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5.30am wake up call for the 6am shift. Is this never going to end? I seem to always be getting up. The boat was so far over on its side that I spent about twenty minutes trying to get out of my bunk. The side of the boat was almost the bottom in my little space. I could just about hook my feet over the side of the bunk before a wave struck and lifted me up from the bunk and deposited me in a heap well and truly back in again. After about twenty minutes of trying unsuccessfully I began to wonder if anyone would notice I was missing. I just needed a good yank to get out. How embarrassing. Not even fit enough to manage to get out of the bunk in “moderate” seas! I did eventually manage on my own – and was thankful that I still had my boots on, because that would have been a whole new challenge! I made it up on the deck in one piece, not looking forward to this next shift at all. I am now getting quite nifty at putting my jacket and life jacket on – which doesn’t seem such a big deal thinking about it, but it is like trying to put one bit of a zip in the other when bouncing up and down on a trampoline. We reached Beachy Head, Eastbourne, and turned round and headed back. We had to do “stuff” on deck – which involved me getting from one end of the boat to the other with various bits of rope. Nothing ladylike at all in the way I made it on my hands and knees. Rather that than me ending up as the new “Bob”. My job now involved grinding, and I really could not do it justice. Couldn’t move it at one point – so had to relinquish the position. I just hope my Skipper for the Race notices that I am one useless weakling and doesn’t have too many expectations on that score. Andrew got hit in the eye with the vang (still not really sure what that does!) and has a real shiner coming.

Then it got calmer, and everything seemed to take on another perspective. How different it can be from one minute to another. I am “mother” today, so went down and made tea and toast. I know my capabilities! And I have managed to appease anyone that was losing patience with me during the last few days with my Nanaimo Bars – they went down in just the way I had intended. An army marches on its stomach!! Have I said that before?

Didn’t actually get to go back to bed today – after the training session at 12pm Daniel decided that we all deserved to have a night off, and we headed for Cowes on the Isle of Wight for a shower and the pub. We docked at around 6pm in very calm waters. Thinking that we were going nowhere except for the boat this week, I had left all my shower stuff in the boot of my car in Gosport. Diane had shampoo, but neither of us had a towel. We both had face cloths – so the answer to the question “Can you dry your hair and body with only a face cloth?” is yes. My hat had not come off my head since we had got on the boat, so I could not pass up the opportunity. And were there hairdryers in the shower block? No. There were pictures of hair dryers on the wall with “Coming Soon” written over the top. Wet hair it is then!

The Anchor Pub was just up the road (no Campari – I could really have done with one. Will have to phone ahead next time!) and they also did food. On a Wednesday night it was two burgers for £12, so for the princely sum of £6 each I had a jalapeno pepper burger with homemade coleslaw and fries. Excellent, washed down with a couple of Pimms. Back to the boat for 9pm – and everyone fell into their bunks asleep. This isn’t the party bus then!! (Not that I am complaining – but it is unusual to have anyone else sleep as much as me.) Just under four days at sea and we are all exhausted – The Rio leg is just over 30 days long, how are we going to cope??

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