I retract any previous statements I might have made that life down below on Leg 2 is actually not too bad! Impressively I feel that I have got used to the angle and fine tuned certain basic things like moving down to a fine art, however I wasn’t prepared for the wet. Where are the doldrums when you need them?! The condensation building up inside this boat is worse than a rainforest, you get soaked every time the boat bumps. Especially when you are in your bunk and the torrent always releases directly over your head! Coming off watch soaked and putting your kit in damp lockers means that nothing ever dries either. But hey ho, this is racing life! And I have to say, I am rather enjoying it.

I had my first experience of 50 knot winds last night, it was a little hairy to say the least. It was about 3am and the wind started picking up more than usual so we woke Andy because we thought we needed to put another reef in the sail. He was on deck in double quick time and it was action stations. Putting a reef in means making the main sail smaller to try and keep the boat under control. So off we started with the evolution. What they don’t prepare you for in training is the weather! With every wave we were soaked. Our foulies are great at keeping you dry if you can just hibernate inside them, head down, hood up, but when you need to listen to instructions you have to stick your head out (think of a tortoise) and get wet (again)! Andy then decided that we needed to get the stay sail down as the boat was still overpowered. So we had to drop a sail in this weather!! We managed it and it didn’t take too long either. A resounding feature of this whole episode was Andy shouting at the top of his voice “Boys and girls, this is what you paid for”! Too right!! We all came off watch a bit battered but definitely with a sense of achievement. As Jon Milne said – we did it! We now know we can manage big winds like that! I wouldn’t want to do it everyday, but it was very exciting! And a tiny little bit scary as well….

Today sees a rest from the sailing and instead I am in the galley. This would be good but everything is still soaked, so I will be wearing my foulies in the galley as well as on deck, due to the rainforest! I am going to attempt to make some bread – we are running out of stuff I bought in Punta so needs must…this is going to be amusing! I am currently lying in my bunk listening to a shout of “wave” every few minutes and then an almighty crash as a wave sweeps across the deck and yet another bucket of water falls on my head! I’m glad I’m not up there at the moment, but I will be tomorrow!

I have resorted to doing mad things on this boat – I have worked out that an excellent eye mask is my hat, so I sleep in my bunk with my hat pulled down over my face. I have heard people snigger as they walk past my bunk – the least private one in the whole boat. I also decided to try a little experiment. I put my wet gloves in my sleeping bag the other day to see if I could dry them. It wasn’t that successful. I am going to try today with a jacket. Desperate times! I am also experimenting with the condiments – I had a honey and marmite sandwich this morning, it was not good. Will try jam and marmite tomorrow.

Crew morale is still good, there have been a few illnesses so we are a few hands down which is hard as we are quite light handed anyway, but we are managing! Despite it being a short leg, it still feels like it is a long race, I think it is due to the need to adapt to the different weather conditions! And living with the damp seeping into your bones and staying there…

Toodle pip xxx