20 April

Thu 20 Apr 2006 21:35
Tim here,
Last night was quite something if you like rowing in a river. At times we
were rowing and if we stopped for breath the boat immediately went NE not
SW. Bit by bit the current changed its effect and direction, sometimes
strong, then easing then north and eventually we felt that some progress was
made as we held 1/3 Nm for a few hours, Its so hard to see an end to the 2
hours and then Mick comes to row and asks if things had changed and you
could see the effect when the answer was "No the same". At about 6 am Mick
reported that there was a change and in fact the current had begun to head
south, helping our course and tempers.
Today we have tried to recover our lost ground as we had lost 6 miles north
but remarkably still had progressed 9 miles towards Antigua.The cost is
quite high as the rowing becomes critical but ineffective. It challenges
motivation, comitment and teamwork. it certainly has challenged our
relationship but later tonight we meet for a whisky to celebrate the start
of the finish. We know the job and its challenges and how much it may ask.
At present we are about 80 miles (650 on total)N of Antigua which on our
course of 265T takes us there. However on the way we have to cross the
equitorial current which is currently running at 280T but increases as it
moves north. The eddies and currents which bashed us last night are at the
edge of this current. Our hope is that once in the middle of the curent its
effects will be more predictable and therefore more manageable than the
eddies at the edge. Good news today we have regained the miles south and all
day have steered a course of 255T or less and on a SE wind. If the wind
turns more to the east or even ENE then Antigua looks possible. I am very
optimistic that given a chance we can hit the target.

One more boat last night. Only worrying thing is our Seame radar enhancer
and detector seems to have given up the ghost. Something to look at.

If we see another yacht we will probably give it a call to cadge some food
as it is tight with no reserves if we lose any more time. Watch this space.

Night rowing has been enhanced beautifully by a moon full of peach colous
and shimmer. Shame its waneing as she has been appreciated on lonely and
frustrating nights