Ericsson navigator Steve Hayles describes his love/hate relationship with VOR and why life is so 'simple'

Date and time8 March at 0930

I can’t honestly confess to ever having had a real job and, as I go through my love / hate relationship with this Volvo Race, I occasionally find myself very jealous of anyone who gets to see their family on a daily basis and who can walk away, even if only for a few short hours, from the stress of their job and workplace.

We are at the back of the fleet and desperate to make gains; the anxiety of sitting here for hours at a time in little or no wind, almost praying for breeze, is enough to stop you eating and sleeping and yet, at this very moment, if you could transport me to my living room, hand me a cold beer and stick a decent English comedy on TV, it would still be a hard decision to leave.

Sure, it would nice for an hour, and I would love to remove the huge weight I feel from my shoulders, but with that decision would come all the other problems and chores that we simply don’t have to worry about. It would mean traffic and driving to work, and two weeks holiday a year, and office politics, and wearing a suit, and that terrible Monday morning feeling, and shopping, and deciding what to eat … you get my drift.

Out here, your existence is simple, and your aims are clear; I can be ‘at work’ about 15 seconds after I wake up and I literally couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is (which is a good thing if you ask me). It’s been a very tough leg mentally with a lack of speed and the looming possibility of finishing in last place, but I am still in the luxurious position that most people will never be lucky enough to experience; I only have to worry about one thing.

This may not seem a huge luxury, but believe me it is; if you take the biggest concern you have and deal with it in isolation, it becomes a great deal easier to manage. Getting this boat up the leaderboard is stressing me out, no question, but I don’t have to combine that with any other worries.

On top of all this you get to properly appreciate the small things a little more; this morning’s treat has been a moderate breeze from a direction we like and a fantastic sunrise. The water’s flat and warm and today I am going into my kit bag for some clean clothes!

There’s still four days to go and lots more frustration but to be honest I would stay out here another four weeks if it meant a better result and when this summer comes and I am sat at home with my cold beer, I will appreciate it so much more for having spent a few weeks at sea.