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Massive seas. Auto-helm steering suspended. Oar broken. Soaking wet. Pitch black. As skipper of the boat, my number one responsibility is safety and we have had to be vigilant for the last few days because it has been extremely rough. It’s sensory overload. This kind of experience means that the little safety details could easily be forgotten, and I am monitoring crew safety particularly closely now.

Up periscope

With massive following seas we have been forced to disable the automatic steering. Sticking blindly to a straight course would be too risky in these conditions. We are balancing taking the right direction to our destination with the complying with the direction of the waves around us. 

The waves have been crashing over the deck which means that anything that is not tied down can be washed away. I fear that a couple of items went AWOL last night. However, since I can’t see the end of my outstretched arm in the dark its not been easy to tell what has happened until the light comes up the next day. Last night we snapped an oar. Who knows how it happens, you can’t see much at all.  At least we have 3 spares!  

Last week we were crawling along at a snails’ pace. Now we have the opposite problem - we almost need to slow ourselves down. The key thing is to maintain direction with the waves - we have a long rope ready in the cabin in case we need to trail it over the back of the boat. This allows us to keep a good course on the wave without being turned size on.

Skipper’s new regime

Currently the only rowers are Cayle and Scott. Mark and I are having to steer and keep watch as far as that is possible. The auto-helm will be brought back to life when conditions calm down but for now it’s back to the old fashioned method.

Routine has been disjoined and we are eating cold, wet rations. It is foul. All of our wet rations are Army issue and these cater for times like the water-maker breaking or in this case the inability to cook safely.

Being a team

Many would imagine that there are special measures for Scott or Cayle but we have started this on an equal level and everyone continues to play a critical role. We share responsibilities for cooking, administration and we rowing all as equals.

I haven’t had much of a chance to reflect other than to simply observe life on board. It has been different from what I expected. The nice tropical weather and naked rowing conditions have failed to materialise thus far. We are rowing in thermals, gloves, waterproofs, oilskins, warm hats and headtorches. It’s still quite cold at times. It comes as no surprise to hear that yesterday featured a third boat withdrawal from the fleet. 

Water is everywhere, but the guys are coping really well. 



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After a frustrating last 24 hours or so we began today with slow conditions and not much visibility. It was quite squally, with little rain showers coming and going, but things cleared quite abruptly around 8am and suddenly we could see land. After being hidden in the mist it appeared out of nowhere and it seemed really close! This last stretch was totally different to the first half of the race. For so much of this crossing the weather has been horrific, I have never experienced anything like this. Yesterday morning at 8 am marked the first time in the entire race that we had a full 24 hours out of full foul weather gear and today is also the first day that an equipment failure would not be a cause for emotional devastation. I always thought that we would make it, but equipment failures could have slowed us down a lot. The thought of breakages always kept us on edge. But now we can finally enjoy the realisation that WE HAVE DONE IT!!!!!!!!

Read More | posted on Jan 21, 2014


It feels great to count down the hours and the miles. It is a big morale boost to know that we are almost there. For most of the crossing I had felt confident that we would make it but we did have a few scares. When the auto-helm broke I did worry that we would be down to one rower for the whole crossing. One rowing and one hand-steering would have been a horrible routine. Luckily we managed to fix it. But the most important bit of equipment is my leg - it has never let me down.

Read More | posted on Jan 20, 2014


Hard as it is to believe, this is my final blog! It has been a moment to reflect on an extraordinary 7 weeks at sea and an even more extraordinary group of people. By that I mean not just the guys in the boat, but the many wounded persons that they represent. I have been thinking a lot about what this team has achieved and what we hope others can achieve. This project has been about setting a huge challenge, committing wholeheartedly to it and then facing every challenge head on in pursuit of our goal. There have been no excuses only a choice to live this experience to its fullest and to take a positive attitude to all things. I hope that we have demonstrated that it is not what people see in you but what you go on to do that counts. I want to thank to all those who have personally supported me – you know who you are. There were a few people who said it could not be done. Oh dear… you will have to kiss my nappy-rash!

Read More | posted on Jan 19, 2014