Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 13, 14th March

Although sleep is still fitful, most of us felt better and ready to get back to sailing  today. After a fairly calm day yesterday we are back into big seas, big waves and rolling conditions which reminds us we need to be alert and on the case. It doesn't matter what we've been through or whether or not we have a skipper – the sea doesn't stop or wait for anyone. The challenge is still right here in front of us and we have to step up to the mark. We receive an email from Lizzie in the office to let us know that Piers has arrived safely and has had his first operation on his leg.  Apparently his first words when he came round from the anaesthetic were “How are the crew?”!  He also got the nurses to send a photo of him in his hospital bed – looking tired but with a big cheesy grin on his face and his thumbs up – just to prove everything was “All good”! The news and photo was just the tonic we needed and it spurred us on to get on with the job in hand and to get back into the race. We were still very tired and emotional but we had work to do and the best thing we could do for ourselves and Piers was to get on and do it.

We had the incentive we needed when we caught Edinburgh at the back of the rest of the fleet. Not so good for them but made us realise we were still in touch and could still get back into the race. We're still not quite ready for it yet but it's another bit of encouragement that we need.

The guys on deck spotted some damage to a hank eyelet at the top of the Yankee 3 sail during the afternoon, so I went straight from engineering duties at 4pm into sail repair mode at 6pm and finished by 10.20pm to go straight on deck and onto watch until 2am. We had a watch of reefing and changing head sails which we then flaked and bagged. It was non-stop but good for the soul and the kind of watch we needed to settle us back into racing.