Leg 4 Race 6 – Day 12 13th February

As predicted sleep is something that evaded me last night. The boat slammed against the waves and I slammed against my bunk pretty well all night. The only relief was when it felt like we were tacking 3 times during the night. Each time I felt the boat level off and slow right down as we headed into the wind. Each time I adjusted my bunk angle ready to counter the heel on the opposite side and each time I ended up putting my bunk back to where I started. I assumed that the watch on deck must be doing some sail changes or shaking reef out but apparently that wasn't the case! There was talk of "doughnuts" the next morning so I'm guessing the helming had been a little too challenging at times.

At 6.20 am I hoisted the white flag and surrendered myself to the day. Mike B was in the galley just ahead of me – having been on watch til 1am he then, like me, failed to sleep for the rest of the night.

24 hours ago I had expected to be at the scoring gate by now. I'd also thought there was a very good chance we would get 3 points but overnight the race seems top have slipped though our fingers. We set about delivering up breakfast to the night watch who sounded like they'd had a very busy few hours. The winds had been mid 30s and the waves 6 metres high, which would explain the terrifying noise when occasionally we slammed off the back of one!

The conditions in the galley were horrendous. You really had to hold on for dear life every time there was a second or two of quiet – which was a sure sign a large slam was about to follow! Five months ago I would have struggled to cope but we now knew what to expect and also how important it was to the guys on deck that food and drink just kept coming – particularly in these challenging conditions. So we baked fresh bread rolls for lunch – along with 2 loaves for tomorrow's breakfast, made lemon cake for dessert and managed to get soup and sarnies out at lunchtime without scalding ourselves, or tipping most of the soup on the floor, despite the fact that during that time we tacked 4 times! Each time Mike clung onto the soup pan while I grabbed rolls and anything else that wasn't wedged in or that might spill, as the tack went through. I took a nasty knock to the hip when trying to hang on to the bread rolls I'd just taken out of the oven during one of them; we lurched right at the end of a tack and my hip met the wooden edge of the galley top with a loud crack accompanied by a pair of watering eyes and several expletives from me. When people ask me what I'm most afraid of about the trip I always answer the same thing ' afraid that I'll get injured to the extent I won't be able to complete it. It's a very real risk and each time I get a bad knock or bang I have a few minutes of fear while I do a quick self-assessment to make sure I still have the right number of everything and that it's all in the right place!

In between making the lemon cake, we were shifting sails around below deck to get them onto the high side of the boat and also bobbing into the Nav station to keep watchful eye on all the passing tankers - some of which came uncomfortably close! I was also keeping an eye on California and Team Finland, who both now slightly ahead of us. We were also aware that both Jamaica and Cape Breton had snuck past us but weren't sure exactly where they were.

We heard around 1700 that Jamaica then Cape Breton then Team Finland took the 3, 2, 1 points from the scoring gate respectively. Gutted would be an understatement of how we all felt. Bitterly disappointed was a phrase used by most people. We are not sure what went wrong for us when we had been doing so well and the weather appeared to play to our tactics. Piers admitted that for a while perhaps our sail plan overnight was too conservative but the conditions had been the toughest this crew combination had seen. It's a fine line between sending crew onto the foredeck at night when waves are towering over the boat in order to get an extra knot out of our 'Umba and we are well aware that as our Skipper he has a duty of care for each and everyone of our lives. Although disappointed we lost the points I know I'm happier sailing with someone I can trust my life to. I can with Piers. I also happen to believe that he'll help us win races too. Each time we learn more and feel like we come a little nearer. We may all be a bit down in the dumps today but we're certainly not beaten.

So we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again. We are now chasing the pack up to Qingdao. I need to tidy the galley before going to bed – having had no sleep last night I need a few hours before I have to be on watch again at 2am. The winds have calmed down to a mere 24 knots, the slamming is fractionally less, sleep will surely visit tonight.