Leg 6 Race 8 Day 4, Fri April 23rd

Today is a milestone day for me – it's my first day when I'm back on deck on watch since my tussle with a huge wave back in the previous race. I don't mind admitting to being a little nervous and worried that I'd forgotten lots of things and joked with Tom, our watch leader that he'd need to give me a full tour of the deck and asked the previous watch to leave post-it notes on everything with its name and what it should be used for!!!

Needless to say it was great to get back on deck with the rest of the watch and get a lung-full of fresh air. I needn't have worried as it all came flooding back and the morning passed with me trying to get involved where I could and the rest of the watch chastising me every time they saw me doing something they didn't think my shoulder was up to! The weather is getting warmer all the time – only foulie bottoms, a thin fleece and breeze jacket today. It's SOOOO nice not having to struggle into the foulie top too. I'm hoping that I won't actually have to wear full foulies now until after we've left Jamaica!!! (I've probably just jinxed our good weather prayers for the next month!). I had a short go on the helm as the winds weren't too strong and although I was mainly helming right-handed the main thing was getting back to it. The last time I'd helmed the conditions were very different and the boat had been close to rolling! It was definitely good to “get back on the horse”!

After lunch we were then off watch until 7pm – so it was our main chance to get some sleep. It felt very weird to be going to bed at 1.30 in the afternoon but we would have 2 night watches later - 7pm – 11pm and then 3am – 7am so it was important to get a bit of kip while we could! Plus having also done all the cleaning and water hunting duties of engineering (for the final time – hoorah!) I was pretty whacked and my shoulder needed a doze even if the rest of me didn't! First night watch was gorgeous – there was still a fair bit of cloud around but in between I could make out the Plough and various other familiar looking constellations, stars and planets that I couldn't remember the names of! Even after spending 7 months on a boat with Piers (what he doesn't know about the stars isn't worth knowing), and after the numerous times he'd patiently given me a guided tour around the night sky – I still couldn't remember if the bright thing gleaming out from the north behind us was Jupiter or something else. I was pretty sure it was a planet, not a star but was no clearer than that. I pledged then and there that I would make an effort to learn more about the stars and constellations before we returned back to Hull at the end of this mammoth voyage. How could I hold my head high having spent 10 months under some of the most glorious night skies I was ever likely to see and still not be able to identify anything more than the Plough and Orion's Belt??!!!

Our progress for the 4 hour watch was fast – a steady 11 knots knots for most of the night and only just dying off slightly towards watch changeover. We were confident that we would now be making gains on the other yachts who should now be wallowing in a much lighter breeze tighter in to the coast.