Finally it's here! Everything I've been working towards and eating, sleeping and breathing for the last 15 months. This was the day I'd been looking forward to. This was also the day my friends and family had been looking forward to. Finally I'd be gone and they wouldn't have to be force-fed 'Clipper Race' any more! Now it was here though they changed tack completely and were waving me off to promises of following everystep through both and websites!

I was awake bright and early and treated myself to a shower in the Holiday Inn gym – it might only be a few days before we were back on land in La Rochelle but I still didn't know when and where my next proper body cleaning opportunity would present itself!

By 9am we were all assembled, the head sails were rigged on the foredeck most people had breakfasted and we were milling waiting to make our way to the stage for the official announcement of all the crews to the public. Tom, our starboard watch-leader took us aside for 5 minutes for a briefing. Our watch would be taking the boat out of Hull, across the start line and out of the Humber. We all looked calm on the outside but you could tell that on the inside the butterflies were in full flight and the adrenalin was starting to pump through the veins.

We made our way through the crowds to the stage area. I had the boat video camera with me as my role as part of the media team meant I needed to record key moments for the Clipper website,and the TV production company who were making a series about the race - and for posterity – and let's face it – you couldn't get much more of a key moment then this!

Each boat crew were called onto the stage, and introduced to the crowd, had official photos taken, a quick chat with the skipper was done and then a blast of each teams official boat song was played. As the home port boat we were last up – to huge cheers from the local crowd – and many of the other Hull & Humber crew who would be joining us later in the race. There was a huge sea of people and banners filling all sides of the marina and surrounding area. This was a tiny taste of what it must feel like to be a pop star! Everywhere around were faces all eager to see the mad bunch who were about to launch themselves into a great adventure, traversing the oceans of the world. Faces all there to cheer us on and wish us good luck, fair winds and godspeed. Our boat song came blasting out over the PA system – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk. We'd chosen it because that's what we aimed to achieve – by working hard we'd be Better, Faster and Stronger than the rest. It was a great motto to hold on to and we hoped it would keep us driving forward for the next 10 months.

We left the stage pumped up and ready to go and made our way back through the thousands of people (apparently over a hundred thousand turned up to see the race start) to the yacht – taking time to say a final farewell to family and friends, have a final hug and ensure that the tears were well mopped up before we set off. I just arrived back to the boat when I got a call from my friend Bronya who had battled through the traffic to come and see me off. I went to meet her on the quayside. She arrived and burst into floods of tears saying what an amazing thing this was that I was about to do and how proud she was of me! I still couldn't get used to hearing that from all and sundry. I think when you're the person doing it you're so involved in the process that you can't quite stand back and appreciate the enormity of the event and task at hand. And perhaps it was hard for us to understand just how difficult it must be for our nearest and dearest who wouldn't be coming with us, to wave us off knowing that we'd be gone for 10 months and that contact would be minimal during that time.

At last the time came to slip the mooring lines and head out through the lock gates into the Humber. I took one final look at Hull City centre and all it's familiar sights – gave a last wave to Bronya, Maria, Jack and Bronwyn (whose ninth Birthday it was that day) and CT -my old athletics coach who had dashed across from Leeds and not quite made it in time to say a proper goodbye - and lapped up the attention from the crowds as we slid around the marina. I heard my name being bellowed from within the sea of faces and saw Anneli and Caroline from the “Bubbles Club”, both frantically waving to make sure I spotted them. The group of young local 'Ambassadors' – all of whom would be flying out to join us on the race – 2 on each leg - were all smartly lined up on the deck of their training yacht “One Hull” and gave us 3 cheers as we passed by. We were into the lock gates and I was caught between trying to film the crew, filming the crowds and trying to spot my family – who were out there somewhere! Sir Robin Knox Johnston was on the side of the lock offering final words of support and encouragement as the last of his newest set of Race-Sailing protegees set off on their voyage of ocean, world and self discovery.

Once out in the Humber we hoisted the mainsail and joined the other yachts who had come from Albert Dock so we could motor past the crowds lining the water's edge in formation. The Red Arrows had performed an amazing display overheard half an hour earlier but as our Hull & Humber yacht would be leading the formation we launched into it with great gusto and Piers our Skipper bravely exclaiming “Let's show those Red Arrow guys how it's really done!”

The next half hour disappeared into a blur of waving to the crowds, hoisting the foresails, waving to the crowds, eyeing up the opposition, yet more waving and jostling for position on the start line. Before we knew it the starting gun had been fired and we were slightly caught out crossing the start line in 7th place (too busy waving at everyone!). The course had us rounding a couple of buoys roughly in front of where the crowds would be so they could see some proper racing action before we then set of up the Humber in earnest heading for the north sea and the start of our voyage proper.

Even past the main ferry terminals crowds were still lining the banks of the Humber to cheer us on and I was just able to spot a large banner with “Go Della!” painted on it in bright Orange letters by my nutty but very lovely 'Bubbles Club' friends. Our minds had not quite got into gear and as we made our way up the Humber we had slipped into ninth place and then tried to knuckle down and settle into sailing mode. As we headed past Grimsby approaching one of the race markers we had a sudden doubt of whether we were rounding it the correct way – altered our course at the last minute to pass it to the other side of the boat – a mistake that would cost us later.

We gradually closed the gap on some of the other boats and as the North Sea got nearer we had our first supper while we raced and slipped into our watch system – which meant at 8pm straight after supper I was off to Bedfordshire (my bunk!). It had been quite a day – but there was no time to reflect on that now – there was racing to be done and places to be gained. We might only be in ninth place as we set off but to us that was a challenge – and as big Mike put it - “that's we we do best …Hull and Humber – taking the field from behind”!