The bad weather has started coming in and the waves are big! We are now up to about 30 knots of breeze as the sailors would say. Life down below really isn’t as bad as I expected it to be (famous last words). I mean I can’t say going to the heads is pleasant, things are flying around the galley all the time, today it was oranges, a bowl, a kettle and an unfortunately full ration pack (when will people learn about gravity?!) and being in bed would be wonderful if my head didn’t get stuck in my cubby hole occasionally. Not complaining too much about that one though, at least I am not in the Spider-Man bunk! Andy keeps telling us it will keep building, he’s become very good at managing expectations now, gone are the days of leg 1 when he would tell me it would all be over in a few days only for it to go on for a week!

We have had to put a few reefs in the main sail to keep the boat under control and have also done some headsail changes. Let me talk you through this one…
this is when we change the sail right at the front of the boat (we change it depending on the wind) while we have the existing sail still up. It is as tricky as it sounds… imagine pulling down a marquee, you and 3 friends need to pull this from a sitting position while on a bouncy castle being bounced around vigorously with someone throwing buckets of water at you. Now you need to tie this marquee down and make sure it doesn’t go over board. You then need to pull up another marquee from the sail locker and get this attached ready to be hoisted. You are still on a bouncy castle and this second marquee is very heavy and quite wet. You have to heave it along the deck and get the metal hanks (kills your beautifully manicured hands in the cold and wet) attached to the metal pole so that you can then hoist it up. And this usually happens in the first hour of your 6 hour watch or just as you are about to go off to bed, so you either start or end the watch soaked! All in a days sailing…

One other thing I need to discuss is boredom. There is a famous saying circulating around our boat – sailing is 95% boredom, 5% terror. Now I don’t think it’s quite that bad, but when it is 3am and you are wrapped in your dry suit, you can’t talk to anyone because you can’t hear each other, you can’t sleep because it is so uncomfortable, you are very much left to your own entertainment devices. So far I have gone through my times tables, tried to remember my school hymn, tried to sing all the songs on Robbie Williams’ first album, gone through everyone’s phone numbers off by heart. I really am clutching at straws. Any ideas what I can do next? It’s pitch black, wet, bouncing around, so no pen, paper, phone etc. Just things I can do in my head. Help?!

We are speeding our way to Cape Town and I hope that there is only a week to go! Until then, I am off to the joys of my ocean sleeping bag, it really is life’s biggest luxury at the moment!

By Pip @41 Degrees South