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BLOG 05.01.2021 - Tiny Victory

Faced with the prospect of 7 days straight on sea anchor (big parachute thing that sits in the water holding my boat steady and slowing it getting pushed backwards) I feared for my mental state. and only being 30 hours in to the 7 days I wasn’t sure I’d manage.

A second download of the weather brought a glimmer of hope with a ridge of high pressure just below my position that could come late on Monday allowing me to at least row somewhere!!

I got my head around the fact that so long as there was some south in my direction it would be worth the effort and on Monday afternoon I planned my attack.! I made a pile of food so it was ready to go and then got some sleep after having done my recorded interview with the great Jonathan Cowap at BBC Radio York. When I woke, water bottles and drinks all filled and ready to go I then waited for the wind to drop a notch and begin its move round to the West as predicted.

The weather app is pretty good and has been very reliable whilst I have been out here so I had faith in it, however, it was just a question of if it would drop enough for me to be able to row. I didn't want to try lifting the sea anchor to early and waste energy rowing in to a stronger breeze it is still a guessing game as my boat has no way of measuring the wind strength. Non of those fancy gadgets on this ole girl. On the other hand, if I was too late in lifting and I could be missing out on distance. I think I got it right!

My initial course was slightly East of South, not ideal as that was taking me away from the finish line BUT at least I was moving and making an attempt doing something. As the wind dropped a little more I was able to come due south, then a short while later I began to make some West in my course also. WOO HOO! JACKPOT!!

I rowed from 19:00 until 06:00 the next morning.

For the last few hours I was rowing directly in to the wind. The moon kept disappearing behind clouds which hampered my ability to see the race flag. I knew that if I kept that in line with the boat then I would be heading directly in to the breeze If the wind was to get to either side of my bow for to long then it would begin to turn me off course. When the clouds turned off the moon light I relied on the feel of the wind on the back of my head. I reckon I squeezed and extra couple of hours out of the journey.

Admittedly the 16 miles covered in the 11 hours is no new record. And only reducing my distance to finish by 4 miles hardly seemed worth all the effort. But to me it was a moral victory. It was time off sea anchor. Time out of my cabin. And when I got off the oars I only just had the energy to put the sea anchor back out again. But out it went.

Buoyed by the victory of last nights efforts I attempted to replicate the effort this morning. At 10:30 I had refuelled and thought there may be a slight possibility I could make some more headway, sadly not. The sea state had risen and I was rowing directly in to it and the wind was coming from the side direction. The bow of the boat was constantly being pushed to either side of the breeze. At 11:00 the anchor was back out doing its job.

Water was boiled. A celebration hot chocolate was drunk. And then this blog was written. I now await the change in wind and direction on Friday as the forecast predicts. I can then go again and make more miles to the finish.


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