03 Mar 2006
It won't be long before Roz sees land again . . .
and it won't be La Gomera.
Great excitement today! this morning there was an email from a commercial ship: "Hey all, 2300Z (or thereabouts) March 2. I just passed Roz in position 17-01.145N X 058-05.393W. She sounds good, says she needs nothing and would appreciate it very much if I wouldn't run her over with my 950 ft long ship. She asked a very understandable question as our conversation developed..."Do I sound sane to you, Martin?"...Ha! I couldn't bring myself to say...'Well Roz, you did leave the Canary Islands in a rowboat three months ago', so I said...'Sure!! Roz, it was a pleasure to talk to you.' Martin"
There followed an exchange of emails as I enquired if there was any further crumb of information after two weeks of silence. One reply confirmed that the problem was indeed satphone failure. There was also a phone call direct from the ship, so Roz had obviously given them my telephone number in spite of the fact that she thought I might already be in Antigua. Thanks guys!
Further exciting news is that she is back above latitude 17 degrees and the wind is ESE, blowing her slightly north instead of south, for a change. Roz will probably have less than 200 miles to go by the time you read this message.
I have received some lovely messages from people in Antigua welcoming me and offering help in various ways. It will be wonderful to be there amongst them all.
Sponsored mile: Sebastian Pearey, your mile at 2739 is coming up very soon.
|Atlantic Row Part 4||
02 Mar 2006
If you read the News section of the Atlantic Rowing Race website, you will see that it is headed: Come in Boat No.15 - Sedna Solo. Also mentioned is the fact that once the boats arrive, further scrutineering takes place to assess whether any race penalties would be applied. As Roz has not had any assistance to date, one thing that will be examined is the status of her fresh water ballast bottles. As you can see in the picture, the bottles were sealed before departing from La Gomera. If water-making gadgets break down crews need to use their ballast for drinking water, and this incurs penalty points. Up to the point where we lost contact, I do not think that Roz had had to use any of hers. Since then, has she, or hasn't she? That is the question.
Today arriving home about 4.30pm, I checked the Woodvale site to see what mileage Roz had done, and was dismayed to see no sign of movement since first thing this morning. A phone call to Teresa at Woodvale sorted that out. Apparently the battery of the first beacon that Roz had been using since November 30th had run flat. She had switched to another beacon, but this had not yet been 'tuned in' to the Woodvale software. What a relief! By 5pm she had done 27 miles, and being 4 hours behind GMT still had some hours of daylight left. She is also very very near to latitude 17. The signs are good.
Grateful thanks to people for more delightful messages (e.g. it's increasingly difficult to live and work with all fingers and toes crossed!), and those who have recently made contributions to the Prince's Trust. A reminder to those who have paid for a place at The Party that they will need to bring along photographic identification on the night. Details of the party on the home page of Roz' website, including a pdf file of the invite which can be downloaded.
|Atlantic Row Part 4||
01 Mar 2006
If you watched the TV programmes about Ben Fogle and James Cracknell you may recall seeing Ben on the deck of their boat punching the air and shouting those words. When I saw that Roz had done 44 miles yesterday, and moved up to 1655.74 degrees of latitude it all seemed so exciting and a real beginning to count down. Combined with my own preparations to fly there, confirmation of accommodation and other vital details, I can hardly wait! A few more days to go yet.
There may be a day or two without a dispatch, but I promise that there will be some news and pictures when the BIG DAY arrives. There are still a few more sponsored miles on the list - one received today - so before I depart I will give the names. Two of them are actually after arrival in Antigua, presumably to be celebrated at English Harbour.
No news from Roz, and, of course, no news from Monty. I was looking through our photographs and came across this one that I took of Monty and his lifejacket, sitting on an alpaca skin seat cover. Roz had asked me to make a lifejacket for Monty in the same colours as hers - red and blue. I was not sure how to get hold of small pieces of red and blue material until I saw something outside a charity shop on a bargain rail. It was a pair of dungarees for a toddler and cost me all of 50p. My apologies to Asda and "George", but the little sign on the front bib just seemed appropriate "I am a Winner" and the number 23. Roz' birthday is on the 23rd. When Roz finishes the voyage she will be a winner, but let us not forget that Monty too has endured the crossing!
(For overseas guests, Asda supermarkets are owned by Wal-Mart and George is the brand name of the clothes they sell.)
Miles rowed today so far: 34
|Atlantic Row Part 4||
28 Feb 2006
Oar repairs with Sikaflex, flattened boat hook and cable ties.
No, not referring to Roz'state of undress.
Each day I hear about new people logging onto Roz' website - most welcome, but they don't know half the story! I am therefore going to give some quotes from earlier dispatches to summarise what Roz has been through:
(Day 47) Roz did suffer a knock-down today, worse than the previous one on Thursday 5th January, but came upright again. She has great confidence in her boat and its ability to self-right. The para anchor and drogue both went overboard but she struggled and got them back on again.
Roz does not expect to sleep much tonight, and is also concerned about salt-water sores due to sleeping in a wet bed.
(Day 49) When I told my mother about the latest casualties she commented, 'The ocean is really stripping you down, isn't it?'. And this is true, metaphorically as well as literally. As I'm left with less and less, it makes me realise how little I actually need, how little is actually important.
Updated Casualty List
4th and final oar now damaged - so I have:
Magic bendy oar - irreparable
Oar with no spoon - irreparable
Oar with spoon almost broken off - Sikaflexed and splinted
Oar with shaft broken close to gate (rowlock) - splinted
I'm amazed and rather indignant about the two broken spoons. These oars were properly stowed alongside the guardrail oars, i.e. with the spoons 4ft clear of the water, and supposedly protected by the guardrail spoons - yet one broke clean off and the other nearly so. For this sort of pressure to be exerted, 4ft above the waterline, on both sides of the boat... That must have been some knockdown.
And more losses overboard:
Thermos mug #2 (1 remaining) with dinner inside
Drinks bottle #2 (1 remaining)
Lip salve #2 (2 remaining)
Bag for para-anchor line
2 buckets (1 remaining)
Alpaca skin seat cover #2 (1 remaining)
Plus flooded lockers:
#5 - beneath aft cabin. Relatively empty, fortunately, but cosy dry alpaca socks as special treat (courtesy of Alpaca Centre near Penrith) are cosy and dry no more
#7 - grab bags and lifejacket are swimming
#13 - jerrycans and cleaning materials. Deliberately left flooded for added ballast.
Plus previous casualties:
Petzl head torch (contacts rusted)
Camping stove - plunger jammed
Lid off thermos flask
Alpaca skin seat cover
...and a comfy foam cushion for sitting on.
And now since 17th February the satphone.
I am not too concerned that she only achieved 18 miles yesterday, as she is very obviously having to work hard to get further north. One email that I had today was from Caroline who is clearly reading the signs in just the same way. Or maybe she had to repair an oar again? Another email messager suggested that I should take some flapjack to Antigua. This is already in hand, courtesy of the mother of a friend of Roz' in the 1980s.
How would you feel with ONLY 330 more miles to row?
Sponsored mile: 2607 Mark Merritt, the numbers represent his son's birthday! Happy birthday, and thank you.
|Atlantic Row Part 3||