When I arrived at the Presidio Yacht Club on Friday to meet the CBS film crew, I was surprised to see Erden Eruc’s ocean rowboat moored to the guest dock. The last time I had seen it had been at the Corinthian Yacht Club, before Erden’s abortive first attempt to depart under the Golden Gate Bridge at the start of this month.
Erden and I chatted briefly before I was called away for filming, so it was only today that I found out the full story from his dispatch – that he had been trying again to leave, but the weather had been unfavourable as he approached the bridge so he had retreated to the safety of the Presidio.
I see from his site that he is now hoping to leave on one of the next two big ebbs – either at the end of June, or during the time window that I am looking at, between 11th and 13th July.
For the avoidance of doubt, if it should happen that Erden and I leave at about the same time, I’d like to make it clear that this is not a race. He is going direct to Australia. I will be stopping in Hawaii and Tuvalu. We are each just doing our own thing.
It may seem like I am labouring this point, but that is because I so strongly did not enjoy being in a race on the Atlantic. Although I was the only solo woman, and hence theoretically competing only against myself, I did not like it that there were 25 other boats out there who had left at the same time as me and whose progress would inevitably be compared with mine. This added to the already considerable mental pressure I was feeling at the time.
This also brings to mind the first ocean row of modern times, in 1966, when the Blyth/Fairfax crew presented a rival bid to Hoare and Johnstone. Pushed for time in order to compete, Hoare and Johnstone set out less well prepared than they may otherwise had been. Blyth and Fairfax arrived in Ireland to international acclaim. Hoare and Johnstone were lost at sea. Although present circumstances are very different, when I read the story of Hoare and Johnstone I resolved never to give in to the temptation to leave before I feel 99% ready. (Being something of a perfectionist, I will never feel 100% ready.)
It takes two to race, so even if Erden and I leave at the same time I will focus purely on my own project. But I can’t help hoping that he gets away at the end of June – which is also what he hopes for .
And this latest development proves yet again that leaving from San Francisco requires the full cooperation of the weather gods.