31 January, 2016
The boys have had a tough decision to make in the last 24hrs, they've been toying with idea of delaying their arrival until day light.. read on to find out more.
We’ve made the decision to sacrifice what little power that we have left to get this blog out as we sprint towards the finish line in Antigua, some 40.5 nautical miles away.
Last night we were faced with a decision whether we should slow our progress to arrive in the day, meaning a night on para anchor to slow us down, or arrive in the dead of night. There are clear benefits of to arriving during the day, we get a great welcome reception, a band and better photos! A call to my wife very quickly put things into perspective.
“I need to ask you a question about our arrival – are you bothered about what time...” I was cut short… “Darling, it’s a race. You’ve been racing for the last 6 weeks. You’ll regret it, if you don’t fight it until the end. Get rowing, dig deep and we’ll see you tomorrow.” That’s my girl.
With the phone passed from Annie to Abi, a similar conversation was had between her and Olly – and then it began. The race of all races – both against the clock and against ourselves. Last orders was the target, now looking unlikely – and more so due to the deliberation. But not impossible.
At approximately 22.30, I dug the oars in for what would be the first of a night of 1.5 hour shifts, the recovery no longer an issue. We can sort that when we get there. The important factor was speed – how much of it and how long we could maintain it for. A dozen strokes in at what I would call an ergo pace and we were rewarded with four knots, setting the challenge for the both of us for the night. We set about writing our shift start and finish mileage on the cabin wall inside and the miles tumbled. 83.0, 77.7, 72.4, 67.5, 63.8, 58.8... Next stop Antigua – and last orders, hopefully.
There’s a reason why more people have been into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic ocean and that’s because it’s hard. It’s difficult to get to the start line with the right boat, equipment and mental and physical preparation. It’s tough to get to the middle and it’s tougher to get to the other side.
We feel very lucky. The ocean has so far been pretty kind to us – allowing us to cross with little issue along the way. Those issues that we have faced, we have rectified as best we can with minimal effect on our progress. It certainly could have been a lot worse. Whilst the technical problems and storms have hampered the prospect of a world record, after 6 weeks at sea, we have the honour of setting a race record for the pairs class, leading the pairs into the finish line – where stand our loved ones, and a nice cold beer... or two.
We’ll write a proper summary once on dry land, but for now a simple thank you to all those that have been involved in this awesome adventure. We are both amazed how much everyone has got behind this and we are hugely grateful for it. More to follow.