Race 12 - Day 6, Thurs June 24th   

This morning we had a little respite. We must have had a total of about an hour and a half of sunshine spread out in sections across our 6 hour watch, It wasn't much but it was enough to remind us why we love this. Just a small amount of sunshine turns a completely miserable watch into the best place on earth to be. It's amazing the difference it makes and it put us all in a better mood. The early scheds also showed that we were the fastest boat in the fleet overnight and have taken miles out of every other Clipper. Admittedly only one or two in some cases but it was a gain nonetheless and to be celebrated – which we did with another bar of Sponsor Fruit & Nut – as we had now tipped over the less than 1,000 miles to go landmark.

All day we've been getting great speeds – we wound Brett up that the girls had beaten his record but in actual fact we were still a good knot under it. Not for long however. Our first night watch – which really isn't night watch anymore as it stays light ‘til almost 11pm  saw the wind and waves continue to build. It was very reminiscent of the conditions we faced in the Pacific and we split the watch in half so we did an hour on and an hour off below deck to have some respite from the challenges of the night.  I stepped up to the helm with a little trepidation. It wasn't long before I was in the swing of it getting great speed off the surf – and then before the end of my session, one massive surf that seemed to go on forever and topped out at 20.4 knots. What an adrenaline ride that was! We hadn't been below deck for long when it became obvious the boat was becoming overpowered.  We crash gybed a couple of times – a sure sign we were overpowered. We were swiftly summoned back on deck to drop the headsail – easier said than done in winds of 40 plus knots – and banged a second reef in the main. We'd barely drawn breath from that when a massive wave engulfed the boat. I grabbed a hold of the boat with one hand and the back of Raeann's lifejacket with the other as the wave picked her up. We were both clipped on with safety lines but it's still easy to pick up an injury if you are swept any distance. As our skipper Justin found out. We nearly had a repeat performance of the Piers accident as Justin was swept past the helm station and against the emergency tiller at the stern of the boat. Brett who was on the helm at the time having realised Skip had been picked up by the wave, said he had a horrid sense of deja vu when he asked Justin if he was ok and he replied “ I think I might have broken my hand”!!! Luckily it's just badly bruised.  Raeann and I made a nasty exit from the snakepit, which was now full of water and doing a very good impression of a jacuzzi!  We were all glad to go to bed at end of watch although none of us were relishing the though of getting up for watch again at 3am!!!