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Date: 28 Jan 2010 10:35:12
Title: Last Couple of Days...............

Okay, make yourself a cuppa or print this out for when nature calls and get comfy……….


Firstly, Father Christmas doesn’t exist – I had a very short Christmas list and I got none of it!


As you may have seen from the race website the last week has seen mixed results for Red Arrow. We slipped down through the fleet very quickly and covered very low mileage in comparison to the rest of the fleet for a 3 or 4 days. It was very demoralising for Rich and I and we didn’t understand why. We felt that we hadn’t changed anything we were originally doing that had proved to be fairly successful. I sent an email to Dad to explain how frustrated we were and below is part of Dad’s response;


“I know you're both frustrated at what you perceive to be the slow progress and being overtaken by others. But remember, it's a long way still to go and the order will change all the time and the difference between all you guys in the middle is not that many miles. The really important thing is not to worry about the others. You know you're not going to win it - it looks like Charlie will and I wouldn't be surprised if he beats the 12 man boat! Just focus on enjoying it and staying safe. It just doesn't matter where you come compared to others. It's your personal challenge - you against the ocean. No more, no less.”


As always, Dad knows what to say and when to say it. Thanks Dad – this really helped me.


Days at Sea:                 24 (which has flown by for me)

Last 24 Hours:              We haven’t rowed since 11:30 yesterday morning (Wed 27th)

Other Boats:                 Nope, still not heard or seen any

What’s been happening?

An update from the last couple of days…………………

1.     Had Christmas Day

It wasn’t a traditional celebration I can assure you. It was the first day that we’ve been to sea that it was overcast and because we were aware that the weather was moving in, rather than giving ourselves the morning or afternoon off we decided on a 2 hour celebration window. Out came all the various presents, envelopes, letters etc onto the deck. We were well and truly spoilt. A special mention to Rachel and Lin (former owners of Red Arrow) – we loved the food treats and all of the books were inspired - crossword book, Brilliant Answers by AQA (I keep boring Rich with “did you know”) and most of all, the Quiz book. I’m currently 2-1 up in the series which proves to me that state education is clearly better than private!

2.     Cleaned the Hull

Various people had suggested that to increase boat speed we need to clean the hull of various barnacles/growths to give us less resistance through the water. To do this one of us would have to get in the water. Rich wasn’t keen so it was down to me and he was on look out on deck. Armed with a wall paper scraper and wearing my Sport Soccer briefs, goggles and attached to the boat by an extended ankle strap I bombed into the water. I couldn’t believe how many of these little f*ckers were on our hull – the cheeky freeloaders trying to get a free lift to Antigua. Operation removal came into swing and after an hour the hull was as smooth as a baby’s bottom again. I didn’t see any marine life when I was in the water but I was keeping an eye out for Free Willy. It was actually quite nice to be doing something different.  

3.     Swapped Shift Patterns

Our increased boat mileage might have something to do with the fact that Rich and I swapped shift patterns. I was struggling to stay awake on some of the early morning shifts and although I would still have the same number of shifts a change was a good idea. It certainly suited my body clock better as I was firing on all cylinders for my new shifts.


Rich and I are currently stuck in adverse weather on our para anchor (prevents us from drifting backwards) and we’re confined to our very small, damp cabin. The forecast is that it could be like this 

for 4 or 5 days which will be unbearable. Please keep us entertained.


Looking forward to:     

  1. Rowing again – in a strange way, when you are rowing you are craving time off to rest and sleep but we’ve now had a day of that and I’m ready to start rowing again.
  2. The Hammers beating Blackburn
  3. Murray thrashing Cilic

Joke of the day goes to my Christmas cracker;


“Two fish in a tank. One says to the other – do you know how to drive this thing?“


Some personal messages from me………….


Aunty P -             We loved the home-made Christmas paper hats and great effort on the card. Thanking you.


Mum & Dad –      I read your combined good luck / leaving / Christmas card on Christmas day. You made me cry for half an hour! Thank you for everything and can’t wait to see you both in Antigua. Love you lots.


Nanny D -         Thank you ever so much for the Christmas parcels – we loved them. However, the “one size fits all” for the Willy Warmers doesn’t work – I’ve grown since you last saw me in the bath! I hope you’re enjoying Mary & Reg’s place.


Sue Hume -      The home made Christmas cake was lovely, thank you.


Gozza –            One of my favourite presents for Red Arrow – a selection of topless women wearing Santa hats which were already laminated with double sided tape. To keep you happy Gozza we have put them up in the cabin!


Strawbs -          Thanks ever so much for the letter although I couldn’t understand a word of it so I passed it onto Rich (a fellow dyslexic) and he translated for me. The incident in the kebab shop was not my fault – he left his chips unguarded! I love the Churchill quote; “Never, never, never give up”. This must have been the motto you adopted when you were chasing Bev all that time. I especially liked the photo – even Frapey was smiling!


Ells -                You won the Benfleet 15 miler, congrats. By the sounds of it your winnings would have just about covered the B&B costs for Grandad’s! Looking forward to going on some runs when we get back. Come to think of it, I’m initially looking forward to standing up straight without feeling like I’m pissed.


Wendy C –        Glad you had a good time in Oz. No, we weren’t both naked in the cabin when we were doing the radio interview. I can’t believe a lady in your office was welling up listening to us – were we that bad??? Good luck flat hunting.


Ad -                        What’s happened to our joke of the day????


Amos -                  Ah, the  Vandals away trip to Guernsey. I’m gutted I missed that one although it seems we had the same result. Did you get sin binned in my honour?  Can you send through some recent Vandals match reports/scores  etc  so  I can keep up to date?


Olly Sell -            You would love this. Want to buy a boat when we get back and do the 2011 race?


Caz -                Yep, slow day today and please try and blow really hard! I wasn’t expecting that sort of email from a married woman. Say hi to everyone at work and I’m missing the lunch club.


Smithy /  Kebab -         Blue & blue - good to hear from you. Rich isn’t enjoying the stripe system out here!


Debra -             A victory at the Monte Carlo rally please. Rich and I did think that with a woman driver and a woman navigator a Tom Tom might be worth packing! Good luck.


CT -                  Please can you contact the Iridium website and ban Oli Dudley from being able to text us? He sent the following; “Boys. I’m at home with my feet up watching the box. I’ve a nice steak for dinner and a cold pint. Keep rowing lads – chin up.”.Rich read it out to me whilst I was rowing and we simultaneously called him the c word at the same time!


last and most importantly……………………


Laura -             I’ve missed you so much and this is the by far the longest we’ve ever been apart and it isn’t nice. I’m really sorry to have left you and for doing a selfish, time consuming and life threatening race but I figured you’ll forgive me when you’re sunbathing in Antigua for 2 weeks. My Christmas presents were amazing – A Gliding lesson, Kendall Mint cake and Terry’s Chocolate Orange (which I hope counts as one of my 5 a day). However, best of all were the stress relief fake boobs which genuinely do help our hands. I’ve checked the race rules and this is the only exception I can see where a “motorboat” is permissible in this race. Thank you for all the daily updates you’re sending us. Love you lots and can’t wait to see you.


Sorry to bore you all but that’s it from me.


The row must go on – Antigua here we come.




P.S. Rich has just opened a harmonica from David Moss. Rich says thanks and I’m trying to find the mute button!



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