Leg 4, Race 5 - 17th January

It's my turn for mother watch again today – this turn my partner in grime is Tom. We soon realised that the last time we were on mother watch together was the fateful day that Arthur went overboard in Leg 2, so everyone made me promise not to go near the video camera, lest I bring a fresh disaster upon us. (It appears that my media role is still being heralded as the jinx for all our troubles!!!) The weather was pretty well the same as the last few days – only slightly brighter, no rain and a lot more bouncy which made conditions on deck more favourable and those below a tad more challenging.  Just past 11am we crossed the equator. For the round the worlders this was our second crossing but the leggers had to face Neptune, make an offering to him and then be judged for their sailing sins and “slopped” as punishment. On our first crossing, I'd also been mother and had made the left over porridge very runny and diluted so it wasn't too sticky.  However as there wasn't much left over porridge today and (more to the point) as I was not a member of the group about to be slopped, I evilly added a good helping of broken up weetabix to the porridge slop mix to get a really gooey, sticky consistency for our poor 'Polliwogs'! The ceremony was the same and much enjoyed by our new 'shellback' crew mates but I did feel a bit sorry that it wasn't such a big deal this time – no fancy dress – apart from Neptune, who always dresses for the occasion and no big party atmosphere – but I guess that's life!
Tom & I then both knuckled down to the task in hand, adopting the best bracing positions we could while making sarnies and soup for lunch. Tom decided to play the “Maitre D” and went round taking sarnie orders – Corned Beef or Ham (tinned) with or without mustard, mayonnaise or onion or my special of the day the “Equator Sarnie” – Ham to the North and Corned beef to the south with an equator line of mustard to divide the two! 
The miles gradually ticked down and it became apparent that I was not about to win either the sweepstake or my wager with Mike B that we would arrive at Batam on the 17th (I'd said 11.30pm as our finish time).  Come supper time, we still had over 50 miles to go and while our boat speed felt fast, when you're beating straight into the wind it always feels much faster and more fierce than it really is. We were now looking at a 3am finish and 5am arrival  into Nongsa Marina in Batam.  Piers shortened the night watches so we'd have an even split of time and to ensure that everyone got at least a couple of hours kip. I finally took my bruises to my bunk to do just that – content that although it had been a testing day below decks in the unbearable heat (no hatches were open as waves were crashing across deck) I had found the optimum heavy weather drying-up position in the galley. I stumbled across it at lunch and re-tested it at supper – on the opposite tack – and can confirm that sitting on the far corner of the work surface allows you to brace with your feet so you are wedged and then you can reach the draining area plus every locker necessary for stowing plates, mugs, cutlery, pots and pans. No need to move or do the usual galley mountaineering act. It was pure poetry! That would no doubt save me from many, many galley bruises – although as I inspected myself as I clambered into my bunk, I could see my hips, thighs and arms turning that familiar mother-watch blue!