Day 18
8am and our next watch arrived and soon after the next set of “scheds”. We were firmly back in 4th place and were 17 miles ahead of Jamaica. We did that in one push over one night. We were all thrilled but I think we were all secretly thinking - “what if we'd been sailing like that for the last 5 days” - could we have been on the podium?! We knew we just had to hang on now and keep going and we'd have 4th place – which would give us 7 points and along with the 3 points from the gate that put us in equal first – on points! As land grew closer and closer and Table mountain loomed large across the skyline we got Arthur on the helm to take us over the finish line – making sure he was secured by no less than 8 life-lines firmly holding him in position and framing his pose ready for the media cameras. We were all elated to have arrived safe and sound and in a very respectable fourth place. Table Mountain was the rock steady welcome sight we needed. It was reassuring and stunning and we were all glad to be sheltering under it's watchful eye.

We entered the marina and the home of Royal Cape Yacht Club to applause and cheers from the crews milling around on the Cork, Finnish and Singapore yachts and before we knew it were all clutching our much dreamed and talked of cold beers. Arthur was the centre of much media attention, which he bore well, although as far as he was concerned it was a necessary evil which had to be endured in order to draw a line under his watery adventure!

Piers gave us all 2 hours off to phone home, catch up on emails and grab some lunch (steak all round!). And then it was on with the usual everything off the boat and deep clean routine. We were used to this now and had the routine nailed so it wasn't so much of a chore as it had been in those first training sessions. Plus we were all more than willing to look after out “Umber” as she had looked after us so well across our second Ocean crossing.

At about 4.30pm the clouds that had been looming ominously decided to dump their entire contents on the marina which drew our deep-clean to an abrupt halt. Once everything had been hastily stowed back below decks, most of the rest of the crew set about gathering belongings to flee the boat and find a hotel as fast as they could. I don't know why but this upset me and I found myself in floods of tears. It didn't seem right after all we'd been through as a team that everyone was in such a rush to run away from the people and yacht we'd just experienced so much on. I could understand the need to have a hot shower or bath but I didn't want to leave the yacht. It was my home since August 16th and I had set out to sail round the world on her. It somehow felt disloyal to abandon her the second there was a 'better option' available. Admittedly my budget also made it harder to grab a hotel for a week but I really wasn't keen on sleeping anywhere else than on the Hull & Humber.
In the end I settled for a compromise. Mike B who had seen me upset and despite saying he was relieved to see I was human after all (he thinks I'm a robot as I work had constantly and never show any signs of weakness – apparently!), insisted that I use his hotel room to get a nice shower or bath while he supped a beer in the bar downstairs.
Once clean Mike, David, Brett, Katie and Lou (also staying in The Commodore), the two hull Ambassadors - Ciaran and Becs, along with Arthur (also staying on “Umber) and myself all had dinner in the aptly named “Clipper Restaurant” in the hotel. That was the end I needed to our arrival day – good food, good wine and the company of the friends I had just sailed the South Atlantic Ocean with.