Leg 6 Race 8 Day 15, Tues May 4th   

Tuesday 4th May
Night watch – the wind picked up gradually overnight in fits and starts, which made trimming the spinnaker interesting. One minute the winds would be quite gusty which meant to keep control of the sheet you needed at least four turns on the winch – or else you were in danger of taking off in flight with it Superman style!  Then the next minute the winds would go light and you'd have to get your grinder to help ease the sheet round the winch as there wasn't enough power in the sail to self -ease! It was challenging though, as we were now reaching so the helm was keeping course and it was down to the trimmer to keep an eye on the wind and trim the sail to it.
Apart from a few hairy moments when I got pulled with a jolt a metre or so forward (more Frank Spencer than Superman!) with a gust, it was good sailing and great to be moving at a pace again. We did have one incident when a big gust came and pulled the helm up. The boat rounded up really quickly and the helm wasn't quick enough to react. Apparently the next watch woke up to the dulcet tones of me yelling “Bear away” several times at an increasingly loud volume!

The day was probably the hottest we've had so far. I can normally take any amount of sun and heat that the gods can care to dish out, but even I was more than happy with only 20 minute rotations of helming and trimming, so we had a chance to find an elusive bit of shade on deck. Conditions below deck are now completely unbearable. It's like a sauna everywhere. The sweat runs off every inch of your body the whole time and the smell below decks is rife! It's almost impossible to sleep in the foredeck during the day – even with the hatch open (the smell there is particularly bad). The heat is horrible in the galley and Tom and Charlie – today's Mothers- we're really struggling – especially when the stove was on. From my position on deck I was watching them through the hatch as they were gradually melting into a pool of sweat. Then had a genius idea. By sitting at the back of the hatch I could act as a wind funnel and help deflect the draft down into the galley. I didn't really think it would work but apparently it did – really well – so I now have found my vocation in life. I make an excellent wind funnel!! I'm not entirely sure what the prospects for wind-funnelling around the world are and I doubt there are many perks such as pension and health plan but I'm willing to try and make a go of it!

As the afternoon sailed by we were visited first by some interested fishermen – who we at first thought might be pirates (!) and then by a more relaxing pod of small but highly acrobatic dolphins who delighted and entertained us for ages before leaping off to spread the joy elsewhere.
Just before supper with the challenge of light winds I suddenly felt very sick and completely exhausted. I was sent below deck to sit out of the sun and promptly fell asleep. A touch of sunstroke was the diagnosis, so after being woken to get some more fluid down me (I had been drinking gallons all day!) I was packed off to my bunk where I slept soundly despite the heat and despite the pungent smells.