George the trailer saviour, me, and Dave Conley of MOSI
George the trailer saviour, me, and Dave Conley of MOSI

Tampa, Florida

Yesterday I was reunited with my ocean rowboat, Sedna Solo. I hadn’t seen her for over a year, since I left Antigua one week after finishing the Atlantic Rowing Race.

She’d had a few adventures in the meantime, dawdling through the Caribbean, and I really didn’t know what kind of shape she would be in – especially after her boatnapping in Antigua.

Just before noon I arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, which has been her home for the last month, and the curator took me into the hall where she was on display. It was an emotional moment when I caught my first glimpse of her – still looking splendid after all this time, her ‘Voyage’ stickers still vibrantly rainbow-coloured against her silver paintwork.

Once I clambered on board I soon stopped being emotional and went back into practical mode, composing a mental list of all the work that needs to be done. Her deck paint is in a very sorry and discoloured state, the steering mechanism is entirely rusted up, and up close her silver paintwork looked very scratched and scuffed. I opened up a few hatches, releasing a strong whiff of mould and freeze-dried food. I took a quick look at the watermaker, and it seems my ‘pickling’ process has worked as I couldn’t see any green stuff growing in there. I haven’t investigated the electrical system yet, but I am assuming it will have to be entirely replaced as saltwater corrosion has probably been having its wicked way during her prolonged stay in the tropics.

So I am going to have my work cut out to get her seaworthy and beautiful again by July. But where there’s a will there’s a way…

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