It's now just over a week before we'll be sailing home into Hull, having completed this amazing adventure known as the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and there are certainly mixed feelings floating around inside me. Having thought so much over the last month or so about how I want my life to be from here on in nd the changes I want to make I thought I was past the “dreading it all being over” stage and had moved onto the “it's the next exciting chapter of my life stage”. However, all it took was for Albert to flash a packet of smoked salmon at me in the galley this morning saying how we were going ot have a few treats for the last days of our trip, and the emotions overflowed into tears and I had the first sob – of no doubt many to come over the next week! We set off from Cork on a dull, grey, rainy lunchtime. It was that kind of light rain that while not heavy gets you really, really wet through! Despite this there was still a surprisingly large number of spectators lining the banks of the River Lee to wave and beep their car horns at this strange breed of amateur yachtsmen on their ten Ocean Racing Yachts. We waved back enthusiastically as the people from both Cork and Kinsale had made us feel as welcome as any port during our race and their friendliness, interest and kindness was something I won't ever forget.

And so onto race start – our penultimate race start. As we had both Wayne from North One Productions filming with us and Emma for BBC Look North, I felt very able to abstain from filming and so for the first time in ages was actively involved in the start. We spent ages tacking and gybing around the start line in the run up to race start, making sure we were aware exactly where the line was and strength and direction of the wind in relation to it. By the time we heard the gun which meant 4 minutes to go my arms were already screaming at me as I'd been hauling on the yankee sheet like my life depended on it for a good half an hour! We slightly mis-timed our approach to the line – we were too early and had to tack off so we didn't cross it before the start gun was fired. Even with that we crossed the line neck and neck with the leading boats – we could have been fourth or first – it was hard to tell. Within the first hour the wind was picking up and we had to change down from the No1 yankee – the largest of our headsails to the No.2. We did that just before tacking round the first mark just as Australia, Finland and Singapore crossed in front of our bow. We missed Singapore by about 2 metres! Having rounded the mark in fourth place, our gear change on the sails paid off and we were soon ahead of Singapore and drawing level with the other 2 boats. By this time it was watch change-over and supper time and I went to bed exhilerated and buzzing from the start and the fact that even though soaked to the skin from being dunked under waves up on the bow, here we were, back out sailing and racing again – it felt mighty good! I tried to spare a thought for poor Emma who had turned very blue and if puking had been an Olympic sport would have won the Gold medal hands down. I've been very lucky on this trip and have only really been ill once. I love the rhythm of the waves too much for them to make me ill and even though not sleeping, I got huge pleasure from feeling the pitch and roll as Umba dived into troughs and flew off the tops of the waves I just knew she was loving it too!