Never again will indoor plumbing be taken for granted, swears Jason

For my next report I had hoped to resort to the policy adopted by The Spectator when the magazine’s Low Life correspondent Jeffrey Bernard was indisposed. A terse ‘Jason Best is unwell’ would suffice, I felt. But the code of the Yachting World journalist, albeit a mere landlubber, obliges me to press on.

I wish I could wax lyrically about dolphins, stars and flashing phosphorescence. Sadly, I must limit myself to a more prosaic subject.

With the yacht canting at 25 degrees, heaving and pitching, and my stomach doing the same, a visit to the heads feels like a trek to the South Pole. Getting there, though, is less than half the ordeal. Never again will I take indoor plumbing for granted. Oh, for a lavatory with a flush.

On board Besso, as much arm power is required below as up on deck. To flush the heads, first one must open the inlet valve and pump the handle 27 times to clear the piping; then close the valve and repeat the pumping to fill the bowl. Then the whole rigmarole has to be gone through once again.

By this stage, if I am feeling under the weather, I am usually in a state of clammy wretchedness, but I must keep any nausea at bay. The worst sin one can commit on board a yacht is puking in the heads. So, as the boat continues to lurch and roll, I must slowly clamber back to my bunk, keeping my stomach on an even keel.

Meanwhile, my stalwart crewmates have been steadily clawing back the positions we slipped when we lost our No. 1 Yankee. They have been furiously winching away, trim, trim, trimming to gain us optimum speed. Their efforts have not gone in vain: Besso has been reeling in the opposition at an impressive rate of knots.