I feel in all honesty I have to put the record straight regarding my so-called bravery. A number of you have made very flattering comments and it's time you all knew what a Big Girl's Blouse I actually am.
There was nothing brave about sailing the Atlantic. Once I was on board and setting sail for Britain, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was trapped! Believe me I thought and thought how I could extracate myself from the situation but even my fertile imagination could come up with no practical means of escape. The nearest I got to a plan was to fall down the companionway (stairs - for the landlubbers) break a leg and then insist on air-sea rescue. I dismissed this as soon as I came up with the scheme, as (a) I didn't want to do it, (b) it would hurt and (c) it costs a small fortune to call out a helicopter. I did think about faking an illness but still (a) and (c) applies.
And ... there was always the plank.
This was the plank I would have been made to walk along if I misbehaved in any way. Peter had to walk along it the night he was keel hauled, and I don't think I could have faced it as stoically as he did. Yes, he was a bit pale and worried looking, but all in all he behaved admirably, going off the side with Anglo Saxon determination on his face, pulled out the other side, maybe retching a bit, but not complaining at all in a typically British way. It was bad enough the night Roger tied me to the mast and flogged me for forgetting to put sugar in his coffee, but no way was I going to be made to walk that plank. Anyway, I had it in mind to use it as a diving board once we got back to Wales.
True bravery comes in the form of Ellen MacArthur.
I know I have wittered on about her tears on the video, but Bloody Hell, what a woman. All my wingeing was really just a cover up for the fact that I would never have the guts to do anything like that myself. Yes, I don't mind rowing solo especially if it is in the safety of a gentle Mediterranean marina, and I have even rowed a 'tired and emotional' Peter back to the boat in the dead of night, but sailing single handed ... never. Not even on Budworth Lake!
Plotting my escape did help pass the time. Another thing I used to do was to try to work out how many hours left of the voyage. Say we will be away 10 days multiply by 24 = 240. We have been out to sea for 48 hours which means ... err .. 8 from 0 is 2 carry 1, 5 from 4 is 9 carry 1, 1 from 2 is 1 so that means ... err .. err .. 192 hours left to go. Oh shit.
I had even optimistically bought a bottle of nail varnish to 'do' my nails, but fat chance. With 20 ft waves, and rogue waves that crashed over the cockpit drenching all who sat there, no way, unless I wanted to get it all over my arms and legs as well.
When we finally sailed into Pwllheli Dave suggested carrying flares a la Ellen but Roger just looked meaningfully at the plank and Dave shut up.
When we got safely moored in Pwllheli harbour, Peter and I jumped ship and fled. Roger had the cat'n'nine'tails out and we heard him muttering about thumb screws. (see Simon's blog on Spanish Inquisition). We caught a train that travelled down the Welsh coast. It was the prettiest line I had ever been on and much more pleasant than being thrown about in rough seas and high winds. Also they had relatively clean 'comfort facilities'. Such a change from that smelly cupboard.
I still don't regret doing the trip. It was all worth while because of the dolphins
and the shearwaters