I’ve moved from my winter’s endurance training into a very enjoyable phase of my preparations for the race – ocean familiarisation. For the next 6-8 weeks, home will be a Sigma 38 yacht called Steamy Windows, on passage from the Cape Verde Islands to the UK via the Azores. This is a perfect opportunity to get my sea legs, check I don’t suffer from seasickness, put my navigation theory into practice, learn about marine technology, and generally get used to life on the ocean wave.

Before I left, I staggered through a final hectic round of meetins with potential sponsors, in the optimistic hope that financial matters will progress in the right direction (i.e. net IN-flow) during my absence.

Then I picked up the rucksack I’d packed in Leeds over a week, several counties and one house-move ago, and headed for the airport. I’ve been reluctant to fly every since I found out about the huge environmental impact, but there was no other way to get to Cape Verde in a realistic timescale.

Arrived on board Steamy at 2am last night – Russ skilfully managing to get one exhausted new crewmate and her rucksack down the rickety jetty and into Steamy’s tiny dinghy, in the dark, without mishap.

I crawled into my cabin, wondered how I was going to sleep with the unaccustomed movement of the boat… and that was my last conscious thought before falling inot a deep and much-needed slumber.

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