3 out of 4 pairs of rowing gloves are now in tatters. Caroline suggested cutting off the fingers to relieve pressure on nails – not strictly necessary.

9 Feb, 06 – 20:43

It’s time to up the ante. I want to be in English Harbour by the end of February. It’s a lot to ask, and will require a significant increase in my daily mileage. I’ve learned a lot about myself already on this row. Now it’s time to find out something new – am I tough enough to do what it takes to make landfall by the end of the month?

It will mean extending my daily rowing schedule and reducing my sleep. It will also require 100% co-operation from the ocean and the weather – and we know they often have their own ideas. I’m willing to put in the hours if they’re willing to send me a good easterly wind, a strong easterly swell, and a consistent easterly current every day for the next 20 days, and deliver me precisely to English Harbour.

Not so much to ask, surely?!

I had words with the ocean yesterday. Not the sort of words I usually hurl in its direction, most of which are unrepeatable here, but beseeching words, pleading for some sweet water. And it seems to have worked. Conditions for most of today were splendid. Wind and swell were pushing me towards Antigua, with enough strength to make for good progress, but not so strong as to endanger my fragile, patched-up oars… But now they’re calming down to that awkward inbetweeny state – too rough for comfortable rowing, not strong enough to surf. Only time will tell if Mr Atlantic is going to help me out.

Other stuff:

Maybe as a symbol of the new entente cordiale between me and the ocean, I saw dolphins for the first time today. About 20 of them passed by, in groups of between 3 and 6, coming within about 10 feet of my boat. They didn’t pay me much attention, but it was a real boon to see them anyway.

Another reason I want to get a move on is that if I don’t make landfall by the end of the month I’m going to start running out of things, like rowing gloves. Other things on the critical list are wet wipes, Wholebake 9 Bars, suntan lotion and chocolate.

Texts: thanks for messages from Rodders (relieved and pleased to hear from you. Sorry – didn’t get your earlier messages! X), the Evanses in Sydney (hi there Mr & Mrs Guts!), John T, George S, HSS, Elise Laverick (hi to TRC!), Bill Carey Evans, Rhea Kingswell, Martin Chambers, Jeff, Isabel Martin (Chris’s mum), DB.

Rita Savage’s PS: More sponsored miles for which grateful thanks and acknowledgement: 1901-6 Andy and Emer Osborne; 1908-28 also Andy and Emer; 1907 Gwenaelle and Hayden Transon; and coming up before long: 1937 David Bridge; 1940 Nicholas Marden-Taylor.

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

Wind: E, about 8-20 knots (estimate)
Weather: mostly overcast, occasional sunshine
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 12

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