18 Jan 2006
Delving into a hatch - at La Gomera
18 Jan. 06 - 19.40
For race position and miles from La Gomera see www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk
At 19.05 this evening I had another phone call from a very frustrated Roz. She has tried ten or twelve times to upload her dispatch for today, but each time gets a message that the receiving modem is switched off. Whatever that may mean. This morning she did get Monday's message uploaded, but then asked me to move it away as it was stale news. I moved it to end of Sunday's message from her, so some of you may have seen my note this morning and already read it there.
She has had another day of rough wind, waves, and pouring rain. She has not done any rowing today, giving her shoulder a rest, continuing work on mending her oars - and attempting to do her dispatch. In spite of not rowing, she has moved on 31 miles so far today. Why bother to row? The alternative it to sit uncomfortably in an airtight cabin, in nearly 100% humidity, with everything sopping wet, just occasionally opening the hatch with hands firmly on the handles to gasp a few lungfuls of wet salty air.
Roz is concerned that if she cannot write her dispatches she will lose her audience. How could any of you wonderful people out there desert her at a time like this? From your messages to her she was intrigued to know which picture I had put on the site. Her grinning face in the cabin hatch was one that she had not seen, sent by a friend in Sweden. Thanks Astrid. Perhaps I might add a less flattering picture today.
Weather: heavy rain at times
Sea state: rough.
Hours Rowing: 0
|Atlantic Row Part 2||
At the time of the breakages all oars were stowed in the upper position. Must have been some big mean wave.
18 Jan, 06 - 18:46
Apologies for being offline for a couple of days. My palmtop was on non-speakers with my satphone, probably due to water somewhere in the data cable. There's water everywhere else, so it's likely it was in the data cable too. Fortunately it seems to have recovered now.
Life has been interesting since I last wrote - rough and wet mostly - which may appeal to some tastes but not especially mine. I need to have words with the race organisers. I thought I'd signed up for Atlantic Lite - the sort of Atlantic Rowing Race where people talked about 'Lake Atlantic', enjoyed silence and serenity, and sipped G&T's at sunset. Instead I seem to have got Atlantic Hardcore - 20 foot waves, capsizes and broken oars.
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. Everything happens for a reason. So there must be lessons I am meant to learn from this that I couldn't have learned from Atlantic Lite.
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.
Flattened boathook Sikaflexed to spoon of oar.
Note oar shaft to the right - totally decapitated.
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.
And an injury:
Wrenched shoulder during a knockdown while at the oars. Back on the Ibuprofen.
Plus previous casualties:
Petzl head torch (contacts rusted)
Lid off thermos flask
Alpaca skin seat cover
...and a comfy foam cushion for sitting on.
In answer to all enquiries, Monty is absolutely fine, thank you, but is very pleased that he has his lifejacket.
Natalie: thanks for the vibes - keep them coming. In answer to your question, the weight is coming off, but probably due more to boredom with food rather than roaring metabolism. Estimate I am eating 2000-3000 calories on a typical day - about the same as pre-race, but now losing weight rather than gaining. Brown fat? Not sure how to tell, but I doubt it. Plenty enough food to see me through, but shortage of food that appeals. That, alas, only dry land can offer.
Thanks for texts from Damian, H and Phoebe West, John T (macrame - been there, done that, got the string bag), Lizan (don't worry - I hope to complete the race AND stay safe), Luke Johnston (great to hear from you - this boat a bit smaller than the trireme, this ocean rougher than the Aegean, too bad no ouzo, also no lunatic Irish dentists on mopeds!), Tim Ratbag, Snowy (good suggestion, already considered, may yet resort to cutting broken oars to make sleeve but reluctant to be without guardrails as they've already saved my life more than once), Richard Latham, Imelda, Mark Reid, Clarkie, Natalie, Mike C, Adamski, Steve Maskell, Alex F, AJ, Guy.
For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk
Wind: E, 25 knots (estimate)
Weather: cloudy, sunshine, squalls
Sea state: very rough
Hours rowing: 0 (spent day repairing oars and allowing wrenched shoulder to recover)
|Atlantic Row Part 2||
17 Jan 2006
It was easier to work in dry conditions: La Gomera, November.
17 Jan, 06 - 19.30
Late Addition: Wed.morning: Roz managed to upload her dispatch for Day 47. This has now been added to her previous dispatch about Fundamentals at her request. Do read about what happened then.
Roz has had a day off from rowing today, not by choice but by necessity. She did not wish to miss doing her dispatch, but once again is prevented by non-functioning gadgetry. Following the rough waves of the last couple of days she is coping with a painful shoulder, broken oars and wet, wet, everything wet.
When daylight came this morning she went out onto the deck to see what damage had been done. In spite of carefully stowing her oars and lashing them together and to the boat, there was further damage. The spoon of one of the oars was lying on the deck, another one hanging on by a thread. She had already separated the boat hook into two parts to make splints for the oars. She now took one part, hammered it flat at one end, and has attempted to use it as a splint fastened to the spoon with Stikaflex (? spelling).
The instructions state that the surfaces must be clean and DRY. Ha ha. How do you dry something when everything you own is wet? She now has to wait until tomorrow to see if it holds. In spite of not being able to row at present, she has travelled about 27 miles today with the help of wind and waves. The weather forecast implies that the rough seas should moderate by the weekend. Lets hope so! They all need a break out there.
Roz thoughts are very much with those who have lost their boats, but does rather envy Emily and Sarah on the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos. Quite an experience for them. When I mentioned that Jo Davies on Aurora was feeling so much better after a rest and a shower, Roz politely asked me not to mention that lovely word again.
Roz thanks all those who have sent messages, including Richard A, just sorry she cant acknowledge them herself. As for her own feelings, she is so grateful that she is in a better frame of mind now than she was in the first month. What a girl!
Sea state: Rough
Hours rowed: 0
Miles covered since this time yesterday: 32
|Atlantic Row Part 2||
16 Jan 2006
Damp rather than wet - in better days!
16 Jan, 21.00
For details on progress and position see the Atlantic Rowing Race site.
Roz phoned me just after 9 this evening to say that she just cannot get the gadgetry to work for sending a dispatch. Everything in the cabin is now so wet that she suspects that that is the problem. What she thought was wet before was merely damp by present conditions.
We were shocked to hear about American Fire and Team Sun Latte both suffering capsize and the teams having to abandon their boats. 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.
Steve in a message to us asked if Monty was still safely aboard. Yes, he is, though probably sulking in his damp corner.
This race is proving a tough experience not only for the rowers, but for those of us looking on. Pray that they remain safe.
PS Tuesday morning 8am GMT, still dark: A rough night, the boat rolling twice, and some damage to an oar. Hatch containing the jerry cans flooded - but Roz is leaving it that way, extra ballast in a central position. Waiting for daylight before investigating out on deck. She knows that the newer alpaca skin seat cover was ripped off its bindings.
|Atlantic Row Part 2||