

No doubt the party in Lagos will reflect this and looking forward to seeing everyone and hearing everyone's stories of the past few days. We heard that one of Curt's friend’s boats was abandoned in southern Biscay and seven of them were lifted off a few days ago; but we have no more details until Curt speaks to them when we get in.

We have all started to get back into normal sea mode this afternoon: Curt cooked up great beef and vegetable dish this evening and Shea is back to frantically writing her journal. Let's hope the move back to normal conditions continues.

Extra vigilance as sea traffic increases

Shipping has increased and we had three large vessels pass by this evening. A 280 metre VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier), then a smaller 170 metre bulk cargo ship – but they were dwarfed by a 343 metre container ship. Another great reason for AIS as all three kindly altered course for Supertaff and passed at least two miles from our position.

No doubt traffic will continue to increase and we have four-lane TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) to negotiate as we close in on Cape St Vincent tomorrow night. Night-time is ideal as lights make shipping easier to see and the lights make orientation simpler to clarify. Only plan at present is to get in safely and give Curt and Shea a bit of downtime, as it has been a real mission for us all so far!

Nevertheless, morale remains very high and, as you can imagine, the jokes and banter continue relentlessly.