Sailing: Sleep at last - despite the deafening sound of crashing waves

Part 3: Emma Richards, the skipper of Pindar, records her progress in the Around Alone single-handed round-the-world yacht race

Saturday 21 September, East of Grand Banks, 11.00

Having spent six hours hand steering overnight with full mainsail in perfect surfing conditions – and under clear, moonlit skies – I decided to put up something more conservative and get some sleep. But a 34-knot gust hit as I was taking down the gennaker, there was a broach (tipped up on one side in a very dramatic fashion) and it went straight over the front. The sound of ripping sail. Ouch! Spent two hours getting it back on deck. Nightmare. I'm beyond exhausted and sitting here wondering what those sails in the forehatch would say if they could talk. "Wow, I thought she crumpled me badly yesterday, but LOOK AT YOU! Women drivers! When's Josh [the previous owner] coming back?" I need some sleep.

Newfoundland Basin, 17.19

The day got better. A couple of small birds came to visit and took the liberty of looking around my cabin. New rule to prevent any little surprises in my stuff. No birds inside except me.

Sunday 22 September, Mid-Atlantic, 20.46

Thick newspaper, sports pages, a flick through the telly, a glass of fresh OJ, full cooked brekkie, walk into town, kick some leaves, late lunch in the pub, home and relax. As if. It's been one of those long days with shifting wind that makes napping difficult. Just as you close your eyes, the boat hoons off on its ear in the wrong direction or sits like a dead duck if you stay on pilot. It takes more energy to climb in the bunk and back out than just staying put at the helm. So I'm closing my eyes until we tip and I get thrown off, and then steering again. Morale is good. Or as Robin Gray, my team manager says, I'm keeping my pecker up. Whatever that means to a girl.

Tuesday 24 September, Still mid-Atlantic, 21.09

I had some of the best surfing ever today, but spent a long time fighting with myself about whether or not to put up the gennaker, one of five head sails I have on board. It can make you fly if you have constant wind speed. But if the wind is very gusty and it becomes too big and powerful, you run the risk of turning the boat on its side. It's a huge amount of sail to control on your own. Confident me – forgetting recent experience – said put it up. Conservative me said no. A 38-knot squall put the debate on ice. Other developments: I can hear some muttering from the sails up forward, and I've started talking to the autopilot. I've also broken my video camera. Waiting for the next position report now feels like waiting for my final-year university exams every time.

Thursday 26 September, 400 miles south-west of Land's End, 18.23

Huge waves, too much wind and a constant 40 knots. I've been crashing from wave to wave, thundering into the huge walls of water and you wouldn't believe the deafening sound of the waves pounding the deck. The boat is screeching and complaining each time. Can't wait for it to stop. Hope there is not too much damage. Positive news: my last position report showed I was only a few miles behind Hexagon, so I decided to tack south. As the winds shifts to the south-east I should be well placed for entering the Channel. One confession: It's the most exciting part of the race but I've had four hours sleep. Feeling almost brand new.

Friday 27 September, 260 miles SW of Land's End, 10.00

I've just found out that I'll be world record holder shortly, for being the first woman ever to complete a transatlantic crossing from west to east in a monohull. I'm beginning to motor –I could make fourth. Can't wait for Torbay. I should be in late morning on Sunday – just in time for my roast. A meal not from a packet. A few beers. A large dry bed that doesn't move.

Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey


Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game