The wind has died to the high 20s gusting 30s, as opposed to gusting 70, so it's looking good. But I still have to hold on with both hands when I can feel the boat launching'

Emma Richards reports today:

‘Sorry there have been no real updates from me for a couple of days; the occasional phone call has been all that was possible – been a bit choppy!

‘The wind has finally died to spend most of its time in the high 20s gusting 30s with the odd 40 as opposed to 40-50 gusting 70, so looking good. The swell is reducing but that’s not saying a lot, I still have to hold on with one hand all the time and both when I can feel the boat launching. The landing is never very pretty!

‘This morning the wind died a little. I thought: time to go with a little more sail; I don’t want to lose the place on Solidaires now I have taken him. The plan was to change storm jib to staysail – not a huge change but when you still can’t stand properly on deck it adds to the excitement. I got the storm sail down with little problem, thrown down the hatch to sort out at a later date.

‘When I went to pull up the staysail, though, I realised I must have crushed the block somehow at the top, so the halyard wasn’t running freely on the pulley. The only way it did run freely was if I had the halyard straight against the mast but that’s useless to pull up a sail at an angle. So I pulled up another spare block with the spare halyard threaded, pulled it to the top, so now I’m left with a 1:1 halyard instead of the 2:1 I have replaced. Not ideal but it only needs to last another 12-16 hours, by which time I can pull out the solent and fix the original block again in an easier sea! If you don’t sail and don’t understand what I was talking about – don’t worry, it was just an excuse for losing a bunch of miles to the guys behind!

Once I have rebolted the stove to the bulkhead, I plan to cook up a good meal if I can hold the pan on it. I have been living on Mum’s banana bread, Jaffa cakes and nuts for a few days; all very good but I think something more substantial is in order! My work list includes replacing everything that has come off the ‘walls’: lights, etc, mop up the diesel in the bilges and clean everywhere as I have walked it around the boat, wash out everything that has fallen into the bilges in big waves, my hats, etc, find a better hiding place for the rollerball that keeps jumping out of the mouse or off the chart table in the big waves, find what plugs and switches have come out to stop my Sat B and sat C working.

‘Really could do with finding somewhere that does a good massage as my body feels like its been in the ring for a week, but may have to wait a few weeks! Oh oh, I’ve done it now. After that, a takeaway pizza with my mates, wrapped up inside on a cold miserable day with a huge mug of steaming tea. Even the pizza guy gets soaked running from his car to your door so you have to tip him, a few good movies and know that you don’t have to go outside til the sun comes out tomorrow! What a thought.

‘I’m not even going to describe the particulars of this place. I have not been out of my drysuit and harness since Thursday, except of course to use the loo, but even then you need to pick your moment in case you need to run on deck to ease something or do a major course alteration.

‘By the way, thanks to Sam [Davies] for the ff powder; it’s medicated to prevent sores. I thought I should try it out for the long Southern Ocean legs when you spend weeks at a time like this!

‘Better get onto my job list. Writing my update is escapism at the moment. The thought of mopping up diesel that gets into your cuts and stings, and smells for ages is just not pleasant, and you always find some nuts or bolts then you are obliged to spend hours looking for where they might have come from then put them in the pencil pot anyway!

‘Hopefully the next update will come from the sun, or at least pleasant weather with more sail area up!

Em x’