28 December 2005

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For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk

We’re back in business. Dispatches and rowing now up and running again, after comms glitch and adverse winds respectively.

‘At last’, I bet they’re saying in Race HQ. ‘She’s discovered what those two big sticks on her boat are for’. The oars have been back in action and at last I’m making what feels like real progress after too much meandering around off the coast of Africa.

I’ve been row-surfing today, which is a fantastically energy-efficient way of getting some good miles in, but takes a lot of concentration.

The objective is to go as fast as possible by making the most of the wind, i.e. going straight downwind, perpendicular to the waves. The challenge is keeping the boat pointing in the right direction when the waves are trying to push her side-on.

It’s great when it’s going well, but a moment of inattention and we fall off that knife-edge – Sedna starts to turn sideways and it’s the devil’s own work to try and get her back in line. A minor aberration can be corrected with the rudder, but beyond that it takes a lot of hectic one-handed paddling to salvage the situation – and while we’re side on the waves are coming in over the side of the boat and bursting up through the scuppers.

It’s demanding, but worthwhile, and as long as it’s taking me in the right direction I’m a happy rower.

Wind: 15-20 kts, NE to E
Weather: overcast
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 9

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