Sailing: Exhaustion kicks in as adrenalin from the last leg subsides

Part 12: A fairly lazy day apart from a quick trip up Table Mountain with my parents. Absolutely fantastic. The views are incredible. Just as we got up there the heat increased – so intense.
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Sunday 24 November

Sunday 24 November

Rented apartment, Cape Town, 22.40

A fairly lazy day apart from a quick trip up Table Mountain with my parents. Absolutely fantastic. The views are incredible. Just as we got up there the heat increased – so intense. It's so dry and you have to be careful to keep yourself hydrated. The shore crew working on Pindar were saying that the temperature in the cabin got up to 40 degrees when they were charging the batteries – almost unbearable.

Strange to think that when the next leg starts in a fortnight, it will only be a matter of days before it gets so cold that I'll have to remember not to sleep with my arms straight. It takes so long to get the circulation going again when you wake – even after just 20 minutes – that you have to try to avoid situations like that.


Tuesday 26 November

Apartment, CT, 21.06

Time was going so slowly when I was desperate just to get to Cape Town, counting the minutes while I was bouncing around up the mast or spending hours on end listening to the creaking and groaning under the pressure of high winds. Now two weeks have disappeared just like that. The luxury lifestyle – freshwater showers, flushing toilets – certainly speeds things up. And preparations on Pindar are well underway. The mast went back on the boat today, always a slightly worrying manoeuvre, but I'm pleased to say that it went in without a hitch. On the downside, the adrenalin from the last leg has just about stopped flowing and I'm absolutely exhausted.


Friday 29 November

On board Pindar, Cape Town, 11.50

This morning was amazing. For the past three days, I've been visiting local schools as part of the Global Education Challenge which has been set up to run in tandem with the race. The idea is that kids get involved in the race, follow the progress over the internet and also learn lots of different things relevant to their curriculum. The best thing about the project for me is that it gets people involved in sailing. It's such a great sport and it always frustrates me that it's considered to be élitist.

There are so many aspects to it – geography, maths, physics, computing, engineering, you name it – on top of the fundamental of having a goal to achieve. And trying to get that message across means using the time between legs to take part in a roadshow. Nice irony for a round-the-world sailor.

Hence the truck that turns into a stage, the DJ booth, the giant screen, a 7ft inflatable globe, the MC (whose name is Sky189), and the excellent DJ Hammer. They use the music to get the kids enthused and then me and one of the other race skippers, Graham Dalton, give presentations and show video footage of our boats and what we do in the race.

This morning we went out to the Walter Teka School and we've just finished the show, our last one in Cape Town. Watching the kids' enthusiasm, listening to their questions, trying to answer, it has been such a humbling experience. Not to mention thoroughly enjoyable. As the show was winding down and the music was still playing, the kids formed a huge circle and took it in turns to dance in the centre. It wasn't long before Robin, Pindar's team manager, was there in the middle leading a gigantic conga. Anyone wanting to join in (the project, not the conga) should have a look at the kids' website (, where they can register for the project and email us skippers.