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Date: 10 Mar 2010 15:17:50
Title: Day 65 - Still 275 miles to go!!!

Okay, I know what you’re all thinking which is probably something along the lines of, “the race has gone on long enough now, you’re less than 300 miles to reach Antigua and seem to have had a couple of days off any chance you can hurry up???” Trust me, if we could we’d be there now!


In my last blog I mentioned that “morale was high” on Red Arrow which must have given us the kiss of death. As you’ve probably read from yesterday’s blog Richie was struggling and as the day progressed he got worse until he hit rock bottom – or as he said, “my worst day yet”. The ocean will break everyone and it is only a matter of time before it gets me. If you have never watched any footage of the space we are living in, the conditions we face and how I see this more as a matter of survival more than a race then have a look on You Tube – I’m sure you’ll find lots under “Ocean Rowing”. This will help you understand what we face 24/7 and the mental toughness you need out here.


There are days when we are in paradise – when everything is working, we’re covering big distances, the sun is shining (not too much though), we have a tail wind, the seas are following and morale is high. There are other times when everything breaks, we’ve on para anchor and not going anywhere or even worse drifting backwards, we have a strong head wind and waves are crashing into Red Arrow and breaking on deck. Rich is fine when we are in “paradise” but really struggles when we’re not and has done all along. I was expecting the high and the lows and during one of our chats yesterday I tried to explain that in my opinion what were are trying to achieve rates as highly as climbing Everest. So few people want to Row the Atlantic or climb Everest, few people attempt them and so few people succeed. I doubt very much that when people attempt Everest they have perfect conditions for the ascent and descent. The weather does what it wants when it wants and I just accept that. Richie takes it personally, get upset and thinks we’re being picked on and he shouldn’t.  Don’t worry, I’m watching his back out here and we’ll get there.


On a slight side note, Rob and Stu onboard “Ocean Summit” are climbing Everest this year. The boys original plan was that they would fly to Nepal via the UK to start their acclimatisation once they’ve rowed the Atlantic. I’m not sure how the race delay has affected their plans but what a year they’re in for! I take my hat off to them for attempting both, let alone back-to-back and I wish them every success.


So we’re within 275 miles of land and have been for the last 3 days and haven’t got any nearer which is very annoying!!! To make matters worse family (Mum, Dad, Grandad, Aunty P & Rich’s Mum) are already in Antigua awaiting our arrival and Laura, Hannah and Richs’ Aunty Nina fly out today. I know more friends or family are coming but I’m not sure who as someone let slip how many are staying in the villa! If the conditions hadn’t changed we should have arrived this Friday which would have meant that we wouldn’t miss anyone. Everyone has different commitments and I am so annoyed because my Grandad has to return to the UK on the 14thand I’ve resigned myself to the fact now that I’ll definitely miss him. It is so hard for people back home to book flights because they obviously have personal and work commitments and the longer you leave the flights the more expensive they get. Sorry for any problems this is causing anyone.


So what do you do onboard a 24ft rowing boat for 24 hours when you’re on para anchor? Here’s how my day panned out yesterday and I didn’t go for a dip yesterday as I couldn’t be bothered to wash afterwards……….


10am     -              Woke up and the sun was just rising (which would be 6am local time). Had a crampt, sweaty and broken nights sleep wedged in the cabin next to Richie. Richie wrote his blog in the cabin and  I went on deck and had some breakfast. The conditions overnight hadn’t changed.

11 am -                 Went back into the cabin and had a read of the emails that had come in. Chatted to Richie and looked through some photos on my iTouch. Rested for a bit.

12:30 -                   Went out on deck for some lunch. Put some sun cream on and gave the deck a real good scrub and clean just for something to do.

14:00 -                   Decided it was time to start reading my first book out on deck. I’d borrowed Oscar Pistorius (aka Blade Runner) the South African double leg amputee described as “the fastest man on no legs” from Richie in La Gomera but hadn’t got round to reading it then. A fascinating read, very inspiring and I’d finished the book by the end of the day. Richie was resting in the cabin.

18:00 -   Dinner time and I ate 2 more wet meals.

18:30 -                   Went into the cabin and replied to a few emails which took a while to send. Richie went to get some fresh air.

19:30 -                   Richie and I had heart to heart on deck and he wasn’t in the mood for a quiz which I thought might cheer him up.

20:00 -                   We both retired to the cabin and I decided to crack open my last family packet of Haribo for us to share.  This brought a smile to Richie’s face!

21:00                     We watched the film Zoolander – absolute gash!

23:00                     Lights out and we decided to keep watch every hour to monitor the conditions any by about 06:30 the following morning we thought it was rowable and pulled the anchor in.


That’s about enough from me but if you’re bored on Thursday night we’re back on air with Buncie at 19:45 GMT – BBC Radio London Sports Show  (94.9 FM). 


Chris from HCL just called and it was good to chat to the boys.


The row must go on – Antigua here we come!





Thanks to the following for getting in touch; Dickie, Goz, Gunny, Aunty P,  Loretta, Matt Collings, Viv Whiteling & Tim Farrow.


A couple of personal messages from me……………..


Nelson –                              You must have been bored or swallowed a joke book – how many texts???


Ayresy -                               I like Georgia’s favourite song! The other day I was only thinking about when we did the Coast to Coast Mountain biking and you celebrated by jumping in the North Sea – madness! We got emailed a new version of the C2C the other day – a triathlon, across the Lake District and Yorkshire Moors which starts in Whitehaven (85k run), swim Lake WIndermere (20k) and  Bike across the Yorkshire Moors and finish in Whitby (160k). One for you and Mikey???


Hilary & Martin –            The Inn at Maybury – oh, how nice that sounds now and I bet it will be one of those free tastings nights!!


Caz  -                                     I thought News Access made your day??? I’m pleased to hear our blogs are helping you pass your time at work. Also, I sat bolt upright when I read your news that the canteen is stopping doing a cooked breakfast. I’d already planned my first days food back at work so I’ll have to re-think now!! Thanks for the emails.


Chris & Heiner –              Lovely to hear from you and hopefully not long now.


Lin Diaby –                          Thanks for the texts and when the weather changes we’ll be in like a bullet.


Mitas –                                 Enjoy the Rammo’s visiting. Say hi to Rob Lowe for me!!


Langer -                                65 days into the trip and you’ve just worked out you can send multiple text messages for free from the website – genius!!! Thanks for the barrage last night.


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