Leg 3 Day 10 – 10th December

We arrived on deck at 1.45am to a dark, dark night - not a glimmer of the moon or stars –  and we were running with the spinnaker overnight for the first time this leg. For the single leggers this was pretty daunting and for the rest of us, still a tall order as we had had first hand experience of wraps and knew how easily they could happen – especially when you can't see the sail! It's a bit like trying to pin the tail on the donkey except you don't have a blindfold and the donkey is alive, in the dark and in a field in front of you somewhere!  The pressure was on me as a watch leader to keep an eye on all the dials looking at wind speed, true wind angle, apparent wind angle and course.  We were expecting the wind to shift and when it did we would need to gybe (turn the boat through the wind and fly the spinnaker on the opposite side of the boat). It was a bit like waiting for a number 9 bus in the middle of the arctic (that's how cold it felt); you keep thinking you see one coming in the distance and just when you're sure it's approaching the stop, it either turns down another road or is the wrong number after all.  The wind teases in exactly the same way, so it was a long, light, toe-numbing night watch! I tried a few exercises while standing by my post near the helm - mainly to get the circulation going but also because I'd noticed that there were large amounts of me where there previously hadn't been bits before.  I really ought to start thinking about a bikini diet before we hit Oz! And so the night watch passed contemplating the key issues of the world such as frequency of buses and fighting the flab (while grazing through the contents of the starboard watch tuck box – of course!)
Just as the mother's below started making promising breakfast noises, the wind changed properly, the number 9 arrived and having woken Piers to inform him, he declared it time for putting a reef in immediately followed by a gybe – both of which I'd never led before!

The great thing about P's lack of notice about this kind of thing is that you don't have any time to panic about the fact you haven't got a clue what you're doing. So I drew on my 40 plus years of bluffing my way through life and made a very passable stab at a spinnaker gybe!  A 'well done' from the Skipper afterwards confirmed my belief that if I'd ever gone to University, a degree in Bullshit would have been the course for me!

After a much needed nap (all this standing around telling people what to do is exhausting!) the afternoon watch passed delightfully under a clear blue sunny sky, a slightly warmer wind, a tea-time feast from Albert – who as chief victualler knew where all the really fab goodies were stashed – and the arrival of a new Wandering Albatross who I named Wilfred – after my Grandad.