Having reached this stage of commitment to the Atlantic Rowing Race – the sponsorship drive well underway and significant amounts of money already invested – it would have been severely embarrassing to find out that I’m a thoroughgoing landlubber with a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving an ocean crossing.
However, I am happy to report that we are now six days out from Cape Verde – I can no longer remember a life when floors and beds and tables were horizontal, and when my day didn’t consist of 2 hours on watch, 6 hours off – and I’m loving it!
For the first couple of days I was shadowing Russ’s watches while I learned how to steer a course. Then I was promoted to watch leader, and allowed to take the helm on my own. Luckily there isn’t much to crash into in the middle of the ocean, so my rather erratic early steering attempts managed to avert disaster. I’ve learned a lot in a very short time, and would like to think I’m now reasonably competent. Sails and sheets and halyards are still a mystery to me, but they’re not relevant to my Atlantic row so that’s not too much of a worry.
A prime objective of my time on Steamy was to find out if seasickness was going to be a problem. Happy to report that after a bit of queasiness for the first day or so, my stomach seems to be quite reconciled to being thrown around in rollercoaster fashion for 24 hours a day. Appetite unaffected – in fact, I’m feeling rudely healthy in the pure Atlantic air. Apart from a number of very impressive bruises sustained while I was still finding my sea legs, I’m in fine physical fettle and relishing life on the ocean wave. Roll on November!