My Simrad chartplotter showing 999 miles to go.

10 Feb, 06 – 20:33

Less than 1000 miles to Antigua. This is a major milestone for me – getting down into triple figures. The end may not be exactly in sight, but it soon will be.

There were times when Antigua seemed an impossible dream, inconceivably distant and unattainable. How many times in the first two months of my row did I wish that I could somehow be relieved of this challenge I’d taken on – that fate would intervene and allow me to unshoulder this burden without death or dishonour.

But now, having got this far, I will be forever disappointed if I don’t see it through. Most of the crews who have come to grief have suffered their mishap between here and the finish, so I’m certainly not taking it for granted that I will get there, but I now feel strong enough to claim that if I don’t make it to Antigua it won’t be for lack of will or determination on my part.

Last night I dreamed I was arriving in English Harbour… but I mustn’t get too excited, too soon. 1000 miles is still a long way to go, and anything could yet happen.

Other stuff:

Today has been a weary kind of day – humid and oppressive. Even the red ensign looked weary as it fluttered weakly from its mast. On days like this, when the wind and the waves are so silent, I get this awful feeling of being stuck in an eternal moment, as if I’ve been rowing this ocean for ever, and will be for evermore.

I was downcast for a while this morning, after getting a text saying Team C2 had taken 23 days to cover the last 1000 miles. If two big blokes rowing in shifts around the clock took that long, then surely my hopes of reaching Antigua by the end of the month were an impossible dream. But never say die. I can but try, and apart from anything else it cheers me up to think that dry land could be less than 3 weeks away. Still being at sea for longer than that I find unimaginable.

Yesterday I rang the Aurora, and asked them ever so nicely if they would mind please not coming to visit. It’s tough enough to keep going as it is, and I fear for the effect on my morale if my routine is disrupted and I see people who have easy access to hot food and company. Best I keep myself to myself for a while longer.

Texts: thanks for messages from Caroline, Nige M, Margaret and Bob, Kurt (Monty useless as a rower, unfortunately – arms and legs way too short!), Alasdair from Team Sevenoaks, HSS, Lizann, John T, DB, Natalie (do please give me your support in this push for home – need all the help I can get! Pics of myself when there’s a swell? There’s ALWAYS a swell!), Kevin from Tamarind (looking forward to that free lunch), Mar (oh, it would be so nice if the ‘right’ wind is just around the corner!), Oliver aged 9 (Monty says hello), COTB (?1000? Tell me more!), Pascale & Terrence (hope to see you in Antigua asap!), Tim Ratbag.

Rita Savage’s PS: Sponsored miles: 1972 Mar Alvarez; 1999 John Sugden and Henry Harris-Burland coming up soon.

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

Wind: E, about 12 knots (estimate)
Weather: overcast, humid, occasional hot sunshine
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 15

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