Leg 3, Day 9 - 9th December

We switched watches yesterday evening. I was on Port watch and am now on Starboard watch, which means that when I was going to bed at 2am, I'm now getting up at 1.30am to be on deck for the start of night watch at 2! In these temperatures the challenge of a lifetime is just to get out of your “oh-so-warm” sleeping bag, but I had responsibility on my shoulders which helped motivate me to get up and into my now 7 layers of clothes! The night watch was my first as watch-leader – a role I would have for the next 4 days.  I would be responsible for the team of people on my watch, responsible for holding the correct course and keeping the sails well trimmed and flying, and the general running of the boat during the times when Piers was sleeping.  Also for running evolutions during the watch!  It seems like an awful lot of responsibility – but while I found this difficult on leg 1, my improved skills and awareness of the wind and how to handle the boat, has made this task slightly less daunting.  The team of people on my watch are all mad as hatters – which also helps and my first Spinnaker hoist – always a delicate operation - as watch leader – at 5am this morning went exceptionally smoothly – even though I say so myself!

Although I'd been dreading the 6 hours from 2am to 8am – I was pleasantly surprised to find that sunrise was at about 4.30 – so we only had a few hours of darkness before the morning crept in. Despite there being thick blanket of cloud the light was good and the minutes counted till breakfast fair whizzed by. 

We shook a reef out of the mainsail during this afternoon –the winds picked up and we are flying along. I've also been on Albatross watch again – and after studying Big Mike's new Sea Bird book, have identified that the two rather gorgeous Albatross that have been flying alongside us for the last day are 'Wandering Albatross'.  I've named them Walter and William – which they seem to like!