Race diary - Week five and the weather becomes more challenging!

Written by the Entrepreneur Ship Support Team
13th January
We’re not sure if David is singing in this picture, or trying to catch a flying fish in his mouth….but the picture shows off some of their key safety kit so it’s worth having a look. πŸ‘€
The yellow box stuck to the cabin by his right knee is their EPIRB. This stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. If things go wrong out there and they need emergency support, they can activate this beacon and a rescue will be co-ordinated. Normally the nearest vessel to their position is re-routed to help them. 🚨
On his belt is a smaller yellow box, this is a PLB (or EPLB). This is an Emergency Personal Life Beacon and basically does everything the EPIRB does, except it remains with the rower at all times. If the rower is separated from the boat, they can activate this and the rescuers will head to the person’s location rather than the boat. πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ
David is also modelling a harness and connecting line (the green line). This is an extremely strong line that connects the rower to the boat at ALL times whilst they are on deck. The one thing the team need to avoid whilst being out there is being separated from the boat: Everything to keep them safe is on that boat, so as soon as they open the hatch in the morning, the first thing they do is reach out and clip on. πŸͺ’
There is a whole host of safety equipment on these boats – and hopefully they’ll never need to use any of it – but once you lose sight of shore, you can’t stop at a shop on the way to get something else, they have had to be supremely prepared for this! πŸ’ͺ

11th January
Over the last few days the team’s progress has dipped. πŸ“‰
The waves and wind has been a little more confused and that could well be the reason, but they were frustrated that it didn’t seem to be affecting the rowers around them. πŸ€”
Today, David took action! He jumped over the side with his scraper and swum under the boat to give Lily’s bottom a good clean. 🧽
There were quite a lot of goose neck barnacles and other growth attached and it took a full hour of scraping (not all in one breath), to get it cleaned. 🀿
And immediately there was a marked difference in their speed! πŸ’ͺ
Much like if you covered the top of a Formula 1 car with barnacles, the speed of these Rannoch race boats are impacted considerably by anything that affects the aquadynamic lines of it’s design. 🏎️
Fingers crossed, over the next few days we’ll see the boys back to their old speeds! πŸ’¨

11th January
David is looking more and more like a castaway these days…and we are loving his new look! πŸ§”πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ
The difference between the David that nervously rowed away from land 30 days ago, to the David that is now before us – deeply tanned, bare foot, bearded, and completely at home at sea…is stark. 😲
And that’s perhaps what isn’t talked about – by this stage, David and Guy have become part of this boat, they’re at one with the ocean. The ocean continues to wobble the boat all day, but they don’t feel that any more. Their brains have almost had a gyroscopic effect to make them feel completely stable, whilst all around them rolls around. 🌊
It’s a liberating feeling, and a feeling that instils great confidence in the rowers. And they should feel confident…these are no longer two people dreaming of rowing an ocean, they are bone fide ocean rowers and the ease at which they have dealt with it all is astonishing. πŸ™Œ
Well done boys – just 1,200 miles left! 😲

10th January
At midnight last night David took this photo…how scary (or scared!) does Lily look?! 😨
It looks almost like the a drug induced hallucination as a screaming, open mouthed robot face glares back at him through the night as he rows! πŸ€–πŸ˜±
With the lack of proper sleep and the length of time the team have to row for, hallucinations can happen. Usually simply the result of being somewhere between being awake and dreaming, it can make things you are physically seeing, seem different, scary even – and may look a little like this image! πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’«

10th January
Guy has just been in touch with another brilliant update! πŸ—£οΈ
“All going well after some less friendly weather.
“Managed to lose my Gill cap to the wind the other night. A casualty alongside one of our autohelms, which gave up the ghost trying to manage our course across the large swells.
“As you will see from the tracker this prompted us to turn slightly more south temporarily, but we are now back on a westerly course. All other equipment working well, although we have had to bleed the water maker a couple of times to get it going.
“For some reason, we made very slow progress yesterday afternoon. The seas were a mess and this affected our speed. Hopefully better today, but we really have to work for our miles. We are now down to sixth in the racing pairs, a couple of miles behind Tropical Blue Wave, who are managing a faster passage.
“Lovely sunshine today and a forecast for lighter winds. Oh for the wind without the multi-directional waves!
“Food consumption is going well. We joke that we have put on weight, rather than taken it off, but it may actually be true!
“1249 miles to Antigua. Cheerio from 17.39N and 40W, which we will cross in two miles.”
As always, it’s so good to hear Guy’s thoughts, and to see his face! Despite their ‘less friendly weather’ they’re still making great progress with a solid 49 nautical miles rowed in the last 24 hours! πŸ’ͺ

9th January
David called in today and it was clear that his mind was slowly shifting. 🧠
“I write a blog just for me each morning. I love the special time to think and contemplate before making breakfast and shift change. It’s funny how my thoughts and feelings are running through at the moment. It’s like a drug this rowing. I am beginning to start to feel like an ocean rower.” πŸš£β€β™‚οΈ
David went on to explain that he was so full of emotion out there, but that he was keeping a lid on it all and allowing thoughts to pass through his mind, rather than being reactive to them. It was a very calming conversation with him, and his overall demeanour seemed almost stoic. πŸ™Ž
And these words and thoughts and feelings that he is describing…they are the words of someone that has done this thing called ocean rowing, just right. πŸ‘Œ
Sure, you can get in the boat, wang away on the oars aggressively, desperate to get to the other side as fast as possible – and there is no doubt that Guy and David are rowing hard. But these two are now realising the endless value in a shift in mindset, in being present. Thoughts that may ordinarily make them uptight or frustrated, they are releasing. Thoughts about loved ones, and future plans…they are embracing. In fact if you do it right, as David and Guy are doing – rowing across an ocean can be a transformative and perhaps self-actualising process. πŸ™Œ
It was such a great call to receive – and if it wasn’t for the desperation to be reunited with their loved ones, we’re not sure these two would want to get off the boat! 😲

9th January

What a photo! 🀩
The team might be battling the elements, but normal daily ablutions still need to take place; toilet time, cleaning themselves and, as Guy is showing, brushing your teeth! πŸͺ₯
Brushing your teeth whilst rowing an ocean is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the nicest things to do. You’re eating vast amounts of food, and you’re working hard, and you can’t have a proper shower. You do become ‘nose-blind’ out there, but you know you are sweaty and smelly. πŸ‘ƒ
The food you eat is high calorie, so tends to be stodgy or oily…..so when you take a few moments to put minty fresh toothpaste on a brush and rub it around the inside of your mouth, whilst sitting out on deck in whatever weather…it’s one of the most refreshing, spirit lifting things you can do! πŸ˜„
A quick rinse of the brush in the ocean to clean it off, and away it goes until tomorrow. A simple thing that really helps keep the morale up…and, of course, the dentist away! 🦷
50 nautical miles in the last 24 hours for our pair – a solid days work for them, and now less than 1,300 miles to the finish! 🏁

7th January
After a tough time on the oars, Guy took some time to write a short, but brilliant update: πŸ“
“Well, the last 24 hours has taught us how to wear our pants outside our trousers, as much higher winds have combined with angry seas to make our progress more challenging.
“We have broken a rowlock, been β€˜pinned’ by the wind on at least five occasions and generally been knocked about.
“You may have noticed that we’re not going as fast as some of the other boats. This is partly because we are now on the same latitude as Antigua and are reticent to go any further south, lest It become too challenging to get back up north. Boats to our north have more leeway and some of the boats behind us are going further south. We have decided to battle our way west, with lower daily mileages as a result.
“We have now just started day 27 and the race tracker is predicting our arrival in early February. David and I wish to assure you that we will be doing our level best to achieve this!
“Best wishes from 17.47N and 37.06W, Guy & David.”
From both Guy and David’s recent reports it is clear that the recent weather tested their mettle – but they have come out of it swinging and despite Guy’s concerns about lower mileage, they still managed over 55 nautical miles in the last 24 hours!

David & Guy left La Gomera in the Canaries on 12th December. They hope to arrive in Antigua by the middle of February. Please give generously at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-entrepreneur-ship