7 Dec, 05 – 20:50
Latitude: 26° 32′ N
Longitude: 20° 37′ W
Miles to Antigua: 2299


It’s a pain. It’s only a pain. It’s only an inconvenient physical sensation. Pain is good – it lets me know I’m alive. Love the pain!

No sorry, it’s not working. Pain is… A pain. And I wish the one in my right shoulder blade would go away.

I suspect it’s tendonitis – it’s got that grating feeling, the same as I once had in my wrist when I was rowing at Oxford. So I’ve been taking anti-inflammatories and painkillers for 2 days now, but the pain is still there.

It isn’t good, after clawing my way back into contention with Chris Martin, to imagine him pulling away again.

Of course I’ve considered whether this problem is a showstopper. But I realised there’s no way this setback will make me quit. Worst case scenario is that I have to stop rowing and drift for a day or so while it gets better. But giving up is not an option. Apart from anything else, if I quit now they’d have to destroy my boat so it wouldn’t be a hazard to shipping, and there ain’t no way I’m going to allow that to happen.


Life has a good sense of humour. Ironically, this has probably been one of my best days in terms of miles covered. The wind picked up to 12 knots in the right direction and I’ve been surfing the waves at about 3 knots, compared with my usual sedate 2 knots. Best of all, it’s required almost no effort on my part – I just dip the oars in as I ride the waves to keep the boat on course, not needing to put any strain on my injured shoulder.

Late this afternoon I spoke to Lin on the support vessel Aurora, for advice on maximum dosages of painkillers (good news is I can up the dosage to one every 3 hours, bad news is that at that rate I’ll have run out of dihydrocodeine in 4 days). As well as medical advice, she told me Chris is only 8 miles ahead of me – so I’m not dead and buried just yet.

Thanks to people who have sent messages of support to my satphone – ocean rowers Mark M and Sam K, thanks to you especially. I was being really cautious about handing out my number, as I thought I would find texts too distracting, but in fact they’ve given me a huge boost at this rather difficult stage. Thanks again.

Reap what you sow

On a totally different subject, I’ve been growing my own veg. I ran out of fresh food a couple of days ago – supplies limited due to constraints of space, weight, and preparation time – so I’ve implemented my seed-sprouting plan. Put your chickpeas or aduki beans to soak for a few hours, rinse and place in your seed sprouter. Water twice daily, and 2 days later you have fresh, crunchy beansprouts. Great with a splash of soya sauce.

Apparently ancient Chinese mariners used to do the same on long voyages to avoid the scurvy.

As Rob Hamill (Kiwi ocean rower) put it – it’s nice to have some food that’s life-enhancing rather than just life-sustaining. And food doesn’t come much fresher or healthier than this.

Wind: 12 kts
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: rolling swells
Hours rowing: 12
Hours sleeping: 6
Mantra for the day: steely resolve
Lyric for the day: No one said it would be easy/ but nobody said that it would be this hard

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