Grant Dalton has a date with a circulation specialist in Auckland next week for treatment for badly damaged feet.
Dalton has been on a cocktail of pain-killers to deal with the trenchfoot he picked up in the freezing conditions of the Southern Ocean on leg four of the round-the-world race between Auckland and Rio de Janeiro.
Dalton's yacht, Amer Sports One, finished a disappointing fifth yesterday and one of his first tasks was to seek medical help for his damaged and very painful feet.
Trenchfoot is one below frostbite and involves serious nerve damage, usually from having constantly wet and cold feet.
It earned its name after troops fighting in the trenches in Europe during the First World War were badly affected.
"It is really giving me a lot of grief," Dalton said. "It is impossible to sleep because of the pain."
He said the nerve damage to his feet could be damaging long-term and seriously slowed him down on the yacht.
"It slows you because you can't sleep in your off watch. You also can't walk properly, so when you try to lift a sail it hurts your feet.
"I'm taking a lot of painkillers, but they have made me drowsy."
Dalton said he was gutted at losing places at the last minute after sailing most of the race in second place behind leg-winner and overall race leader illbruck.
Six hours out of Rio, Amer Sports One hit a flat patch and was virtually becalmed as yacht after yacht passed it. The crew eventually crossed in fifth place behind illbruck, djuice, Tyco and Assa Abloy.
"We had mortgaged second place," Dalton said, "but thinking about it now, we probably put a little too much emphasis trying to go from second to first, rather than watching our back.
"It was very close, but after 22 days, to lose it in the last six hours was a bitter pill. However, that is yacht racing - it happens."