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
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.
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!
some personal messages ………….
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???
Holian - Hello
Langer. Des and Troy are doing just fine thanks.
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.
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.
love a bit of Minder – a classic. You moved to Chobham yet?
Glad you’re enjoying the dot watching. I’m missing our games of table
footie – have you managed to win a game yet?
I almost choked on my dinner last night when you said you were pregnant –
thankfully I carried on reading.
Who is this “Snout” you keep referring to. Have a good time this weekend.
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.
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!
(Rayleigh RT) - Amusing texts and I hope you’ve managed
to find a webcam for the French ladies fours boat!
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”
we’ll hurry up as we can’t have you living in that state!
must go on – Antigua here we come