On the final leg to the start of the rally the family are seasick, Yanni cuts his head and a crewmember does a runner. Will has concerns about the coming week.

The trip from Haslar to Torquay was not the trip we hoped for – an extra crewmember who did a runner, autopilot playing up, seasickness and Yanni cut his head!

We left Gosport on Friday for Yarmouth. It was a nice enough trip, not too taxing, four hours’ sail. Picked up a buoy, watertaxi into town and had that holiday feeling. Only eight hours in, and the office is lightyears away!

Caught the tide past the Needles on Saturday. Fair bit of motoring. Funny that, you’re on a yacht, yet you always motorsail more than you planned. Still. we were on our way to the rally. Into Weymouth where we were to pick up our additional crew. She had wanted to join in Torquay, but I wanted a trial before we set off for three weeks. Three weeks is a long time to spend on a boat if you don’t get on. She was supposedly experienced, and never seasick. She wasn’t and she was. At least on this trip. Once we rounded Portland Bill we were hit by SW-W 6 with gusts of 7. Not a very comfortable passage (understatement).

Autopilot lost the will to live, everyone out of action. Yanni was poorly, and Brigitte had her hands full looking after him. Evita was seasick for the first time in a long time and our crew sat there – quietly dying in a corner. Seven straight hours of helming, beating into a 6-7. Muscles I didn’t even know I had ached. To make matters worse, Yanni got a nasty cut on the forehead. Bled like nobody’s business. Brigitte’s a trained paramedic, so she took care of him like only she can. Still, trip to the hospital just to be on the safe side. They “glued” him together. Whatever next?

Our crew decided to do a runner. She felt she lacked the commitment. Don’t blame her. Glad we had the trial. Would have been a lot worse if she came to that conclusion halfway across the Bay.

It’s crunch time – what do we do? Faced with a 4/5 day trip across Biscay, not autopilot, three of us hand-helming all the way. Forecast not that good. Rally organisers say it won’t be a problem. With a full complement and a working autopilot I would agree with them. As we are, I’m not sure. I worry, but as skipper, I guess it’s my job. When do we make the call, what is the point of no return? Will a holiday cruise turn into a voyage of endurance? Will the family surprise me? Will I have to face my own limitations? Where are my limits? Right now, we’re closer as a family than we’ve ever been; yet, somehow, I feel very much alone.