Wednesday 23rd September

12:30 GMT

Forecast SE to E to S all less than 6 knots, meaning unpredictable, hopefully it turns out to be a flat sculling day. Light drift last night due to no wind, there’s a little now, course over ground at rest 250°, a bit high but manageable. Be tough getting to 50 today.

16:00

Early breakfast I’m afraid, might struggle to get over 30 never mind get to 50. Wind coming from SW gusts 8/10 knots. It’s still dark so I can’t work out if there is a squall in the distance or if this is general wind. It’s had me down to .2 /.3 of a knot. I was heading due south for a while but a combination of wind strength / direction and current combined to make it pointless to row. While I’m all about tough guy it out but I’ve got to use my head as well. I’ve managed to get the boat to hold against the wind and the current is taking me very slowly just south of due west. I’ll give it 45 minutes have breakfast and see what happens.

20:30 GMT

Well four and a half hours later and just 5nm gained. The wind has shifted from W to SW to S to SSE. A big squall, 15 knots SSE wind, then S, it’s been a grind that’s for sure. The wind ended up back at SW which stopped me again and is now strengthening from the south, consequently I have the para anchor out. Was hoping never to see the thing again, but it does do its job, I’m now heading West with a bit of south. This is really frustrating, I can talk about grinding and never giving up but 3 extra knots of wind from the wrong direction and as John Fairfax put it my “ puny strength” is no match for Mother Nature. Obviously the wind has formed a swell going north so even when the wind drops it will be an hour before I can make any speed. I’m at 24nm with 7 hours to go, if I can row 5 of them at 2 knots it gets me in the 30s, a bit different to yesterday (and the forecast) that’s for sure.

05:30

Spent most of the afternoon on para anchor, the wind was constant all afternoon, whitecaps and boat bouncing. At about 1:30 GMT it all of a sudden it eased. Half an hour later I was rowing, made 5 or so miles and got over 30 miles, best I could do I’m afraid. Problem now is I’ve had to put the PA out again. The wind is only light from the SSE but enough to push me well north of west which is not good. I’m hoping the wind will move more east but I doubt it. Just got the weather for tomorrow which doesn’t look promising either. Could be another low day tomorrow. I need to at least get in the 40s tomorrow as I had planned to push hard to the end of the month and was hoping for a 300 plus week. Never say never, the forecast is rarely right but this south push looks set for a few days to me.

In any other news:

Ran out of Golden Syrup which is a bit of a shame. I have some honey but with my porridge the taste is just not the same. Reminds me of being a kid, porridge and syrup before school in the winter.

Also finished my 3rd jar of coffee and will be opening the last one tomorrow. I’ll need to ration that to make it last. I like my coffee on the night row, but can’t do anything about it.

I like this twist on my “no one remembers the second man to walk on the moon” and the comment I received back – “I have no idea who the first man to row over the equator was but I definitely know the second! Well done”

Took advantage of being on PA to do a food audit, I’ve enough to last until November 30th, any later than that we will need more ginger nuts for sure, I have the team looking into options.

Seen lots of Tuna today, not a lot else.

That’s it for now
John

Out
Notes:

Sue: There are no rules really I can’t remember the stats but the number of successful ocean rows is in the low hundreds and in the Pacific in the teens I think and most of those in legs not none stop. The only body who keep records is the Ocean Rowing Society, they were rowers or friends of rowers from the 70s (when only a few crossings had been made) they are self appointed in a way. Chat Blyth who rowed in the 60s (you can see his boat on the site) started a race at the end of the 90s and this has increased its popularity. The “rules” are really just a set of accepted principals, doing the thing unsupported by outside help is the main criteria, hence if you’re re supplied it breaks that principle. In essence I don’t have to answer to anyone, the crossing is not certified, I’m independent and have had little or no contact with the society ( I think Tony let them know when I set off). I actually think there needs to be a set of rules if you want to compare different rows / rowers, things like equipment and boat style. The OCR have started categorizing boats now after a new design came along that basically had a sail built in. My other bug bears are things that reduce the rowers input like auto pilots. In my mind it’s supposed to be the ultimate test of the rower, not the rower aided by equipment developed for sailing. Maybe that’s just my runners approach, stripped bear it’s just you and your strength against the other guy when you race, rowing should be the same. So is taking extra supplies any different to an auto pilot, probably not, but I’d prefer to use neither.

Dave: Thanks Dave, I started smelling the finish too, today’s a good leveller, still 3000nm to go and a lot could happen, good and bad.

Collin: Well done mate, I was going to get the boss to email and ask if I hadn’t heard in the next day or so. You don’t know until you try right and you don’t always get the result you want but that doesn’t stop you trying again. We should start a t-shirt company, the equator club, I can secure at least one sale, maybe we’d sell half a dozen if the phrase was “I knew a guy that rowed across the equator”. Hope your out training again.

Brian: What did the Scott’s ever do to you, that means if Scotland play South Africa they should win?

Marie & The Wrights: The other flag was just starting to fray, got to halfway just in time, hopefully this one is not flying as long. Thanks both.