'I feel as if I am going to battle...but I'm confident of coming out of this storm in good shape,' reports Emma Richards

Emma Richards reports today from Pindar, off the coast of Portugal:

‘I feel as if I am going to battle. I don’t know because I have never been and never wish to, and I have been through a few storms before this one, but there has been so much talk about it. It sounds enormous and very much out of the ordinary.

‘It could be very easy to base a decision on others’ actions, but I am in a different situation on a different boat. I have looked at all the information carefully and repeatedly and have made an informed decision about my tactics, so please don’t think I am going into this ignorantly. I have a solid boat and I have spent all day preparing for this weather. Everything is lashed down, stacked, fixed since the last storm.

‘I have spent the day checking everything, including the back-up pilot, back-up compass for the back-up pilot and I ran them all for a couple of hours today, apart from checking them just to be extra sure of the procedure of changing over under pressure. I have made a mass of pasta in case it is too hard to even make cous cous (which is only boiling a kettle anyway!), topped up fuel so I don’t need to in bad weather and made water for a week. I have had lots of sleep and still have a good few hours before it hits hard.

‘I know this storm will be severe, I am expecting that, and Thierry (Solidaires) made a very good point at the press conference [last week in Brixham] that for the first week we are seamen then when we have passed this storm we can race again. I fully understand everyone that is heading for shelter – I am almost jealous simply ‘cos I will miss having a beer with my other skipper mates (and a hot shower, dry bed that doesn’t move, food that takes more than one pan to make?). I wonder if they will all decide to leave again at the same time and even have a restart?

‘I see that Simone is still in Brest and Bruce has just written me a note saying he doesn’t think his mainsail will hold up to the weather (have seen it, he has a very good point), I have noticed that Solidaires has wavered from the obvious course but maybe he took a different tactic through the high pressure ridge we have just passed. So it leaves just Bernard, Thierry and myself [and Graham Dalton has decided to continue since Emma wrote this] before we get to the crunch!

‘Psychology alone would have me already sitting in a bar in Portugal but I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t confident of coming out of this storm in good shape. Well, all thats left is to sleep, wait for the wind to build, reef early and take it easy? A long way to go!

Em x’