The good news is that
we’re now moving and so should our dot, so you should have something to watch
again! We were hit by a quick moving storm early evening although thankfully
we’d put the para anchor out about an hour before because our progress was such
hard work for such little reward. Yesterday we rowed for 12 hours and covered
less than 10 miles as we had no help from the conditions and every stroke
required maximum effort from our bodies – stroke after stroke over a 2 hour
shift really does wear you down especially this close to the finish.
We did our
3rd radio interview last night with BBC Radio London which went well
from out point of view. After that we had some shut eye whilst the angry
Atlantic did its stuff outside. Richie and I kept checking the conditions
throughout the night for the first opportunity we could get going again. It
turned out to be 4am – lucky us! Richie pulled the para anchor in and I set up
ready to row and Red Arrow was moving really nicely through the water and it was
such a good feeling to be back rowing again after 4 days covering 20 miles and
fighting for every metre.
In my last blog I
mentioned about our competitors, Rob and Stu onboard “Ocean Summit” who are
Rowing the Atlantic and then climbing Everest. I think I’ve given the second
kiss of death in so many blogs as we received a text yesterday from Hannah to
say that they are pulling out of the race with only 400 miles to go. What a
tough decision this close to finishing and apparently one of them needs to get
to Everest and the other has immediate Army commitments. I believe the plan is
for one of the support yachts to sail to them and tow them into Antigua. We feel
absolutely gutted for both of them as we know the work that they would have put
into getting to the start line let alone rowing 2100 miles! Which reminds me, I
must text them after this.
The last 200 miles or
so are critical as the margin for error gets smaller and smaller as we get
closer to Antigua. Picture a tiny island just 14 miles across surrounded by the
mighty Atlantic, we are aiming for the South of the island and at the very
Southern tip (Cape Shirley) is an imaginary finish line extending 1 mile due
south into the Atlantic where there is no marker in the sea just coordinates
we’ve been given. We have to cross that imaginary finish line from East to West
and then just to rub it in have to row a couple more miles to English Harbour
where we can step onto dry land! If we cross the finishing line then not only
would we rowed an Ocean we would have finished the race and get a race position.
It can happen that boats have to be towed to English Harbour because they have
been blown too far North or South and can’t row against the conditions. If this
happens then you’ll have the satisfaction of rowing an Ocean but not finishing
Once we get within 20
miles or so of the finish we’ll be under the expert guidance of Jonathan
Cornelius who heads up ABSAR (Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue) and escorts
the rowing teams across the finish line. Rachel and Lin (Red Arrow’s former
owners) have told us that he has a sexy voice but I’d imagine even Stephen
Hawking would do if for you after 70 odd days at sea! Hopefully the
weather will hold, Red Arrow will clock up the miles and Jonathan will guide us
in so the party can begin.
The row must
go on – Antigua here we come!
the following for getting in touch; Mary Emes, Matt Hort, Tom Farrow and
A couple of
personal messages from me……………..
Everyone in Antigua - Sorry, we’ll be there
Aunty Jean -
Thanks for your texts and I hope all is under control for the wedding. I
James Kinnaird -
Hello cous – almost there and hopefully see you soon as it has been ages.
I hope the breakages are holding up and not long now until the cast is
off. I hope Gozza is waiting on you hand and foot!