Our first night watch last night (11pm – 3 am) was pretty cool. We woke up to find we were ahead of the fleet – just. Actually 'woke up' is untrue as no sleep was had whatsoever. The boat was so heeled over it was hard to haul my bunk up high enough to stop me falling out of it. So I was mainly lying on my lee-cloth and the metal frame at the edge of my bunk. Add to that the frequent bouncing bomb effect – with Umba as the member of  the fictional 633 Squadron every time she took off over a wave, leaving me to be the bouncing bomb in my bunk and the conditions were not exactly condusive for sleep. The 2 elements to add to the orchestration were the constant rattling and rapping of the spinnaker pole and jackstay, vibrating against each other on the deck directly overhead and the gushing waterfall effect that came pouring through the closed hatch every time a wave engulfed the foredeck – which I after half an hour I calculated to be an average of every 45 seconds! I was lucky enough to be on the high side so while climbing into my bunk was a major mountaineering move, the gallons of seawater intent on hitching a left with us was at least drenching some poor other person! At least everyone's protective shower curtains were already in place – an essential piece of round the world kit which funnily enough hadn't been on our list of 'must buys' from Clipper!

So having not slept at all it was great to be on deck back in the thick of it...oh and still in the lead! Not by much though. We could see 3 or 4 green starboard mast-head lights behind us...but not by much. The night was dark and cloudy so no star-gazing – yet again. My first job was to try and stuff an tea towel under the aforementioned spinnaker pole to stop it shaking someone else's brains. The plan was a good one. However after 3 complete dunkings under water - one of which I nearly had to swim out of, I think I may have managed to stop one vibration but hadn't ceased the loud rapping that I was sure was coming from the jackstay but couldn't figure out why or where! It was fun trying though and I couldn't help giggling at how ridiculous my struggle had been or how wet I was just to try and stop and irritating noise!

The winds picked up again during watch and we were soon putting a reef in the mainsail, all the while keeping a beady eye on our nearest rivals to make sure they weren't closing in on us. The helming was great fun, not too challenging but needing 100 % concentration nonetheless to keep our course and speed accurate. With the fleet so close together now and therefore in the same wind and weather conditions, unless we were under a different sail plan it was all about good, fast accurate helming and spotting any changes in wind direction or speed quickly.

The watch flew by – I was sent to bed slightly early as I'm on motherwatch tomorrow,. It was weird to think that by the time I was next up we would almost certainly be back at Lands End and well and truly back in British waters. We really were nearly home!

Well what a difference a day makes! Or in our case, a few hours. Sure enough by the time I awoke – this time from a very deep sleep, land was very much ahoy, the sea had calmed and the boat was less bouncy castle and more gently rocking hammock. We watched with mixed emotions as we slid past Lands End and Lizard Point. I'd holidayed on the Cornish Coast many, many times as a child so this coastline was all too familiar – although not normally seem from this viewpoint. We really were almost home and I was surprised at how excited I was. We were also surprised to see Qingdao just behind us. They had followed us staying north across the Scilly Isles while the rest of the felt had taken a more southerly route. So here we were still clinging onto the lead and with Qingdao hot on our heels.

Jezza was my co-mother for the first time on this race and now for our last mother-watch of the race! This was the start of our “last of” things to come! The day passed very pleasantly, pottering in the gallery, filming on deck and while not the beautiful scorching weather we'd been hearing about 'back home', it was much clearer, warmer and sunnier that it had been for a few days now.Half way through the afternoon the wind dropped and we peeled form the heavyweight to midweight spinny. I was filming on deck and it became obvious an extra pair of hands was needed so pitched in. Just about everything that could go wrong did, so as the heavyweight spinnaker went for a swim behind the boat and a few of us tried to persuade it back on deck, Qingdao went soaring past us looking very amused at our predicament. Annoying though it was we just had to get on with it, repack the very wet kite and work hard to regain the lost distance to Qingers.

Hors d'oeurvres – of which Jeremy is king, were duly served up as we did our bit to keep up morale with a supper of sausages, mash and beans and onion gravy, followed by vanilla sponge with hot chocolate sauce! By the early evening we'd regained the lead and our self-respect and Jezza and I did a ceremonial passing of the last saucepan to be washed and then dried by us on our last mother-watch of our Round the World journey. It was one element neither of us were too emotional about saying goodbye to!