13 Dec, 05 – 20:53

Latitude: 25° 56′ N
Longitude: 22° 40′ W
Miles to Antigua: 2185
Miles in last 24 hours: 17

Note from First Mate Monty

Hmmmph!

Thank heavens she’s out there and rowing again. I normally have the cabin more or less to myself – when she’s in here she’s sleeping – but while the sea anchor has been out she’s been mooching around in here and getting under my feet, erm, paws.

Hmph!

Two weeks into my Atlantic row, and it seemed a good time to compile a list of my top-performing bits of kit to date, and offer some belated thank-yous. So here we have it:

Sedna Solo’s Top Star Performers

1. Head torch: I have 2 Petzl torches, which have been invaluable since I never seem to have enough juice left in my main batteries to use the cabin light at night. Thanks to my sister for one of them, and to Tom and the ever-helpful staff at the Piccadilly Cotswold Outdoor for their advice on the other

2. Pentax camera (Optio WP): compact, waterproof, robust, fast and (so far, touch wood) reliable. £200 well spent.

3. Thermos flasks (Nissan): ordered from the States, as I couldn’t find them in the UK. I’ve got one big tall one for water and a short squat one for food. I boil up just once in the morning and put the spare hot water in the tall flask. It’s still hot enough by evening to rehydrate my dinner – I put my Commercial Freeze Dried ingredients with herbs and spices into the squat flask, add the water from the tall flask, and 5 minutes later I have dinner. Very tasty prawn curry tonight.

4. Heel-steering system: as designed and built by Richard Uttley at Dolphin Quay Boatyard. Works a treat. (Richard – the locking off doesn’t work so well, as I can’t get it tight enough. So I use the rudder strings for locking off, and that works just hunky-d.)

5. Ventilation holes and vent covers: again by Mr Uttley. Let plenty of air but no water into my cabin. Have only had to close the vents once, and that was during the Saturday night storm, but even then I’d left them opefor a while and no water got in.

6. Leecloths: Jock Wishart’s suggestion, leecloths provided free of charge by Ivan at Arun Sails. Stop me falling out of bed and being thrown around the cabin in even the roughest weather. They make my bunk a safe and comfortable haven, much appreciated after a long day at the oars.

7. Grabrails and 2 rollbars: vital to have things to hang onto in the cockpit. The main ‘rollbar’, ostensibly for mounting antennae and nav light, also makes a great barre for hanging onto while I do my stretches.

8. Kettle: much safer than a billycan for pouring boiling water on a lurching ship. Purloined (with permission) from apartment in La Gomera.

9. Kangaroo skin gloves, by Kakadu of Australia: soft and supple leather gloves, without which my hands would be even rougher than they are.

10. Mother: invaluable. Mum is my first point of contact for race information, weather and general advice. She’s also handling my email messages, bank accounts, website issues and other administration. And she’s probably also doing 101 other things for me that she doesn’t even tell me about. We can safely say that I wouldn’t be here (or indeed, anywhere) if it wasn’t for my mother.

Apology

If I have made anybody, male or female, self-conscious about the content of their messages, then many apologies. All support, encouragement, AND advice gratefully received, although in the case of the latter, I do of course reserve the right to ignore it and do as I damn well please.

Special thanks for some recent advice that has NOT been ignored:
– Achates, for his tip on sleeping on your back and letting the movement of the boat massage those aching muscles
– Patrick Pearson, for the Alexander Technique refresher, and reminding me to do my stretch routine after every shift.

And another apology

To people who have sponsored a mile of my row and have not as yet been mentioned, as promised, on my website. Afraid this got overlooked in the general busy-ness. So belatedly, here are the names of people who have sponsored a mile already rowed…
John Cuell, Paul Baynham, Christopher Adams, Ed Harrison, Geoffrey Parish, India Peary, Iona Peary, Elizabeth & Henry Burroughs.

Wind: 3 kts
Weather: sunny and hot
Sea state: gentle swell
Hours rowing: 8

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