19 Dec, 05 – 18:31
Latitude: 25° 45′ N
Longitude: 24° 16′ W
Miles from La Gomera: see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.com
Miles to Antigua: 2098
Miles in last 24 hours: -8

Ocean rowing? Nothing to it matey. Based on the last 2 days it seems to involve a lot of lying around on one’s bed, listening to the stereo and eating chocolate. Bit like being a teenager, but with (marginally) less angst.

In the absence of more scintillating news, I thought about talking you through the contents of my 14 hatches (I’m serious! It’s quite interesting, I’ll have you know) but decided instead to talk you through a day in the life of an ocean rower on anchor. Maybe the hatch-by-hatch rundown would have been more interesting after all…


Getting light. I prise myself off my bunk (backache) and turn on the chartplotter and wind instruments. Wind still from the south, lost another 2 miles overnight. Swear, and go outside to take a look around, check the sea anchor, sow some more chickpeas, and use the bedpan.


Get a lovely text from my ex who, after 11 years together, probably knows me better than most.

‘gd thing is ur at yr best when things get tough. xx’

Not sure if he is right, but it sounds like the kind of person I’d like to be, so I choose to believe it and BE it. Reminds me of the quote by George Bernard Shaw: ‘Life isn’t about discovering yourself. It’s about creating yourself.’ I don’t know if I was a tenacious and determined person at the start of this, but my word, I will be by the end.


Read my book, Brian Keenan’s ‘Four Quarters of Light’ – about Alaska so a nice change of scenery. Eat chocolate. Would never eat chocolate for breakfast at home, but ocean rules apply.

Call Mum to find out how the other crews are getting on, or not as the case may be. Seems all us tail-enders are doing odd little wiggles on the chart and going nowhere fast. Very impressed by performance of race leaders All Relative. Storming!


Fire up the camping stove to boil water for my Mornflakes porridge. Put the rest in a flask for later on. Sit on deck to eat, getting the occasional soaking from a wave. Frown at the wind and waves from time to time but they refuse to take the hint and continue to come from the wrong direction.

Wash up, wash myself, make the bed, generally tidy up.


Make some phone calls to try and address some financial issues that would seem pressing if I were on dry land, but seem nigh on irrelevant out here. Fail to get through to anybody. Leave some messages and tick it off the To Do list.


Run watermaker for half an hour, which should be enough water for 1-2 days. Recharge camera and satphone batteries while there is some hazy sunshine.


Mum texts through some more messages from people who have emailed me. Seems a lot of people find what I’m doing ‘inspiring’. Fantastic, heart-warming and encouraging to know this – it makes it all seem so much more worthwhile to know that people actually CARE about what I’m doing – although what it is I may be inspiring them to do I have no idea. Presumably not row an ocean.


Read more of Alaska book. Listen to more of Hitchhikers’ Guide on CD. Doze a bit. Periodically check backwards progress (regress?) on chartplotter and write up logbook. Eat chilli rice with extr peas and sweetcorn and a Wholebake 9 Bar for a late lunch.

…And I suspect the evening will bring more of the same.

The forecast is for the wind to move around to the north some time tomorrow, so we should be able to up anchor and get going again.

Woodvale bill the Atlantic Rowing Race as ‘Wave after Wave of Adrenaline Pumping Adventure’. If it were all like the last 2 days I’d be asking for my money back. But no doubt all too soon things will kick off again and I’ll be looking back on this lazy hiatus with fond nostalgia.

P.S. Thanks to all for messages, especially Sam K and Tiny who have already been here, done this, got the blisters. Tiny – I passed on your regards to matron (Tiny’s term for the big bustling waves that give you a drenching). She returns the same, and sends you a big sloppy one in the ear.

Wind: 20 kts from the south
Weather: wind and rain
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 0

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