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Back to the usual 7.15am breakfast today. My sleep was disturbed again by my hands causing me pain – I think this is more than just sleeping on them the wrong way. The last day on the great ocean waves – or at least the English Channel. This afternoon, we would find out if we passed or failed. Not sure which way that is going to go! I seem to have worn only the first two inches of clothes that were in my dry bag in my rucksack. Too much trouble to delve down any deeper!

We had a leisurely up and down of the sails, and aimed to get back into Gosport for around lunchtime. A beautiful sunny day, we sat and ate our pasta in Gosport Marina with the sun beating down on our backs. After lunch, we had to deep clean the boat ready for the next crew. This happens after every stop – be it at the end of the course, or the end of the leg.

Everything that is not nailed down comes out from within and is cleaned, all the bilges are mopped out, the walls anti-bac’d, everything in the kitchen re- washed, the floor taken out and scrubbed, etc etc.

Whilst all this is going on, we are getting our debriefing, one by one. My turn – and I have to climb up the side of another one of the clipper boats moored alongside. The final test, I think, to make me realise how useless I am. But no – I have passed! Can’t quite understand that, as I feel I have been more of a liability than an asset. As Paul had said at some point before I went – they need a bit of everything, and you could be the anchor! They don’t need that though – as I found out, but probably something very similar.

I am not speedy at hauling up sails, running across the decks or any of those bits. But, I do feel that my toast came up trumps! An army marches on its stomach.

My hands are now twice the size they should be, completely useless at gripping anything, and aching like mad. I have gripped and hauled too much in too short a time. The ligaments have been stretched to their limits. My body is bruised and sore, and my muscles are having a little scream when I pull them the wrong way. I do feel that a new fitness regime will be in order when I get home! But perhaps a short recovery period will be in order first!

My thoughts on this week. I have drunk only instant coffee – unheard of! If it isn’t proper coffee I don’t have it. Seemed to taste OK by the end of the week! I have eaten and drunk out of plastic dinnerware – wouldn’t do that at home, would rather go without. Have had gravy made out of granules – and it tasted OK! Have worn clothes not only once more than once, but several times more than once. Wouldn’t do that at home. Have gone days without having a shower – would be horrified at home. Having no mirrors on the boat, I have no idea what my hair looked like. Probably a good thing. I have slept in my clothes. And then not changed them the next day. It may seem to some that these things are a normal way of life – but for me they are completely alien. But I am still here, and am still alive.

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