At last – some sunshine this evening.

5 Jan, 06 – 19:27

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

On a day when Polyanna would have been challenged to find something to be glad about – driving rain, the wind blowing me north, discovery that my one change of ‘normal’ clothes for Antigua has gone mouldy – I’ve found one particular mental trick very helpful.

I’ve been enjoying a correspondence with two other solo ocean adventurers – Leven Brown, who is rowing the Columbus route from Cadiz to Jamaica, and Adrian Flanagan, who is sailing around the world via the polar regions. They both gave me the same advice – the value of retrospect.

Leven: ‘ Remember when the going is tough to treat it like a bad dream and focus on the
welcome your are going to get in Antigua.’

Adrian: ‘ When you come to look back on it,
the voyage will seem to have been over very quickly. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun. And it will have been fun once you are among the elite few who have single-handedly rowed an ocean.’

This ‘time-travelling’ approach has really helped. I had a great time preparing for the row. I’ll have a great time afterwards basking in the glow of achievement. And if the bit in the middle is sometimes hard going and a bit yucky, well that’s not such a bad deal.

Thanks for the texts: Mac from Team Sevenoaks (good luck with your race preparations – happy to offer advice when I get back), HSS (relieved to hear the pink hard thing was a pig with a flick knife, am not even going to repeat the next part of the joke!), Boris, Mark Reid, Tiny (thx for advice and encouragement – know what you mean about that sweet water, but today that would have taken me north), Sam K (support much appreciated), Guy, John, DB (not feeling photogenic today!).

HIT BY A FREAK WAVE! Message from Rita Savage 9pm (GMT). Roz has just phoned me to report that she thinks she has been hit by a freak wave, and that the boat had rolled a considerable way. She does not think that it rolled the whole way over and back again. She was asleep, tired out, and the waves had not been all that rough. She awoke with water pouring onto her face from the overhead hatch; her feet were in the plastic crate in which she keeps a week’s ration of food in the cabin. Other items had been thrown around inside. Out on deck a few items that were not tied down have gone: her comfy cushion for sitting on deck, a drinks bottle and a few eating utensils. The oars are still there, and some other items, but she was not going to go out to investigate.
At the end of the phone call she was going to go back to her wet bed to get some more sleep. She was understandably rather shaken and felt she had to talk about it to someone who would be sympathetic. In the light of what she has written in the dispatch tonight, this was not exactly what one would call fun!

Wind: 15-18 kts, E
Weather: rainy and overcast, sunny evening
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 11

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