One last hug, La Gomera, November.

24 Jan, 06 – 21:00

I’m just a girl who can’t say no…

…but I’m practising. So, Big Nose, here are a couple of Big Noes.

To all special requests for photos – more smiles, grumpy face, ‘silky locks’ etc – No. Sorry. Thin end of the wedge.

To all invitations to dinner on my return – very kind, but I can’t accept all the invitations so as a matter of policy I’m going to decline them all. If we weren’t on dining terms before my row, then we’re still not, so you’re no worse off now than you were before.

Sheesh, I bet Ranulph Fiennes and Chris Bonnington don’t have to put up with this kind of thing.

And now to less touchy subjects… My mother.

Mark in Colorado wrote: ‘my mum is worried about your mum. She knows the worry she must feel and thinks she must be one special lady.’

My mother certainly is a special lady. When I first told her about my plan to row the Atlantic she ignored it for a while, hoping the whole horrible thing would go away. But when she saw how determined I was to do it and how much energy I was putting into it, she resigned herself to the fact that it was going to happen and has been unwavering in her support ever since.

Fortunately for me, my mother’s way of dealing with the worry is to get involved on a practical level, so she has been with me helping out at various stages throughout the project – boat preparation, at the start line in La Gomera, and now as my shore manager and first point of contact on a daily basis.

This has required her to be my website manager, financial controller, personal assistant, social secretary, media coordinator, sponsorship manager, advisor, counsellor and shoulder to cry on. It’s a lot to ask of anybody, but she has risen magnificently to the challenge.

And all this on top of my sister, her only other child, setting off to India at the start of a year’s trip around the world (another worry) and having to cope with the loss of my father less than 18 months ago.

We haven’t always been close. For about twenty years, from my mid-teens onward, we had a polite but distant relationship. It’s only in the last two or three years that we’ve become more involved in each other’s lives again. And I’m very grateful for this second chance. She goes up and up in my estimation all the time. I admire her practicality and adaptability, her strength and energy. I love my Mum. She’s great.

But lest her head become too big, I’m going to now tease her with some of my favourite Mum-isms…

After I’d spent the night fearing for my life as my boat was tossed around by gale force winds and towering waves that had cleared my decks, I rang Mum to let her know that I and my £35,000 boat had survived. Her main concern? The loss of my bottle of Milton sterilising fluid – ‘And that was expensive. £12 in La Gomera!’

When I was struggling with loss of appetite for my expedition foods and worrying how I was going to keep body and soul together, I carelessly said, ‘Well, at least I can make up for it when I get to Antigua with some decent food.’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘But you’ll have to pay for it there.’

And during the thankfully brief phase when I was relying on her for weather forecasts, her endearing but disconcerting habit of naming winds according to where they were blowing to rather than where they were blowing from. ‘You’re in for some strong westerlies…’ ‘???!!’ ‘Or do I mean easterlies?’

Sorry, Mum, couldn’t resist it!

From Monty to Molly: ‘Thank you, Molly, for your message yesterday. I am missing you too, and all the children at Southbourne Junior School. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon. I tried to give Roz that big bear hug but my arms are too short. Love Monty xxx’

Thanks for texts from Julian, Celina and Barnaby, Bri, Matt Oglethorpe, Mike Dunsmore, Adamski, CH, Sandi, Alasdair, Margaret and Bob, Jeff (Go and Rego – not sponsored!), Mark Reid, Martin Chambers.

Rita Savage’s PS: Fortunately I can have the last word. I am a forgiving sort!
A mother’s plea. Roz is such an “email junkie” that before the race began she arranged for me to receive her emails, and to pass on a summary to her. We did not put her contact number on the website at first for the same reason. Eventually she did miss having messages of encouragement from friends and did display her number. At the time we asked for brief messages, and that people should not expect a reply. She does enjoy hearing from you, but does not have the luxury of someone else to row while she deals with queries and requests. She has a lot of rowing to do and her time is limited. Please do be kind to her and don’t ask too much of her time and energies. She has talked to me about this and now she has mentioned it in her dispatch. I feel the need, as any mother would, to help and protect her. Do continue to send messages but please bear in mind what she and I have written. (I nearly wrote ‘massages’ instead of ‘messages’. If only we could send massages!)

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

Wind: NE veering to E, 12-15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 9

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