25th April

Tue 25 Apr 2006 22:37
Tim here,
Is this the beginning of the end. At the moment we are trying to position
the boat for an approach towards Antigua. We have recently been stopped in
tracks by severe eddies. These made such an impact on us because we were in
light winds which if were strong would enable the boat to power through the
eddy more effectively. We have saught advice and seems that we had landed in
an area which was a sheer line of the Equitorial Current. Theres much more
to it, beyond me and this blog, but going south was the only sure way to
avoid a
repeat of the stop, start effect of rowing into eddies.
We were also about 90 miles north of Antigua with the ocean running passes
the island, going north. Again we need to get further south or risk missing
the island altogether which was a concern with all the southerlies of last
week. For the last few days and a good forcast we have winds from the NE and
E which has enabled us to push hard southwards. In the first 3 days we have
gone about 36 miles as well as pushing about the same west. We are going to
try and keep doing this emphasis on going south until we have only west to
go. That would mean that we are giving ourselves a good chance to hit the
island even the harbour. The harbour called English harbour, is on the south
of the island so we are going to try and aim about 5 miles south of this
point. We think it will be easier to navigate more accurately if we approach
from the south.
We can only go where the winds allow but hope with the current forecast to
soon be in reach of the same latitude as the harbour. If we pinch a bit here
and there and have no southern winds we are hopeful that even a row into the
harbour is possible. We would love that but many rowers need a tow at the
end so only time will tell. (Even Chay Blyth had a tow).

Mick is an engineer and ejoys his maths and informs me that if i multiply
the sine of the angle by the speed i can tell if its quicker to go south at
1.6KN 30 degrees off west or 1.2 @ 40 degrees. Exactly thats what i thought.
However its now on a chart pinned to the bulkhead for perusal. My scheme is
as follows. If in the morning i have to shut both eyes cos of glare we are
too west. If in the afternoon my left leg above the knee gets the sun i'm
too far south and in the evening if the sunset is directly over my shoulder
we need to push a little the other way so we can see it better. However with
a bit of luck the two together will produce the right result and we'll find

Its Mick, take no notice of him he's had too much sun. At 21 00hrs this
evening we agreed to free off and hurtle down the wave front taking what
ever speed we can get , we have to have an eye on the southings though and
have set a maximum track angle of 260.

Yes Donna I am still on the boat, my spotty little ar.... is still on board.
When I look at Tim I wander where he keeps his private stash of food which
helps him to look so shall we say, healthy. I am counting my ribs at the mo.
Ocean rower Tiny Small told me the other day he lost 6 stone on his
crossing, he got stuck in eddies too! Anyway we have escaped our eddies for
the time being and for good I hope.

Fishing produced another lunch the other day before some whopper managed to
take all the tackle. The problem is that the fishing tackle we have is just
not up coping with the dorado. Getting them on the hook seems
straightforward but the power of strike is immense.

The problem all along is how would I or we would row an ocean differently
next time!! but will there be a next time would it be allowed!!! The trouble
with ocean rowing is that it is usually a once in life time experience,there
are very few what you might call experienced ocean rowers. Don't worry Pat
only musing.

Certainly things could be improved, better seats and runners, better stove
arrangements, better rudder and tiller arrangement, better storage
arrangements, better more robust electrics designed for laptop and water
maker loads, better water maker arrangements with installed spare for
instance, the list goes on.

I really hope that we can now go on to lay English Harbour in one i.e no tow
in. We need the weather and no eddies, we need a bit of luck, the will to
succeed is immense so no problems there.
Tim is so keen to nail it this time as he would not have the nerve to
request a further pass out.