Tuesday 20th
Today I was Mother again – this time with Duncan  - who was in the galley bright and early before me, whisking up a storm... or more accurately, a jug of powdered milk. The normal breakfast routine trundled along – made slightly simpler by the fact that the choice was either porridge or muesli - we've run out of all other cereal options.  In fact we are now down to our final few 'day bags' of food!  We'd catered for the estimated journey duration that Clipper had given us but due to the light wind conditions we will be arriving 3 to 4 days later.  We had catered for an additional 5 days plus emergency rations and are now eating (literally) into those 5 spare days.

At 11 am today the race finished.  We didn't cross the original finish line though.  Yesterday Clipper took the decision to end the race early at an appointed time today.  The race positions would be decided from whatever place we stood in at that time. Having now had nearly 24 hours to get used to the fact, most people accept that the organisers have other commitments to fulfil.  However most of us are pretty disappointed not to be able to race to the final line and feel cheated out of our final few hours of trying to chase down Qingdao and gain an extra point. There has been much “chuntering” on board!
11am came and went.  I grabbed the video camera to get some reaction – all of which was pretty limp and some of which was still a bit angry. However by the time tea time came along – at the start of our 'everyone up watch' and we had managed to unearth a couple of bottles of champagne and a fruit cake given to us by the Lord Major of Hull, the mood improved significantly.  It's amazing what cake, a thimble full of bubbles and some sunshine can do for your spirits!  And at the end of the day we were still sailing well. The wind had picked up and ironically it's now looking like we are going to have some of the best sailing of the leg on the final (non-racing) trek into Rio!!!

We had our usual crew meeting (which we call our AA meeting) around 7pm where we all get to have our say on how the day has gone and how we feel about the race and life on board.  We all applauded Piers – our great Skipper for getting us all across an Ocean, safely and in one piece – and with great patience and humour to boot.  There had been a few misgivings about the way he was running the boat and his systems of watch-leaders during the course of the leg – but even the biggest critics had finally been won around and now appreciate the long-term benefits. Those people who had whinged and moaned their way across the Atlantic now had nothing but glowing words about their experience.  Only Paul stayed true to his “Mr Happy” form and squeezed out a final dour note!  In an shock-horror move I too had a little whinge (unheard of!!!) I had a bit of a pop at those in the crew that had said they hadn't felt that the race had delivered the challenge that they had anticipated.  These were the same people who would be the last to spot that a cupboard needed cleaning or a loo needed fixing. And I felt compelled to point out that the “challenges” of running an Ocean racing yacht were not just about difficult helming – but about facing all the aspects that none of us enjoyed and knuckling down and doing them.  I would be happy to say this went down like a lead balloon but I suspect that actually my observations were no sooner spoken than forgotten.  Maybe that's one of my challenges – to accept that some people are just not going to 'get it'!