One of the things that has really impressed me about the comments and messages I receive is just how good some people are at putting themselves in my place, identifying with my issues, and understanding my life. Considering that most people have never rowed across an ocean, or even seen an ocean rowboat, this is quite a feat of imagination and empathy. Even though I’d spoken to dozens of ocean rowers before I did the Atlantic, I’m not sure I’d formed as clear a mental picture of what it would be like as some of you have achieved..
So, to provide even more information with which you can furnish your mental image of my boat and everyday life, I’ve decided to do a short 3-part series of blogs about the Brocade, her layout, and what I keep where.
So if you can’t imagine anything more boring that the contents of my lockers, come back later!
Part 1: The Cockpit
I am no artist, but this photo is of my attempt to sketch the layout of the rowing cockpit – the middle section of my boat. Overall the cockpit is about 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. This diagram is drawn from my point of view as I’m rowing, i.e. facing backwards, so the stern cabin would be off the top of the picture.
The curvy thing that looks like the Lone Ranger’s eye mask is my rowing seat, mounted on a rectangular platform, which coasts up and down on its two runners (the long rectangles). Above it you see my two rowing shoes, which are fixed to the boat, with the compass mounted between them. The compass has a battery-operated backlight for use after dark – red, so it doesn’t impair my night vision. On the side decks to either side of the rowing position are mounted the riggers and oarlocks for the oars, and small cleats for the rudder strings.
Just beyond my feet is a grabrail screwed to the deck. This is the one I appropriated as a makeshift cleat for reeling in my sea anchor. It also bears a bracket where I mount the Seacook stove for boiling water.
Footwell: contains liferaft (lashed upright against cabin bulkhead), jerrycan for water, and all-purpose bucket. Also contains 100 lb of lead, sealed into a compartment below a false bottom. Also often contains large amounts of seawater in rough weather. I must have bailed it out about 30 times so far. I will definitely be reinstating the electric bilge pump during the Hawaii layover!
Locker 1: Grab bag (to go with me in liferaft if abandoning ship – contains spare GPS, VHF radio, water, chocolate, flashlight and all kinds of other useful things) Lifejacket Portable bilge pump
Locker 2: the galley locker Beans for sprouting Bags of dinner foods currently in use (freeze dried peas, sweetcorn, kidney beans, expedition meals – I sit on the liferaft and assemble my meal in a thermos mug while the kettle is boiling) Lighters for cooking stove Sauces, herbs, spices Spare mugs, food containers, etc.
Locker 3: empty
Locker 4: freeze-dried expedition meals
Locker 5: Ropes Lifting harness Mask and snorkel
Locker 6: Bags of jerky Bags of freeze dried vegetables which I add to the freeze-dried expedition meals to boost the veg content of my diet
Locker 7: Watermaker
Locker 8: Bucket Cleaning materials Trash Items to be recycled And another 100 lb of lead under a false bottom
Above decks, the seed sprouter lives in the top right corner, in a string bag secured to the boat by a karabiner and tucked under the side deck.
Bathroom facilities (bedpan) live top left, again tucked under the side deck
The sea anchor (sponsored by Zillion TV), along with its ropes and buoy, lives in the bottom left corner.
I have two canvas cockpit bags attached to the gunwales to either side of the rowing position – one for snacks and the other for items that might be needed urgently – marine flares and an air horn to attract attention of a ship that might be about to mow me down.
And that little area, no more than a few square feet, is where I spend most of my waking hours. As I row I face the aft hatch, which takes up most of my field of vision, so my eyes wander from compass, to liferaft, to hatch – and frequently up to the red ensign flag fluttering from the cabin roof, which shows me clearly which direction the wind is coming from.
After 103 days looking at this view on my way across the Atlantic, and 73 days so far on the Pacific, I’ve got to know it pretty well!
Position at 2145 5th August Pacific Time, 0445 6th August UTC: 23 32.422’N, 143 40.657.
Today has been as fine a rowing day as I could ever wish for. After a squally start the skies cleared and the wind settled into a helpful ENE direction, kicking up a good swell that has been gently propelling me Hawaii-wards. The rowing has been comfortable – no more battling across waves – and the temperature perfect. I’ve asked my weatherguy to order up more of the same.
After taking so long to cross the first few degrees of longitude, I’m now crossing off another number on my whiteboard every couple of days. It is very, very satisfying.
Thanks for all the messages. Some special mentions: Deirdre – thanks for telling me about the buttery croissants and brioche. Huh. Envious, me?! Looking forward to catching up with you on your lovely boat when I get back to California. John – thanks for the facts and figures. My weatherguy works in nautical miles, but maybe I like statute miles better – the numbers are bigger! Too bad I may not see JUNK. I was hoping to scrounge some water. Bottled?!! Steve and Sky and Nomadness – congrats on the maiden voyage! Have a great time – and I hope our courses intercept soon on dry land if not at sea. Jim – tbanks for the encouraging words about the treats in store between here and Hawaii. Hi to Michael and everybody else at Brocade. Thank you for your ongoing support. And thanks to Sandi, Chris, and all the others who are willing me on with their cries of Go Roz!
Click here to view Day 73 of the Atlantic Crossing 11 February 2006: At Sea Nobody can Hear You Scream – frustration.