Somewhat belatedly (apologies - it's been a heck of a week) here is last Saturday's podcast interview. Click here to listen to the interviewer ad lib impressively because I was late dialling in (!), then I talk about my preparations, the environment, and various other blatherings.
I had a call from Gordie Nash, one of my weather gurus, yesterday. "It's nought to three knots out there, with two foot swells ten seconds apart."
In other words, conditions were dead calm - perfect for an ocean rower trying to get away from the California coast. Unfortunately, my boat was not on the water, she was in the helicopter hangar where she is being refitted.
But it's good to know that these conditions do occasionally happen, and also that Rick Shema, my other weather guru (www.weatherguy.com), had forecast them to a stunning degree of accuracy. So I hope that when he tells me that conditions look good for a 5am departure next Thursday, he proves to be right again.
(It must be tough being a weather guy - you get blamed for the bad weather, ignored during the good weather, and if, heaven forbid, you get it wrong...)
The other good news is that Erden Eruc has managed to get away successfully, after six weeks of trying. I didn't want to go head-to-head with Erden, because being in a race situation was one of the least enjoyable aspects of my Atlantic row - so I am relieved that Erden has a good head start over me, and wish him a bon voyage.
[photo: this is what I want for the first few days - flat seas and no wind. Photo taken on the Atlantic crossing, 2006]
The weather window will close at midnight tomorrow - with me still on the shore side of it. My boat won't be ready in time. Despite the best efforts of Spectra Watermakers and Rich Crow (a helicopter engineer, temporarily reassigned to be my boat engineer) we have been delayed by problems that we had with the watermaker and various other necessary but unforeseen modifications.
So my weather guys tell me that the next possible window will be July 19. This looks good - it will give us enough time to get the boat 99% ready. Brocade will never be 100% ready - it is the nature of big adventures that if you waited to be 100% ready you would never go - so 99% is good enough.
And it is not just the boat - there are so many other exciting developments going on - the extra week will give me a chance to follow up on some of these opportunities, so that Stage One of the Pacific Row will be EVEN BETTER than it would have been if was leaving tomorrow.
So I am feeling zen, relaxed and composed - with a lot of hard work and powerful focus, this adventure will begin in its own good time.
[photo: me and David Helvarg, of Blue Frontier Campaign, at yesterday's launch event under the Golden Gate Bridge]
What a day.
On the plus side, my "ceremonial launch" at the Presidio Yacht Club, on the day that the press release of my title sponsorship hit the news wires. An amazing level of interest from press and TV (especially given that I was competing with the All Stars baseball game), and a wonderful turnout at the launch event co-hosted by Blue Frontier Campaign and Ogilvy PR on behalf of Brocade. NOAA were also present, and gave me a message in a bottle to take with me to Hawaii. I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and effort that everybody had put in to make the event such a resounding success.
On the minus side, the news that my boat's Spectra watermaker has corroded beyond repair, a result of it being mounted low in a hatch that got a half-inch of water in it on the Atlantic crossing - enough to rust the engine. So what was anticipated to be a quick health-check has now turned into a full-scale transplant operation. The wonderful guys at Spectra are doing their best, but their work will extend into tomorrow - robbing valuable time from the precious last 48 hours that we had to try and get the boat ready before the weather window closes on Thursday night.
The chances of a Thursday departure have receded from 50/50 to 80/20 against. Not yet impossible, but increasingly unlikely.
But I remain zen and calm - whether faced with the excitement of a barrage of cameras, or faced with the frustration of a broken watermaker.
A friend sent me a wonderful message, in the form of a drinks coaster:
He knows not where he's going
For the ocean will decide
It's not the DESTINATION
It's the glory of THE RIDE
And life is certainly a gloriously wild roller-coaster ride right now.