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.

www.aroundalone.com

www.pindar.com

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Regional Gas Installation Manager - South East England

£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service and Breakdown Engineer - South East

£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Manager - Alconbury

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee