Leg 5, Race 7 Day 18, 19th March

There may be a low and some big, big winds on the horizon but night watch last night saw the winds get lighter and lighter. Soon we were grimacing along with the regular flog, flog, flogging of sails as we had sub 5 knots of breeze and the Yankee 1 and main struggled to catch enough of a puff to keep them filled and powered. It was the first really clear night we've had in ages and the stars were out in force. We tried spotting the various constellations and got as far as the Plough and Orion's Belt and guessed at where we thought Mars was but without the Dudin to put us right, were left floundering. Along with the clear skies of course, came the even colder temperatures. It was the first night watch in ages where we've been counting the minutes ‘til we're off from the second we got on deck! Cold apart, it was a glorious night and in between shivers we took time to appreciate our watery landscape with it's glittering heavenly canopy above. 2am came, the kettle went on, hot drinks were made to warm us up and my spare hot water bottle was quickly filled and put into Tom's sleeping bag for a warm up before a last minute transfer to mine. It was too cold a night not to share the love with a hot-water bottle – even if it was only a tiny one!

By morning, there was not too much change so we took the opportunity to continue checking and repairing sails. I spent most of the morning below decks, iPod on, sitting on wet sails in the cold fore peak, needle in hand, sewing in place Dacron patches on our Yankee 2. Who said sailing wasn't a glamorous sport?! By midday the winds were on the up and we were trucking again. A perfectly clear blue sky spread out in front of us as we ate up the miles and ploughed through wave after wave. My ears and hands were the only bits of me complaining (still chuffing cold!) but the rest of me loved it. A few days of this would be perfect. That wish wasn't to be fulfilled however. I had a couple of hours nap and by the time I woke up the boat was heeling well over and one had to re-adopt one's mountaineering skills to merely move from one place to another. Navigating the heads required something akin to a circus act; the utmost concentration was required or one loss of balance could send you flying out through the zip-curtain door and straight into the busy saloon area with your knickers round your ankles!

By late afternoon we were thrashing along changing down sails and reefing in. It was now grey, dull cold and intermittently rainy. Almost everyone's preference was to brave the perils of being thrown around below deck to being exposed to the elements above. We were thinking that this was the start of the low pressure system that we'd been warned about but Brendan scuppered that by saying we still had that to look forward to in 24 – 36 hours time. This was just a little warm up act! I can assure you there is nothing warm about this evening!