Steve introduced me to his friend Mark Featherstone, a highly accomplished sailor (see this BBC story) and skipper of Steve Fossett’s yacht Cheyenne. It transpires that Mark and I nearly met a few weeks ago, in very different circumstances. When I was on a storm-tossed Pacific, capsizing and generally having a bad time, the Cheyenne was on its way from Hawaii to California. A member of my support team contacted them to ask them if they might be able to retrieve the Brocade en route.
Mark called Steve Fossett (this was 11 days before Steve’s disappearance over the Nevada desert) and Steve had generously given the go-ahead for them to divert and pick up my boat. They were only about 50 miles away when they received the message from my team that I still hoped to resume my row, so I did not want them to salvage the Brocade, but to leave her where she was so that I could pick her up myself.
It is strange to think that we could have met 100 miles off the coast of California in the middle of a gale, instead of in a quiet, cozy pub in the pretty seaside town of Salcombe.
P.S. I was due to travel to London on Thursday, but have decided to extend my stay in Devon. I have been training the last couple of days with a fellow ocean rower, Jason McKinlay (Atlantic Rowing Race 2003, doubles class) and am starting a new training programme under his supervision. I also have the use of a lovely house, usually occupied by my friends Julian and Celina, who are in France at the moment but return on Sunday. This is a beautiful part of Britain, and I have good friends here. So what’s the hurry?
[photo: Cheyenne – picture by Henri Thibault]