As close as I ever hope to get to a ferry

Latitude: 27° 33′ N
Longitude: 17° 38′ W

My Atlantic Rowing Race has got off to an interesting start. One hour in I thought it was going to be the shortest-lived ocean rowing bid ever, when I couldn’t get my watermaker working. I’d changed the filter just before the race, and had to wait until the race had started and I was out of the harbour and into cleaner waters before I could run it. It whirred loudly for 5 seconds and then stopped. Argh.
My worst nightmare – DIY horror – was it coming true?

I got on the VHF to ask for advice, and George from the Atlantic 4 crew came to the rescue. The pump needed priming, that was all. It wasn’t pleasant trying to sort it out, bum in the air and head down a hatch when I was feeling queasy, but 10 minutes later and we were in watermaking business again. A small but notable personal victory.

Last night: have had better. Seasickness makes me feel like a wrung-out dishcloth – grotty and floppy and grey. So the overwhelming temptation was to lie in my cabin and sleep until I felt better. But I couldn’t lax enough to sleep. While I’m near land I’m in danger, and I kept imagining I was about to be run down by a ferry or shipwrecked on a reef.

Eventually dawn came, and life started to seem more tolerable. The seasickness abated, and I was feeling cheerful and positive again by the time the support yacht Aurora came by shortly after sunrise.

Radio Solent rang for a satphone interview at 8am. They passed on a message from the woman who is sailing solo around the world the wrong way. ‘Keep going’, she said. Seems like good advice.

6.30pm: had another low moment this evening. Couldn’t get the camping stove working and let the situation get on top of me. ‘This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done’, Mick Dawson of Woodvale Events had said to me yesterday. I was starting to believe him. I briefly considered advertising for a crewmate because I felt just too lonely. But then I thought about all the people at home who believe I can do this. How could I ever face them again if I don’t see this through?

Stubborn pride may not be a noble emotion, but it works.

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