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Date: 15 Jan 2010 10:17:32
Title: Yes, we are losing to a solo rower!

Hello dot watchers!

Yep, we’re losing to a solo rower and Charlie Pitcher is taking the whole fleet on. In theory the out of class 12 man boat that is trying to break the Guinness World Record of 33 days for the fastest ever Atlantic crossing should be the quickest boat in the fleet, then the fours boats, then the pairs and the slowest should be the solo rowers. This year, Charlie has thrown the rule book out of the window by being revolutionary. Firstly, fair play to all the solo rowers for doing it on their own as the crossing could take up to 100 days or more so mentally they have to be tough as nails. The fundamental reason that Charlie is doing so well is because his new design of boat utilises the prevailing wind much more effectively than the traditional designs which everyone else is rowing in.

 When Charlie signed up to the race a couple of years ago he sat down with a blank piece of paper and said his boat must; have a much larger cabin area to act like a sail, be a shallow hull design to skim across the water and have a desk in his cabin! Charlie then worked with a very talented boat builder to get the boat of his dreams – “JJ”. I was chatting to Charlie in La Gomera and as JJ had been relatively untested in race conditions he said; “it was either going to break hearts or break records”. Well, he looks on schedule for it to be the latter. My parting message to Charlie on the dock was to make sure he beat the South African solo rower Peter Van Kets– keep the trophy in the UK. I didn’t think he’d be taking the whole fleet on but good luck to him.

Life on board Red Arrow is good and I now have a sense of what a prison sentence must feel like. We’re confined 24/7 to a very small area – 24ft long by about 4ft wide and being tall makes it even harder. Over the last 14 days I’ve probably stood upright only a handful of times as the boat is constantly pitching, turning, yawing and you need to have 3 good anchor points fixed firmly to the boat on deck when you’re moving around outside. I can now understand why people collapse or their legs give way when they step onto dry land in Antigua. To help with general mobility I’m spending  10/15 minutes a day doing leg/back muscle stretches in the cabin.    

The breaking news is that I had a good wash yesterday although something you do so regularly at home is such a mission in these conditions. With the salt water, the sun cream and the sweat my skin is always dirty but the wet wipes will do every other day but when enough is enough its time for a proper wash. Bucket of water, some soap and a sponge (couldn’t find the flannel) whilst sat down on deck getting thrown all over the show. The nicest bit was chucking fresh water over my head to finish off. God, I’m missing a power shower!

Just some personal messages ………….

Stu Champion-          Happy Birthday pal. As it’s your birthday, why not treat yourself to a lie in! As it’s not a milestone birthday (like a 30th) you don’t get to be the main article – sorry. Hope everything is going well in Oregon and you’re enjoying your break to the coast. Has Cookie fixed your back???

Dan Holian -              Hello Langer. Des and Troy are doing just fine thanks.

Eugene -                   Your talents are wasted at work – you should become a sports coach with the inspirational text “keep rowing”. You better have packed in smoking by now! Will call the office soon.

AJ & TP -                  Yep, got all your texts and they are coming through fine – thank you. It was really great of you to come out to La Gomera and it was such a shame that you didn’t get to see the start.

Ayresy -                     I love a bit of Minder – a classic. You moved to Chobham yet?

Booker -                      Glad you’re enjoying the dot watching. I’m missing our games of table footie – have you managed to win a game yet?

Ellie -                         I almost choked on my dinner last night when you said you were pregnant – thankfully I carried on reading.

Livvy Wotton -             Who is this “Snout” you keep referring to. Have a good time this weekend.

A&A       -                  Thanks for the updates. Ad – really pleased about the job and the highlight of our day is receiving your “Joke of the Day”. They are so bad - did Dad leave his joke book with you when he came out at Christmas? Keep em coming. Manda – glad bump is progressing and Gracie is all well.

Hero Trew  -                 Isn’t this quite possibly the coolest real name ever??  Hello H. Cracking effort organising the Christmas Party and I tried to eat as much food as I could. Hope everything is going well at IMG and Jem is behaving!

Graham (Rayleigh RT)    -  Amusing texts and I hope you’ve managed to find a webcam for the French ladies fours boat!

My text of the day from yesterday goes to Andy Downie:

“Calling Red Arrow – great work guys. Bernadette is watching the dot all day and doing no housework! Proud of you

Andy – we’ll hurry up as we can’t have you living in that state!

The row must go on – Antigua here we come


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