If you've ever seen a Formula 1 race start, you'll get anidea of what a Clipper Race start is like. Twelve boats are all trying tooutpace each other to get an advantage as they head out into the ocean.
The start of Race 3 from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was aspectacular one with Copacabana Beach and Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.I was in charge of the boat's video and photo cameras so was trying to getshots as boats whizzed around us. At one point, three of our rivals were racingtogether neck-and-neck - sunbathers on the beach should have got a good view -and we also had planes from the local airport roaring overhead.
But once the excitement was over, we got down to theserious business of ocean racing. And that meant living life at an angle.
Because the wind was constantly blowing from one side ofour boat, Switzerland sailed along at a 25 degree tilt. That meant everythingfrom sailing, cooking and sleeping has to be done with care. Getting out of bed(especially if you're in a top bunk) required careful manoeuvring to preventyou tumbling to the floor and the crew members in the kitchen had to watch outfor cups sailing out of the overhead cupboards every time we hit a bumpy wave.
We walked slowly like zombies along the corridors, constantly looking for thenext handhold. And on deck, where there are few handholds, we crawled on handsand knees like babies to prevent us falling over. It is an exhausting way tolive and a few of us have bruises after taking a tumble.
But the boat is now levelled out as we dodge the Atlanticweather systems and close in on Cape Town. The whole race will take around 17days and there should be more spectacular views of Cape Town and Table Mountainat the end.