Race diary - Week three and Christmas!

Written by the Entrepreneur Ship Support Team


31st December
Overnight Guy and David passed the 1,000 NM marker on their route to Antigua! 🇦🇬
Saying that you are going to row an ocean and actually doing it are two very different things. Often rowers talk about imposter syndrome all the way up to launch day, and perhaps even as they’re rowing away from land: They have often taken a lot of support to get to the start line, and there is always a worry that they might not adjust to the hardships of ocean rowing and have to cease the expedition in the early days.
But now, with over a thousand miles rowed, and almost three weeks on the oars, this pair are well and truly making everyone that has supported them incredibly proud of their efforts, and their amazing progress. 🤩
To get to this stage in the expedition has been a herculean effort – but they have done it with a rye sense of humour and a clear belief that nothing is out of reach. 🙌
A fantastic milestone, for a fantastic team – brilliant work!! 💪

30th December

The eagle-eyed dot watchers amongst you will have noticed that the team took a little left turn overnight. ⬅️
The plan from Simon Ellyat, the weather router, was that they would row at 250° (a West South West direction) but due to the beam on seas (waves hitting them directly on the side) which were rocking the boat considerably, they were struggling to row that course. So the team made the decision to bear away from the theoretically ideal course by 15-20 degrees during the night (pointing them closer to South West). ↙️
And this highlights an important point – as much as the charts and forecasts tell us that they should be aiming for 250° on the compass, it is absolutely key to a good weather router that the rowers feedback the real world weather conditions and that action is taken based upon these observations. 👁️
A little positive of the team going further south than they had anticipated is that they have found themselves in an area of currents that are pushing them in the right direction a little, so fingers crossed that not too much ground is lost from this diversion!

30th December

Whilst exchanging messages with Guy earlier, this message came back from him…and it absolutely encapsulates his spirit throughout this voyage! 🙌
“Went down mogul alley in the pitch dark again last night. To add a bit of oomph I did it listening to Status Quo and their album Riffs. For rock’n rollers it’s a must. Safety warning – it can conjure up illusions of youth!”
If you want to get closer to their experience – take a few minutes, put on the ‘Riff’ album, listen to Quo classic after Quo classic, and imagine rowing down rolling waves in the pitch dark. 😂
Despite the lessening winds, the pairs progress continues to be good, still eroding the distance between themselves and the team in third place for the pairs race, with now just 12 nautical miles between them and Emergency Duo. 😲
Keep going team – and keep living this incredible life! 💪

29th December

Do you remember Herbie? The series of films that began in the 60s about a VW Beetle that had a mind of it’s own, and was able to drive itself. In all of the films, Herbie would in some way find himself at the back of a race, but then we’d see sped up footage of Herbie overtaking all the cars in quick succession….well that seems to be what David and Guy are doing! 🪲
The next boat in their sights is Emergency Duo – and the boys are catching up VERY quickly. 🏎️
Despite a comparatively slow day on the oars for them, they still gained 11 nautical miles on Emergency Duo in the last 24 hours – and this isn’t just one single good day for them…on Christmas Eve they were over 80 nautical miles behind this team, and have brought it all back in 5 short days! 🤯
Whilst our plucky pair didn’t sign up to win this race – their competitive spirit and their unquestionable speed has been absolutely fascinating to follow. Particularly whilst they are seemingly enjoying the whole experience immensely! 😲
In a world where fame can be gained by doing a funny dance on TikTok – these two genuine warriors are proving to not just be serious adventurers, but unequivocal role models for any of us, young or old. 🙇‍♂️

28th December

After a few days of quietness from the team as they concentrate on powering across the Atlantic – we’ve heard back from Guy!
“Greetings from the middle of nowhere. Another day, same view!
“After a few fast days, the wind has dropped. We are now pulling ourselves towards our destination at around two hard fought knots.
“Last night we experienced unusually high seas in the early evening, we found ourselves swamped by a couple of whoppers. The first came over the back of the boat. The second from the side, flooding the forward rowing position. We proceeded with a cautious eye after that!
“The night was pitch black from around 6pm until 3am, when a waning moon appeared. The morning gave way to light winds with choppy seas, meaning slow going all day.
“A highlight for today was a visit by three inquisitive dolphins, who swam around the boat for a few minutes.
“The next few days are likely to be slow going, due to low winds. Our weather router, Simon, then expects the trade winds to renew to help set us on our way.
“We are enjoying rowing the nights under the amazing clear skies and stars. Last night, we took it in turn to row hard in total darkness down what felt like a mogul field, with our instruments dancing on the face of the stern cabin. You kind of hope that the Pisteur has not left an unexpected obstacle in the middle of the slope! Very exciting and even though we were only travelling at up to 3.5 knots, it felt like we were on a race track relying only on our senses of sound and feel. The roar of the breaking waves all around is exhilarating.
“Getting up every two hours, however, is not much fun! We are both managing about 90 minutes rest/ sleep in our rest periods.
“Lily is performing well. She is in overall good order and will hopefully remain that way. We are particularly amazed by the quality of the water made by our Schenker water maker. And we must be getting used to life in the ocean as even the dried food tastes OK! As I write this, we have just begun our 17th day!
“Hope everyone at home is doing well. Happy New Year to you and all our dot watchers!”
What an update from Guy this is. What keeps amazing us all is not just that they are doing this…it’s that they’re doing it with such gusto and excitement!

27th December
WOW!!! 😲
At the beginning of Christmas Eve the boys mentioned they were trying to hunt down and overtake ‘The Mindcraft’ team. At the time they were a considerable 37 nautical miles behind and to be completely honest it seemed like a very, very difficult challenge to achieve. 🤔
But then Guy and David did something remarkable.
They appear to have pressed the ‘Nitrous Oxide’ button on their boat and today, less than 3.5 days later…..have OVERTAKEN ‘THE MINDCRAFT’ TEAM!!! 🤯
For ANY team to take those kind of chunks out of a competing rower is absolutely mind blowing, but when it’s the oldest pair to row any ocean – it’s even more special. 🙌
In completing this racing move, the boys have moved from fifth position in the race pairs, to fourth! 💪
To find out more head over to our Facebook page:
26th December
David has been in touch this morning with an explanation of how Christmas day onboard the boat went! 🎄
“Happy Boxing Day! Hope you had a good Christmas. So, update from me! 🗣️
“Christmas was just like any other day. Guy got a bracelet from Nicky and Lucy, and I gave Guy some Salcombe gin and miniatures of rum. My family gave me some mince pies, Xmas pudding and a stunning compass engraved with my initials and the co-ordinates of English Harbour. My heart melted. Both of us missed our families. 😔
“Weather was great for rowing so we pushed on through lunch and our Fray Bentos pie can wait…perhaps until New Year’s Eve? 🎉
“Again huge thanks to Simon for setting yet another course for us to row. Fastest in our class two days running! 💪
“Boxing Day started with an amazing sunrise! (How many times can you say “ what an amazing sunrise!”. Also we found five flying fish that had landed on the deck. Little buggers decided to launch suicide attacks on us overnight! 🎏
“Guys snacks locker is still slightly smelly after he spilt milk in it a couple of days ago, not nice wafting downwind to me as I row.” 🤮
Great update from David – as he says, they’re making great progress, and we hope he doesn’t get too upset about Guy’s spillage – not point crying over spilt milk….

25th December

It might be Christmas day, but that doesn’t appear to have had any bearing on the effort the team have put in today! 🎅💪
With the exception of one, the only boats to have bettered Guy and David’s distance over the last 24 hours are the teams in the top nine positions in this race. 😲
In less than two days they have reduced ‘The Mindcraft’s lead from 34 nautical miles to just 18 nautical miles! 🤯
Throughout the day though, and particularly as the sun gets low in the sky the team’s minds will have firmly been at home. 🌅
This is a team of family men, a team that understand and value their connections with their loved ones – as much as they’ve strived to do this, to take on this phenomenal challenge….there is probably no place they want to be right now than at home. 🏡
As we’ve celebrated, given and received presents, eaten and drank more than we should…these two warriors have carried on throughout – not just rowing as well as normal – but making BETTER progress than ever. 🙌
The psychological strength that Guy and David seem to be able to tap into appears unparalleled. 🧠💪
Merry Christmas both of you – you are making everyone incredible proud. 🦚

25th December
David and Guy’s Christmas Day, is undeniably different to most other people’s Christmas day. 🤔
You might worry that they are far away from their families and are missing out. 😔
You might worry that their Christmas Dinner has a distinct lack of cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets. 🍗
But then again….you haven’t got CHRISTMAS FLIPPIN’ DOLPHINS!!!! 🐬🎅
This is the second time in 2 days that a pod of dolphins have surrounded the boat, travelling past, leaping out of the water to check out what these strange ape-like creatures are doing rowing a boat in the middle of nowhere! 🐒
It’s most definitely very tough being away at Christmas, and it’s definitely very emotional – but this unique connection with nature will perhaps help to ease that pain. 😊
Merry Christmas boys – you are absolutely the most inspiring pair on the planet right now!

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24th December

David got in touch today and wanted to say a few words:
“Today (Xmas Eve) is the second anniversary of mum’s death from cancer, so I very much dedicate this post to her.
“Another storming nights row with Guy and I pushing hard in bumpy conditions. We had a great pod of dolphins swim past at a rate of knots which was an incredible sight. 2nd lot in 24 hours. We have been hit with a couple of rough waves which flood the deck and us.
“For me the night rowing is amazing; the night sky is literally full of stars and planets. You get very tuned in to the noise of the sea, and adjust your rowing accordingly.
“The weather reports are great and always a positive start to the day. However Simon’s jokes are not improving at all!
“Christmas Eve has been like any other rowing day; the relentless two hours on and two hours off, but we are getting used to it now. Hopefully tomorrow we will get a few hours off.
“Happy Christmas from Guy and myself.”
A brilliant update for David there. It’s tough being away at this time of the year, but the tone of David’s words suggests that this is more than just a physical experience, it’s allowing him to be alone in his thoughts for hours on end, and perhaps manifests itself in a very deep and almost spiritual way for him. 🧘‍♂️

24th December

Earlier today both David and Guy spoke to Jim Rosenthal and Trevor Marshall on Jack FM directly from their boat via Sat phone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Must be what they call radio waves…🙊 📻🌊
David explains that his unconventional Christmas Dinner would be a Fray Bentos pie!! This was an idea he picked up from North Atlantic solo ocean rower NY2UKSoloRow – Dave Dinger Bell, after his 118 day crossing earlier in the year where he consumed a large number of these ‘ever lasting’ tinned pies! 🥧
Aside from Christmas dinner and the never ending horizon – one of the biggest things about this interview is that you can hear the emotion in the chaps’ voices, particular towards the end as they talk about being away from family for Christmas. 😭
It’s tough being away from your family in something that is so isolated, but it’s much tougher at Christmas. If there is one day when they’ll miss their loved ones the most, it is likely to be tomorrow. 😢
But…it will be a Christmas to remember, and it will be a Christmas that both they and their families will talk about for the rest of their lives! 🙌
Such an incredible pair of human beings – everyone is so, so proud! 🦚

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