Sailing: Too dangerous to sleep... I am tired, wet, cold and hungry

Part 2: Emma Richards, the skipper of Pindar, records her progress in the Around Alone single-handed round-the-world yacht race

Sunday 15 September, Travel Inn, New York, 08.30

After my last night on land I woke at 6am, simultaneously exhausted and wide awake. My stomach was churning. Nerves and excitement. I'm waiting for my parents to walk me down to the boat. At sea, 18.00: I had my final skippers' briefing this morning and left the dock with my shore crew, who jumped off half an hour before the start, as per race rules. I spotted my spectator boat and felt an enormous sense of pride and sadness as they cheered. Just me and the boat now. I was pleased with my start. Moderate 10 to 15 knots of breeze, southerly, so slightly more difficult. It means you have to make lots of short tacks back and forth to zigzag into the open seas. It wasn't long before I put up my gennekar. Nerves have disappeared, excitement has taken over.

Monday 16 September, Past Nantucket Shoals, 19.00

I had great boat speed (22 knots at times) and fantastic downwind sailing. But I haven't managed any sleep at all because there are too many fishing boats to avoid. My first night sailing around the world alone and I was kept awake by the traffic! Passing Nantucket Shoals, I was up to 30 knots of breeze and decided to roll the gennekar in. Things became tricky. The furling line cover caused a jam in the furler, it wouldn't go out or in. It snapped and I needed to rethread it. One lifejacket, one harness and three life-lines later, I was still precariously up on the bow when the boat went on some mad surfing mission. I gave up that attempt. Eventually, when I had the sail on the deck, I somehow had to get to each corner, untie it, and feed all 145 square metres of it down below – into a box with a small round hole in the top. My patience and strength were already stretched when a 40-knot squall came through with rain like I have never seen. I could hardly breathe for water. When I finally wiped my eyes, a supertanker appeared less than a mile away crossing my stern. I can't sleep at the moment. It's too dangerous.

Tuesday 17 September, South of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 20.40

I finally managed to sleep in the early hours, four 20-minute bursts in six hours. Luxury. I also cooked some pasta, my first hot meal since New York. I'm having massive problems receiving the weather grid files. This data is vital to know what's around you and what's coming up. The computer system crashes every time the boat crashes over a wave.

Thursday 19 September, South of Newfoundland, 09.00

A particularly low day yesterday. The thing I fear most – the solitude – has kicked in. I'm a couple of degrees further south than the rest of the fleet. This may pay off in the long-run but I'm feeling slightly out of it. I am tired, wet, cold and hungry. I have no dry clothes. It's particularly hard as the polling shows I'm in last place. I've just spoken to Andrew Pindar, my sponsor. He reiterated that there was no pressure and to do my best. He said this is just the beginning and as long as I'm still in the race, I can still win. In one sense this was reassuring. In another it just frustrated me that with all this unconditional support, I may not deliver. 17.00: I've just played one of three CDs my sister, Philippa, made for me. Loads of great songs and, to my surprise, loads of messages from family, friends, shore crew. Thanks Pip. And a special message from Tracey Edwards, who gave me my first break in ocean racing. Awesome.

Friday 20 September, Past Grand Banks, 12.00

Bit further north now. The Northerly wind has turned really cold. Wearing extra layers, two hats, gloves. Problem with weather grid files resolved. Feeling much better, pulling back some ground. The drop in wind makes this tough but the physical demands are easier at least.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower