Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 11, 12th March

When Albert nudged me into action an hour and a half later I didn't want to get out of bed. I knew I had a job to do but as soon as I got up, the day would officially begin and it would be a day in which we  waved goodbye to our skipper. I wanted to try and put it off but I knew it was inevitable. We were on route to the rendezvous point and Australia were gradually catching us – although they had a problem with their engine so progress was slow. Clipper had decided that they would still transfer Australia's skipper to us and he would remain with us until we arrived safely in San Fran. They also wanted him to oversee the transfer of Piers over to the Japanese coastguard.

We were all focussed on the job in hand but faces were drawn and sombre and emotions high. I spent the day doing hourly Obs on Piers, taking temperature and pulse and keeping a regular log of all the drugs I'd given him and when and making sure I was on time with his next dosage. He dozed off and on as the drugs took effect. When he slept he had a tendency to turn slightly on his side, twisting his damaged leg, so much of the day was spent watching him like a hawk, waking him up when that happened and then each time trying a new technique of wedging him into the lee cloth in the saloon so that he couldn't move next time he dozed! A variety of technical accessories were used to do this including an inflated life jacket, spare pillows and sleeping bags, a spare ankle air-splint, a bean-bag and 3 or 4 full toilet rolls – shoved into remaining gaps! All this was tied in with various bits of line, cats-cradle style!  It wasn't pretty but it did work – after a fashion! He was awake and well enough to enjoy lunch and in good enough spirits to still give me hell but despite his best efforts his pain was obvious. He was soon asking when his next morphine shot was and when I said I couldn't give him another one for several hours he started asking for codeine. Concerned I got onto Joan, the medic on the Australian boat who got back to me with a list of a cocktail or painkillers I could give him, how many and how often.

The afternoon soon disappeared as I went between the patient and the skippers cabin to rifle through all his belongings and put together a couple of bags of what I though he might need. I also put in as many silly things as I could find. I figured he might need something to smile about over the next few days in hospital when the fact that his Round the World Race was actually over.

Brendan soon arrived on board via a line thrown between the two yachts from which he was pulled across in the water (in a dry suit) with his dry bag attached behind him. He'd barely been on board and caught up with Piers before the Japan coastguard boat arrived – looking more like a Naval aircraft carrier (without the aircraft). Within a few minutes, a rib was dispatched and a group of Japanese coastguard chaps arrived, resembling a crack SAS troop invading a hijacked boat! The rest passed in a hurried blur. I barely had time to finish writing out a list of the drugs Piers had had and when and to get together some spare supplies of the same for the rest of his 15 hour journey to hospital. Before I knew it he was in a stretcher and up on deck ready to be lowered into the rib. It was an awful moment watching him leave the boat. I can't begin to imagine what or how Piers was feeling but as always he braved it out, put on a smile and waved cheerily from the rib as he sped off to the coastguard boat.

We were left feeling wretched but at least pleased he was well on his way to getting professional medical attention and also proud of ourselves for having managed the situation and got him to help just as soon as we could.  A year ago most of us had only ever done 3 weeks sailing training in our lives. Over the last 24 hours we had dealt with some pretty stormy conditions, dealt with a medical emergency and between us, competently sailed a 68ft racing yacht through the Pacific Ocean, done a personnel transfer between two moving yachts and then successfully transferred our injured P into the hands of the Japanese coastguard. Quite an achievement and one I'm sure we would appreciate and feel proud of in the weeks to come. But not now. Now our only thoughts were of our skipper and our only hopes that he would very soon be in hospital and getting the care he needed.