Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 5, 6th March

I didn't really sleep during my 8am to midday off-watch. I lay in my bunk with my ipod on and snoozed, eventually rousing to the realisation that I was far too hot! Not a sensation I expected to experience at any point of this leg! I couldn't believe that I might actually have to take a layer out of my sleeping bag!

The rain had cleared up, it was still relatively mild. Still the mid-layer salopettes and thin fleece were donned – not because I really needed them for warmth but because by wearing them on deck  with a vague glimmer of sunshine  about, was the best (and only) chance of getting them dry.

The previous watch had just dropped a spinnaker and we were back reaching with headsails again while preparing to hoist the mid-weight. I was busy showing Ukrainian Nick how to rig a preventer for the main sail when I happened to discover just why the 'ankle-breakers' (wooden toblerone shaped bracing wedges) on  the deck are so named! I stepped on one the wrong way, my ankle buckled  and I was left clutching onto the coffee grinder for support and muttering every expletive in my vocab! Then followed lots of discussion around whether or not my boot should be removed, but despite my immediate agony I was fairly sure I'd done nothing more than a sprain and wrenched a few ligaments so I braced myself while said boot was removed, annoyed with myself for being so bloomin' careless.  Walking was not an option so I was packed off below decks with the instruction of donning a compression bandage and sitting still with my leg elevated.

I was just getting used to the idea of doing nothing when  a shout of “bear-away” from on deck could be heard followed by lots of spinnaker wrapping sounds and then another call of “drop-it”. Within  a few minutes a wet mid-weight spinnaker appeared at my feet in the saloon with a 6 metre rip along the foot. There was nothing for it but to put in a quick call to  Super Sail Repair Girl and request assistance. SSRG turned out to be washing her hair so it was down to me and my new able assistant Charlie, to tackle the beast.  Mike B had told Piers that we'd have it done (the royal “we” obviously!) in 3 hours! I reckoned 4 and a half and it actually took about 5 and half hours of solid slog to get the sail repaired, checked for any other damage and repacked!  So much for a quiet afternoon! Normally Queen of the sewing machine, after prepping it all I had to hand the sewing bit over to my apprentice – not even I can balance on one foot while also pressing the pedal of a sewing machine with the same foot without another very nasty accident happening!

During the course of the repair 2 people managed to stand on my injured foot – which I had certainly not been able to rest, ice and elevate, so it was no surprise that it was still somewhat sore and swollen and I was told in no uncertain terms that I would not be allowed on deck for night watch.

So night watch arrived – and I stayed below deck and made teas and coffees, 2 lots of bread, washed up and kept an eye on the Nav and AIS in an attempt to feel useful. I probably ended spending more time on my feet than I would have done if I'd been up on deck!

The day had not been my best but my injury did give me the perfect opportunity to murder someone! Since race start day we've been playing a game of murder. Each person has to draw out  the name of another crew member from a hat, then a location on the boat (ie foredeck, saloon, snakepit) and a murder weapon (ladle, jar of peanut butter, toothpaste). The idea is you have to get your victim to accept the “weapon” from you in the location you have drawn. If they do then they are murdered and therefore out of the game and you then take on their murder victim. I had drawn Tony in the Nav station with deodorant! Originally I'd thought I might be able to carry this off during our engineering watch together as part of our Nav station clean – but that was scuppered when due to watch change over Tony didn't do that part of the watch with me. I'd been wandering around all evening with the deodorant trying to think how I could engineer this without him suspecting. Difficult especially as we were now on opposite watches. My injury gave me the answer however. Just as I was about to give up and head for my bunk, Tony happened to be below deck just as Albert called down and asked if I needed a hand getting up and into my bunk. Tony immediately offered assistance and through a particularly well disguised fake stumble, as he reached out to steady me I managed to pass the murder weapon over!  He was not impressed when I  informed him he was dead and for a moment I think he even began to suspect my injury to be a complex part of an involved act, just to carry out his demise!