Leg 4, Race 5 - 8th January

I should have been editing on night-watch last night but once again we were busy packing the mid-weight, putting the heavy up and calling trim and spinny collapse for each other on deck. We are playing the angles with the wind and can't quite seem to make the heading we want. It's tricky on the helm as you have to balance between getting the boat speed up – and going in the right direction. At the moment the two are about 30 degrees apart on the compass and it's a fine art to be able to build enough boat speed and then use the apparent wind you have built to be able to creep down nearer to your desired course.  Do it too quickly and you immediately kill your speed and have to work hard to build it all over again! The watch flies by and I get sent off to bed early as I'll be getting up early to do mother watch – with Jack.  Jack is one of the Hull Ambassadors – all of whom are teenagers or in their early twenties and have earned a place on the race through a scheme that helps unemployed and disadvantaged youngsters. Jack and Mikey – the other half of the ambassador duo on this leg, have so far been an absolute delight to work with on the crew. They are both bright, interested in everything that's happening on the boat and are throwing themselves wholeheartedly into every aspect of work on board.
The galley is not the best place to be when the whole boat is already like an oven, but we both set about delivering breakfast to the troops with good humour and spirit and I am delighted to find Jack very willing and able in the 'kitchen'. It turns out he had previously done a cookery/catering course, so in between washing up, boiling the tea towels and cleaning our day cupboards, we exchange notes on the perils of meringue making!
A lunch of couscous approaches and while the end product tasted fine, the couscous itself was more than trifle stodgy! One of the pitfalls of taking ingredients out of their cardboard containers (we don't take cardboard onto the boat) and re-bagging them without the instructions!  Lunch was served with the health warning that people should avoid going overboard post consumption – lest they sink, and after many jokes – made be me mainly at my own expense, I investigated the modelling qualities of the left-overs.  It turns out that stodgy couscous is perfect for modelling and before we knew it, the boat had a new crew member on board – Chaz – a near replica of Morph's friend, complete with sweetcorn eyes, onion eye-brows and a green pepper mouth!  Mick and I had a silly 10 minutes of taking photos of Chaz – moving his arm slightly each time to create an animated wave. Welcome to the world of grown up Ocean-racing!
After a long, very hot, sweaty day in the galley, during which our reputation as 'mothers' improved as we produced a pretty darn successful batch of chocolate fudge brownies for tea, followed by a very popular vegetarian Thai curry for supper, there was only one thing I needed – a snakepit shower!
Shower might be over-egging the description, as technically it involved 2 jugs of water, a bowl, a cup for scooping water over me and crouching down in the 'privacy' of the snakepit in my bikini to perform a hair wash (2 shampoos and a conditioner) and a full body wash (including leg shave – much needed!) with only 3 litres of water. I can promise you it's an art! But by the time I'd finished it was dark – there were many stars out for the first time in ages and the air had cooled to a very pleasant temperature.  It may seem a very basic way to wash but you don't get many bathrooms with a view of the night sky like this one! I knew the feeling wouldn't last – but I was fresh and clean – if only for a few hours!!!