Hello everyone from Pipsclip on the GREAT boat!

I have to say that we are not so great at the moment but are determined to stay positive! The strain of being at a 45 degree angle for the last 4 days and the prospect of another 5 is really starting to get to all of us. The sailing is one thing, the living is something completely different. Down below is really rough. Everything is an effort, getting from one side of the galley to another is like climbing to Everest base camp, I wish I had a sherpa to carry my foulies for me. Cleaning is near impossible so everything is a bit grubby, although we are really trying to maintain a level of hygiene. Cooking is impossible and everyone who has been doing galley duty has a permanent look of exasperation/there is no hope on their face. I think we are now beyond eating, it is a function which no-one wants to take part in. If only we could pop a pill.

Sleeping is useless. Being wedged in by your knees and your arms clinging onto a cubby is not comfortable in the slightest, and with grinding, crashing and banging going on around you, there is no peace. Being down below must be like being in a bomb shelter with the Blitz going on above. I tried to drink a coffee earlier and it ended up going down my top.

The next subject that I feel we have to discuss is using the heads. I think it’s time you all knew the truth…..

Going to the loo. Everyone does it but it is a taboo subject amongst most people, including me…before I got on this boat. Now I happily talk about my bowel movements on an hourly basis. In fact the girls on this boat have a bowel movement status meeting a couple of times a day. The reason for this is moral support. It is an AA meeting equivalent and we are all sponsors to each other. Using the heads on this boat is an absolute trauma for everyone. You may think I am over reacting here, but it is truly awful. The heads are not designed to work on a boat heeled over at 45 degrees. Fantastic really given the angle we are at and will be for a lot of the next year. You go to the loo and then have to hand pump like billio to get it down the hole. Sometimes it goes and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it explodes back at you as the pressure of the pump goes the wrong way. Just imagine, the red lights are on, you are heeled over, so much so that your entire bodyweight is pressed against one wall, you have managed to go to the loo and now you have to flush. You are leaning with your head against a hand rail pumping and pumping, you start profusely sweating as the prospect of a ‘code brown’ is staring you in the face. Now fortunately I have only had a little water overflow to contend with, others have had much worse. I will leave that one to your imagination. I did have an embarrassing wardrobe incident – I had to put my foot outside the heads door (curtain), to anchor myself, slipped and my shorts ended up round my ankles in the galley. Yes, the heads are right next to the galley so while these traumatic events are taking place you may well be accompanied by people having their breakfast. Fortunately we are all in this hell hole together – someone just came on deck fuming “I just spent 5 minutes having a doo doo and 25 minutes clearing it up. FFS”. To say this kind of indignity is getting us down is an understatement. I have to say that I am resorting to imodium from now on – only a week or so to go… should be ok!

Obviously the underlying drive behind all of this madness is the racing. At the moment though it really feels like the sailing is taking a back seat which is not how it should be. Once you have struggled your way onto deck, hungry, bad tempered, constipated and knakered, the prospect of a head sail change, reefs and trimming is a hard one. We have slipped a few places in the fleet and this is really frustrating us as well. You are only as strong as your weakest team member though, so we all have to work on this together and get each other through. One team, one dream!!!

On a more positive note, we had ice lollies yesterday and are still being visited by flying fish which always makes us laugh. Oh and I have discovered peanut butter and jam, it is delicious! Also, Punta and that g&t is coming into sight.

We WILL get through this! Come on the GREAT!!!

ToodlePip