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BLOG: 28.01.2021 - Its a Bears Life!


Before we start our blog of Craig we just want to give a big shout out to Year 3 and 4 at St Aelred's School, their teacher Mrs Towse has been telling them all about the race ...and they like hearing bout the important well travelled bears like me! Hi everyone


Craig has asked me to write his blog today as he has been very busy on the oars and when he has done he has to repair his seat pad.....when I say seat pad I mean a dry bag with his chopped up sleeping bag in it! At least it is getting some use but I don't think they will accept any refunds on it now!

After the situation with the water maker being out of action for a few days ...and also the skin infection happening at the same time, things were pretty low on the boat. Tin and I (Tin is also in the photo) did our best to cheer the lad up but didn't have much joy SO we passed him the phone and got him to make some calls to his friends Steve Towse and Andy Harkus. He phoned Steve for some level headed advice, which he got and Andy for some cheering up advice....which he also got

After the chat with Steve, Craig started to think a bit more logically about the situation and began to weigh up what had changed from his training runs to the race. Why was the boat going so much slower? Ok, so he had more weight in it that the training sessions....maybe it was because he was more tired BUT the sea swell was bigger and in the right direction....TAILWINDS! So this should have been helping us not pushing us sidewards like it does when it gets too strong. The boat was running at 0.3knots but it didn't feel like it was moving at all. Craig was struggling to make 2 miles per hour with max effort.

So we had a team meeting and brainstormed....we asked him if anything was dragging underneath the boat or if the rudder had got twisted? When the big lad checked the rudder he noticed he had been dragging half the Atlantic Ocean on it....so he checked the underside of the boat as well. We threw him his snorkel and got him to stick his head over the side of the boat! He popped up and cursed a-bit about £90 he had spent on anti foul that was supposed to stop things attaching to the boat!

The swell at the time was 2.5 metre with a 1 metre wave height, not really conditions to be jumping over the side but we were all desperate for the boost and to see the big lad crack on....so after drawing the shortest stick, Craig made his food up, did his best to waterproof his infected area with a plastic bag and elastic band and he walked the plank to clean the underside of the boat. It took 10 minutes of frantic working and scraping whilst hanging onto the grab-lines of the boat but he was then back on board! We hosed him down to cheer him up, made him eat his food and then got him back on the oars (we would love to help but we can't reach the foot plate!! )

We couldn't believe the difference, we didn't think it would last and that we must have been imagining the difference, clutching at straws...and oars BUT when he was struggling to make 2 knots before an hour, he rowed 3 miles in 64 minutes ....stayed at it and knocked out 7 miles in 2.5hours. 2 nights ago it took the lad 45 minutes to knock his last mile off as fatigue crept in and he fell asleep on his seat.....TONIGHT, 9 miles in the last 3hrs and 20 minutes RESULT!!

Since then, morale is boosted on boat the ship, he is smiling again...and unfortunately he is singing again!! The speed is staying there more frequently WOO HOO!

The other evening he was going so fast that he was involved in a collision with a flying fish! It hit him on the back of the hand in the midst of the dark sky and landed in the footwell of the boat! It was nearly 2ft in length! He quickly grabbed a cloth, jumped off his seat and returned it to the ocean. We hope he survived the ordeal (the fish....Craig is still here!) ....he didn't leave his insurance details for our claim! ha ha

Until next time - Derek x MND Association Atlantic Campaigns Steve Towse Andy Harkus York Cycleworks Infinity Systems Ltd. Certibuild Limited York City Knights RLFC AJS - YORK Scaffolding Adastra Belgravia Stone @sabe grahics ltd @dave kavanagh painter and decorator; Anytime Travel York F.R. Fowler & Son - Burnholme Fisheries Ebor Fitness WUrkout Fitness Normans Business Solutions Art of Smart Black Gold Topsoil @haxby builders Judge Electrical ltd McCain UK IE PenLife Associates CJA Valeting

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