Chris and Clint, collectively Team C2, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera to Antigua in 51 days, 2 hours and 10 minutes, from 30 November 2005-20 January 2006.
Chart showing positions of all remaining crews in the 2005 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to Antigua (updated every 2-3 hours)
Here are some video clips from the trip that
can be easily accessed via YouTube:
At sea: Clint rowing, at some point after Christmas (tinsel still up). Listen for the whining of the water maker which was their constant background "moosic".
Saturday, 22 April: Chris and Clint were presented with this magnificent trophy at the official Woodvale Prize Giving in Teignmouth, Devon. Reports of the event were considerably less detailed (and probably the better for it) than those phones in while at sea - we did not, for example, hear what their favourite canape was, thank goodness. However the word "hangover" seems to have featured in the "Next day" section for most attendees.
Charity total : £19,216.69.
Wednesday, 15 March: C2 has
officially won the 2005 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race! That's
overall and in total, not just the pairs class. Fantastic mooooos.
Read Woodvale's press release here.
The precise logic can be a little hard to understand, particularly why crews which finished up with the same place after penalties were not ranked as "equals". The premise that no crew that lost a race place can win overall seems to have played a key part too.
Many thanks to all of Chris and Clint's supporters for contributing financially and/or in messages, before, during and after the race. You have all played a part in their achievement.
Charity total : £19,203.87. Like the result, this is beyond our wildest dreams.
Monday, 20 February: Exactly a month
since the sea cow landed! Chris reports that his legs are feeling fine
now, though his bottom still couldn't earn money as a stunt double for a
peach. The biggest impact of the trip has been on the boys' hands,
though, and both find that their hands have become stiffened claws ready
to be wrapped round oar handles, when they wake up in the mornings, and
they can't really clench their fists.
More charity donations have been received, and the total is now a whopping £19,158.23.
Tuesday, 14 February:
Innocent Drinks, who have one of the most
websites around and kindly gave Chris and Clint some free T-shirts
featuring their quasi-bovine logo, have featured our boys' heroic
efforts in their latest newsletter. If you sign up for it on their
website, you'll get a copy!
Meanwhile we have received news of a very generous donation of £3,000 to Chris' chosen charity, the Parkinson's Disease Society, making our charity total now £18,876.18. This is truly humbling and we can't thank all of our donors enough.
Saturday, 11 February:
for sale! The boat, obviously, not the rowers... fully equipped, we
really cannot recommend her sturdy construction enough. Will you help
her make a 4th ocean crossing? There's another Atlantic Rowing race in
2007, not to mention the Indian Ocean race in 2009...
Meanwhile, James Cracknell today announced officially that the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race marked his retirement from competitive rowing. Remember to video the 5 "Through Hell and High Water" documentary slots at 9.30-10.00am Monday to Friday this coming week about Cracknell & Fogle!
Charity total : £15,876.18
Wednesday, 8 February: Well done to
the bunch of crews who have recently finished, particularly Chris Martin
for his solo row, excellent blog and amazing "extreme DIY" achievements.
There are now lots more photos up on the "During the race" bit of the Photos page, though there will be more to come as we get some stills out of Clint's video footage. A few are slightly over-exposed...
There is a premier of a film about rowing the Atlantic by Ollie Hicks (who rowed West to East earlier this year and was greeted by his "schoolfriend" Prince William on his arrival by boat in Britain) at the Royal Geographical Society on 8 March - details of how to buy tickets here.
Charity total : £15,747.97 - thank you!
Sunday, 5 February: Well done to
Gurkha Spirit who finished today - after nasty injury to both of them in
bad seas. We liked the message left early on in our Visitors' Book by
one of their military colleagues who speculated that they might be going
a bit slower than us owing to the need to have dinner every evening in
full dress uniform, like the good officers they are.
Meanwhile, our friend Karon at New Wave, suppliers of "Atmos" tops which we recommend as the VERY best kind of performance top for ocean (and) other rowers, has sent the land team a moo-velous addition for her cow-lection. You herd it here first...
The children of classes 3 and 5 at Island Academy who followed C2's progress and welcomed them into the English Harbour with their singing produced some insightful drawing of the cow boat which were bound in lovely cow print folders and presented to Chris and Clint when they went to talk to the children at their assembly. Many of these featured descriptions of the boys based on the letters of their names, and here are some which they liked most (they were particularly pleased to be considered "cool", of course, though Clint is slightly concerned at being thought universally "nice").
Charity total : £15,643.97 - thank you!
Friday, 3 February: C2 were on the
front page of The Sun! OK, the Antigua Sun Weekend, that is, but all the
As well as talking about the heroic exploits of Chris Andrews and Client Evans, this worthy publication also included article with the dramatic headlines "Tourism Ministry to focus on marketing country" and "Ministry to implement policies" as well as offering a recipe for the local delicacy Goat Curry, whose ingredients don't actually include any goats. We were reliably informed by a local, though, that the large number of goats that seem to wander wild around the island (shown, left, "grazing" by the equally wild aloe vera which grows everywhere and can't be used raw for soothing sunburn as it absolutely stinks) are not kept either as pets or for dairy purposes, so maybe the "mutton" in the recipe was a euphemism.
Inside on page 21, there were a few more photos of both EDF and C2, including the nice one at the bottom of Chris with his proud parents Audrey and Ted, and his sister Sue. NB Ignore the bit about C2 coming 3rd - I think the reporter had forgotten about All Relative!
A few more photos have been added to the "at sea" bit of the Photos page - many more to come.
Well done to Mayabrit - who led for a long time as a result of their choice of the "great circle route" course - for finishing, and great news that the Spirit of Cornwall boat has been salvaged!
Charity total : £15,433.84 - incredible!
Thursday, 2 February: a message from
Chris and Clint
What’s all the fuss about?
First– we must apologise to our readers for the fact that this piece isn’t written by Helena (H). As you can imagine 3,000 miles of typing warrants a wee break. We have just got to grips with the phenomenal feat of composition undertaken by H, which was an integral part of our overall performance. Words fail us (but not her) and the best we can offer for now is a hugely underwhelming…thanks. We know H made a difference to our performance … situation normal then.
Second, our thoughts go out to those who are still at sea and braving it. Again no words can describe what this experience is like – the most unexpected of weather conditions and the strangest of fortunes for many crews – including those whose adventure was cut short by capsize or hampered by equipment failure. Thanks on behalf of everyone to the support crew on Aurora and those backing them up. If we hear once more that Lin is the best yacht skipper anyone has seen, we’ll start charging – it must be true.
Lastly we need to deal with some PR that has got out of hand. A few days after arriving in Antigua we were asked to comment on the race positions (specifically ours vs EDF’s) because there was a conflict in accounts between newspapers and with regard to the information on Woodvale’s site. Without going into the detail …the phrases …
… never came from our lips. Anyone who knows us both will know we reserve the candescence for the rowing wherever possible.
Because we had advance notice of what we were likely to be asked there were notes of our answers and we stuck to these verbatim (NB the skipper is a lawyer!). Here are the highlights of our comments from the time re race places….and following conversations with both Ben and James and the Race Officer. We’ve obviously been asked lots of other questions about our trip and our motivation … but this topic seems more …well topical.
* Since putting these answers together, other boats have finished the race without using any of their ballast water.
Charity total : £15,113.33 - including the pledges from the CC coffee machine sheets, and proceeds of a Quiz Night held in November
Wednesday, 1 February: Chris did an
interview on BBC Radio Kent shortly after he got home (11 Megabytes of
fame if not quite 15 mins), which can be downloaded here - Right Click
on each link and do "Save Target as" to your hard drive first and then
click to listen (but as they are each over 5MB, only broadband users are
really advised to try). In it, Chris reveals that:
For anyone who hasn't been reading every entry in the Visitors' Book, the winner of the Limerick competition, Tim "the Bard" Soutar has celebrated the completion of C2's glorious row by producing a new work of equally triumphant proportions. With apologies to WS Gilbert:
I am the very model of a modern ocean mariner,
Tuesday, 31 January - Back in the UK: Chris, Clint and
Helena are gradually sifting through the vast amount of photos taken at
sea and in Antigua, and these will be put up in chunks are they are
organised. Quite a few have been put up today - please click on the
Photos link on the green bar to the left. Press links have also been
added to the Links page.
Kendell Kennedy is the lucky winner of the Race Duration Sweepstake and her case of Hardy Wine is on its way to her. Many thanks to everyone who entered this and contributed to the expedition expenses as a result - and to Hardy Wines for generously donating the prize.
Daisy and Buttercup are due to be weighed in shortly, after which the winner will be announced and their appropriate prize despatched to them.
Charity total : £11,395.83 - this has exceeded all of our wildest dreams and we're very grateful. We understand that it will continue to increase thanks to a lovely initiative at Clifford Chance where by pledge sheets were put up by the coffee machines. MANY thanks again to all who have contributed to the Parkinson's Disease Society and the National Autistic Society.
More Updates - Thursday, 26th January: The
boys arrived back in the UK early today, on the same flight as Cracknell and Fogle, and
both Chris and Clint are planning on being in work tomorrow, after
hastily buying new suits this afternoon so that they don't suffer any
embarrassing incidents with their trousers falling off as a result of
their considerable weight loss.
Charity total so far: £11,067.63 Many thanks
Sobering news of another rescue. Please think of those still out there - especially Chris Martin and Roz Savage who are Solo - and send them your support.
More arrival photos have come in - please scroll down and have a look at previous entries that have been updated.
This is them with Atlantic 4 and the Bout de Vie guys who looked remarkably well when they came in, but said that they would do the race "1 time only"!
and the boys talking at assembly to the kids whose singing of "Row, row, row your boat" welcomed them in from Island Academy. This song is habitually sung by wits on riverbanks who think it is a highly original and amusing thing to do when they see rowers go past, invariably to the despair of rowers, but on this occasion, it was absolutely perfect.
The following article was on the back page of Tuesday's Daily Telegraph in the Diary bit of the Business Pages: Helena is particularly chuffed that a photo she took has been published in the Telegraph!
Tuesday, 24th January: News in yesterday
about the capsize and withdrawal of Spirit of Cornwall, for quite a
while one of the front runners of the pairs race, with only 200 miles to
go. Now 5 have finished (the one-legged Frenchmen having done so
yesterday) but 5 have abandoned the race and a few are struggling on
with patched up blades and diminished crews. All that puts the
mere achievement of getting across into perspective.
It seems that much of the time so far has not been spent partying in the sun, as we expected, but unloading the boat and "sorting things out" in cloudy and wet (but warm) conditions. Visitors have mainly been annoying tourists asking silly questions, but they have met such A list celebrities as Willie Carson (he's the short one in the piccy!), and have done a long interview last night for local radio.
About a week ago, C2 told the land team that Chris had probably lost a stone and a half, while Clint had only lost half that. In fact, Chris had lost 14 kg/2.2 stone but Clint had lost 13 kg/2 stone. They ARE breathing in in this picture, but all the same! Both were planning on going out to buy new suits on Thursday afternoon so they could turn up at work on Friday without risk of their trousers falling down.
Charity total so far: £10,952.24: yes....the sites are still open for donations
Arrival reports - more from Friday, 20th
January: Boys are happy to
be on dry land, have just had beer and cheeseburgers, but find that rooms still wobble a lot, and Clint especially can't cope with standing up for more than 20 mins.
Emaciated corpses of Chris and Clint (and Helena kneeling in the cow costume). How much champagne do you think they really managed? Why does Clint look so unhappy? At least they seem to be standing unsupported. Note that Ian can be clearly seen lying inside the boat ready for use.
Chris and Clint had only realised at 7.30am the morning of their arrival that Helena must be in Antigua, after various cover-up attempts. They are definitely still speaking (in answer to someone's query on visitors' book), and were presented with a presentation pack by the Minister for Tourism containing t-shirts, rum, and guava jam. One of the highlights of the row in was being sung to by a class of local children.
A little later, after a hot shower (courtesy of the Manager of the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel right next to the dock) and a shave, our heroes are more recognisable, and the crew of EDF came down to see them.
Incidentally, Chris' T-shirt isn't intended to show that he he didn't deserve the "punishment" of rowing across the Atlantic - rather it was kindly given (Clint has one too) by the Innocent Drinks Company, whose vans are painted in a fetching cow print design rather like a boat we know...
The sun came out and there was a
good gathering of rowers and their families, along with families still
waiting for their crews to come in (Atlantic Warrior and Atlantic
Prince) as well as all sorts of people whose boats were moored in the
harbour or who were simply visiting. Incredibly, they got chatting to an
English gentleman in his 60s who Clint realised that he recognised. The
conversation went like this:
The EG was John Milbourn, former rowing master at Emanuel and later City of London School, and possibly the first FISA Umpire in the UK. How improbable was that! We then bumped into him again at the airport - it really is a small world.
Later that evening, Lady Victoria Getty hosted a cocktail party aboard her motor yacht Talitha G for all rowers who had arrived so far (All Relative, Atlantic 4, EDF and C2) and their friends and family. Talitha G is something like the 25th largest motor yacht in the world, was originally built in the 1920s but has been refurbished recently and is extremely beautiful, the jacuzzi on the aft deck was not in use, but the rum punch was delicious and the canapes exquisite. Even the washroom was fabulous!
After that, C2 and their welcome party went back to the villa, and after a quick bacon and egg sandwich, the boys embarked on their first continuous night's sleep in 2 months, which they managed very successfully despite the tropical storm with high winds which banged the doors and shutters all night long and the rain which lashed the roof. On waking in the morning, Clint found he had to lie still for several minutes until the room stopped swaying up and down.
FRIDAY 20th January (51
days, 2 hours and 10 minutes):
Hoorah for our heroes.
At 1415 hours GMT today (Friday 20 January 2006), Boat No. 8 C2,
crewed by Clint Evans and Chris Andrews crossed the finish line in
Antigua to end their voyage in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005.
Many thanks for the many many comments on the Visitors' Book. It will make a superb read for them at some stage.
Charity total so far: £10,663.78 many thanks for all the recent generosity.
Thursday 19th January (Day
8pm GMT : LESS THAN 50 MILES TO GO
Many thanks to everyone who has done a congratulatory sign of the visitors book.
After becoming famous ornithologists they are now trying to be all David Bellamy about some very strange thick brown seaweed. good excuse for those duff strokes eh. any seaweed experts out there?
The boys have been having some odd feelings in the last few days as you can imagine. They can sense the approaching land as the number of frigate-birds increases, but the seas are still pretty wild and hard work : imagine being in that last 300m at Nottingham on a typically unrowable race day on your tenth race of the day, desperately looking for the red buoys to appear but unable to see any buoys under the chop. then multiply every up to 500 time the scale....actually Clint seems to think that Woodvale really will have put out some red buoys for them.
any publishing chief out there? they are already onto the next project - some kind of book about the race (yeah yeah) but from a very different angle - the management side. Or at least that's what they are thinking about as they row their last strokes (what? they should be on full focus on length and holding finishes..)
Thanks for the last few days to: Peter Cookson, Doris Porter, Joe Adams, Fran Corinne and Carey, Murray and family.
Keep an eye on the chart (see link at top of page) for their finish and official confirmation.
A big welcome awaits them tomorrow - hopefully we'll get some piccies up here tomorrow night. Predictions for loss of girth?
Please : anyone you can pester to help get the charity total to £10k? Finishing bonuses? Late Christmas bonus?
Estimated arrival: Lunchtime (GMT) on day 52
(Friday, 20th January) NB Antigua is on GMT-4 hours
Tuesday 17th January (Day 49):
What will C2 do for their next challenge? Anything that doesn't involve
an ocean would be a safe bet, but surely they'll want to take part in
Cow(e)s Week... Meanwhile, the reception party are gearing up to perform
the Halle-moo-jah chorus to welcome the sea cow in.
The ocean is making sure that they experience every single one of her panoply of moods, so last night and this morning it's been a bit like one of those indoor theme park rides where you whizz from one experience to another with each one arriving as a sudden surprise as the little capsule you're in lurches round another corner. So, they've had tailwind, calm, headwind, rain, calm again and yet another tailwind. The conditions are massively unpredictable, so their precise arrival time is even more so, and their strategy, which is a rather grand word for what they're doing, but they're clearly dusting off their business brains from hibernations, is to make the most of the good conditions and cope with the rest of it. I think that's what's technically called an emergent strategy by MBAs, otherwise known as "making it up as you go along" by everyone else. But whatever they're doing they continue to nibble up the miles.
Our budding ornithologists proudly report having seen all three of "their" birds today i.e. the magnificent frigatebird, the juvenile storm petrel and the northern fulmar, and also report the sad demise of yet more kamikaze flying fish (I never got round to explaining about Row4Cancer's Flying Fish Kerplunk game... Their closest friends and family will no doubt need to scour shops and the RSPB's online shop for birthday cards, calendars and socks for Christmas featuring these creatures rather than the more usual cute puppies, galloping horses etc.
They have been kept generally informed about the whereabouts of the two support yachts throughout the race, but seem to have been unreasonably concerned over the last 36 hours or so about where Sula is, and how close to them she is getting. Initially, I thought that this was because they were concerned about not spotting her over big waves at night, but this afternoon Chris revealed that the real reason was that he needs to make sure he's put some shorts on before they pop up over a wave...
Thanks from Chris to Caroline Kendal and David Bickerton, and from Clint to Febe.
Estimated arrival: Late (GMT) on day 52
(Friday, 20th January) or early on Day 53 (Saturday, 21st January) NB Antigua is on GMT-4 hours, though C2 are still
Monday 16th January (Day 48):
Today has been another worrying day for the 24 boats remaining at sea,
the rescues of the crews of
American Fire (Sarah and Emily) and
Latte (Iain and Tara). In both cases the boats didn't self-right,
but for different reasons. In American Fire, the girls had retired to
the cabin after putting out their para anchor in heavy seas because
their rudder had broken, but in order not to suffocate in the sealed
cabin, their hatch was open, and this caused the cabin to flood when the
boat was capsized. To make matters worse their life raft floated off (it
is certainly a tricky one to be sure that you can get hold of it quickly
and easily in an emergency but yet isn't actually loose) so they had to
cling to the upturned, barnacle-covered hull of their boat for 16 hours
until a tall ship picked them up. A terrifying ordeal, but they will be
arriving in Antigua in great style
on the ship, which we may have seen in La Gomera before the start,
probably while Chris and Clint are still there. Both American Fire and
Sun Latte were berthed near C2 in La Gomera, at the slightly less
fashionable end of the marina, and while all three teams largely focused
on their own to do lists, we were impressed at how thoroughly prepared
both were. Our photos site shows some pictures of us rowing taken by
American Fire after we did a camera swap at sea one day.
The Kiwi Team Sun Latte had been attacked by a shark earlier in the race, and this may have contributed to the boat starting to leak. While Iain and Tara were bailing, they were capsized, and although the boat did self-right, despite one of the hatches that they were bailing being open, I think, Tara suffered a nasty head cut, so they decided to abandon ship. They had called support yacht Aurora as soon as they had found the leak, and so by the time of the capsize, she was only a couple of hours away. This crew have been coached by fellow New Zealander Rob Hamill, the winner of the 1997 race, and their boat was formerly known as Holiday Shoppe Challenge, winning the 2003 race for another Kiwi crew, and just beating Hamill's record. Rob is hoping to be able to arrange the salvage of the boat (and the crew's possessions), but if he can't, Aurora will have to return and scuttle her as even 23 ft plywood rowing boats present a danger to yachts if left to float randomly around the Atlantic.
700 miles or so closer to Antigua than the point at which these dramatic events took place, C2 report that the waves are really "quite small" now, at only 8-10 ft, and find that the biggest difference is that they can now look out across the sea rather than being faced with a wall of water all the time, which they don't feel has the same attractions as Phil Spector's wall of sound. As they wind up for the line, they're in a position to consider what they wish they'd taken with them but hadn't. In Chris' case, this was more shorts, while in Clint's it was Molesey's crazy veteran double Magnus & Runner (who we're sure really do want to buy this excellent boat for the 2007 race). Maybe shorts are the equivalent of a towel in the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Ocean (plus the others in the series - Life, the GPS and Everything, The Para Anchor at the end of the Universe, and So Long and Thanks for All the Biltong). Both, however, are agreed that the one thing they did take which they needn't have bothered with was their language course. Knowledge of Chinese is still limited to "gar yau", meaning add oil in the sense of try harder rather than garnish with pressed olive juice, and I bet they can't even remember that. Favourite foods of today have been chocolate cream dessert for Clint, and peanuts for Chris. NB At 19:52 today, the tracking site shows that they have 334 miles to go, but it said that at 14:53, and it isn't that they've gone nowhere for 5 hours. They will try shifting their Argos beacon once again.
Estimated arrival: Early (GMT) on day 52
(Friday, 20th January) NB Antigua is on GMT-4 hours, though C2 are still
Sunday 15th January (Day 47):
C2 report that the winds have eased off a bit and so the seas are no
longer quite so big - maybe "only" 8-10 feet. "About the height of a
substantial hedge, then?", I asked, still reeling at the idea of being
swept over one of these on my space hopper a couple of times a minute.
"Hmm, maybe 10-15 feet, then", they replied. This is the main reason why
they "only" did 82 miles yesterday, but they're actually quite enjoying
the opportunity to be able to row slightly more normally, although the
waves are still arriving thick and fast (as a result of the wavelength
possibly shortening as they approach land), and every single one needs
to be actively negotiated.
Well into their stride as twitchers now, they have enjoyed seeing some more magnificent frigatebirds, which they describe as absolutely beautiful as they wheel majestically around the sky. While wildlife on the wing has been thoroughly enjoyable, there have been no sightings of wet wildlife, and to emphasise this point, Chris' favourite track of the past day from the Ipod random tune selector has been Bob Marley's "3 little birds" rather than anything with the whalers... Clint has enjoyed Andy Williams "Music to watch films to", which presumably doubles up nicely as "Music to watch your GPS slowly change to". They are genuinely sorry to hear that other crews have lost their music and also had to cut to half rations, or ran out of chocolate weeks ago - the sea cow, as explained before, was built for sturdiness (and as she approaches the end of her 3rd Atlantic crossing, after being Spirit of Swindon and then Bluebell in former lives, you can only conclude that this has been achieved 100% successfully) and is consequently heavy, and so a bit of extra food isn't a material difference. And it doesn't look like it has affected the race result, or would have had the bad luck weather not hit everyone. I wonder whether the crews who have suffered privations would re-think their stores plans with the benefit of hindsight. But if anyone in Antigua is interested in buying about a month's worth of well-travelled rations for two people, C2 would be interested in talking terms.
A welcoming party is going out to Antigua in the middle of this week to be there when our ocean-conquering heroes come in. The precise make up of this group is available only on a need to know basis and, crucially, Chris and Clint DO NOT KNOW that some of its members are coming. So readers are requested NOT to text the boys with any comments that might indicate that the staffing of the Land Team might have changed in the few days before the finish. A number of cunning (if they come off, which they're bound to as they've been formulated by the boffins at Team C2 Headquarters with assistance from some Planners at Mice & Men Ltd) arrangements have been set up to try to pull the wool over the eyes of C2 and surprise them, but any comments to the effect of "Someone else seems to be writing your website now", will blow it all! Your co-operation is MUCH appreciated. We hope to get a few photos of the arrival up here soon after they get there, and a major upload of pictures will take place late on 30 January, or as soon after as is humanly possible.
Estimated arrival: Very early on day 52
(Friday, 20th January)
Saturday 14th January (Day 46):
We really are into the end game now. Chris and Clint have been thinking
about what each is most looking forward to when they return to
land-based life. Possibly not surprisingly, they found that four of
their top five were the same (in order):
But just to prove that they are individuals and not just two halves of the same sea cow, Chris also feels that he will enjoy being able to turn over when asleep without having to worry if he's still in the centre line of the boat, while Clint wants anything (edible) that has eggs with it.
In the meantime, the wind is still Force 5-6 with gusts of Force 7 which, according to the Beaufort Scale is near gale force causing "trees in motion" (funnily enough, they haven't been able to confirm this as the only tree within 500 miles of them is the 2" high Christmas tree that they packed away after Twelfth Night) and "inconvenience felt when walking" which they can't comment on either, though they haven't been at all inconvenienced by what it's doing to their rowing speed. They've been grappling with the Periodic Table. Or battling with the elements. One or the other, anyway, though they've not been learning any chemistry (despite Clint's little-publicised degree in pharmacology).
Chris says thanks to all at CC for their continued good wishes and generosity to the charities, while Clint would like to thank Jo and Woolfie, from whom they're still waiting for Chapter 2, apparently.
Stattos amongst you may be interested in this representation of C2 vs EDF throughout the race showing that things were moderately evenly matched up till Christmas, when C2 were briefly in the lead of the pairs race at the start of Christmas Day having got past Mayabrit who had benefited tactically from their Northern course during the big low pressure system around that time, but since then EDF have responded to every bit of pressure C2 have put on them. There are a few wiggles towards the end of the graph caused by the Argos reporting being erratic and the definition of a "day" not only varying but being different from crew to crew.
Estimated arrival: Quite late on day 51
(Thursday, 19th January)
Friday 13th January (Day 45):
Superstitious readers will be pleased to hear that C2 have nothing huge
to report other than the size of the seas, which remain huge. The winds
continue to blow at Force 5-6, and the waves surging behind them are,
they feel, the major factor in their current speeds, and they almost
feel that there's very little that they are doing to add to or take away
from this. This sounds plausible, until you consider that EDF are
pulling away from C2 slightly, while Cornwall are dropping further
behind. Yesterday's comments about Cracknell's surfing skills (and
Fogle's, for all I know) are actually quite serious, and how the wave
power is used is really crucial. I suspect Chris and Clint are slightly
disappointed that they can't go for a carthorse push for the line, with
added 2-up shifts put in at this point, as that's what they do best, but
it just proves the point that rowing is only quite a small part of the
Atlantic Rowing Race.
Preparations are in hand for their arrival in Antigua, about which more will be posted over the weekend. However, Chris' parents are going out there, and enquired of him if there was anything he would like them to bring out. I won't even go in to all of the things you might imagine he would ask for after 7-8 weeks of privations, but what he ACTUALLY wants from them is 2 large Toblerones! And this is from a man who lost a filling a week ago. They now "only" have to row the equivalent distance of London to Toulouse. As the Magnificent Frigatebird flies, of course.
Thanks from Chris to Ian for his continued good humour, though he needs to remember that he will be a bucket for ever. And thanks from Clint to Corinne, Fran and Carey, to Stephen Wood and Di Perkins, and to Sarah and The Daddy for the long hot Summer of 76 (reliving one's teenage years is obviously a key part of a good mid-life crisis). And a huge thanks from H to everyone who has written nice things about the website but more importantly made it into the success it has been through their contributions to the Visitors' Book and to the limerick and caption competitions, guessing the weight of the cows and, above all, for just logging on. We have now had around 20,000 hits in all, which is superb, and the doc storing the Visitors' Book is 28 pages long. It has been a great privilege to write for such an enthusiastic ready-made audience. Many ocean rowers talk about not wanting their voyages to end as they get to the latter stages, despite being desperate for respite from the pain, exhaustion, horrible purified salt water and bucket plumbing, and to an extent this is true of the Land Team as well. I mean, I might even have to start doing some housework...
And to put sensitive readers' minds at rest, go on then, it was Clint's TOE which has got slightly infected.
Estimated arrival: Quite early on day 52
(Friday, 20th January)
Thursday 12th January (Day 44):
Some supporters have asked why support yacht Sula has headed due North
out of Antigua when the fleet is due East. I suspect the reason is that
it's quite hard to sail straight into the wind and get anywhere, so by
going North and effectively doing 2 sides of a triangle they'll be able
to sidle up on the wind and hope it doesn't notice them coming and sneak
back out to the fleet. But this could be totally wrong.
Chris Andrews Rewards Chins, demands Hard Crew Sins, engages in Wars inc Herds and would like to Rid Ass Wrench. Clint Evans, on the other hand, Can't Snivel and has an Anvil Scent. Both hope that their destination, English Harbour, Antigua is more than an Inarguable Orangish Hut.
Ornithology Update: those fantastic chaps at the RSPB Wildlife Identification Unit for working out that the pterodactyl-like creature the boys reported flying around yesterday was not the product of diseased imaginations but probably an example of the Magnificent Frigatebird, which could now possibly also be known as the Magnificent Oceanrowingboatbird.
Messers Cracknell & Fogle are a touch younger than C2. It seems that both James and Ben would qualify for the youngest category, Veteran A, in ARA Veteran rowing events, while Chris and Clint are a couple of years into Veteran C territory. There is an established handicapping system which allows veteran crews of different ages to compete against each other, which basically compensates for loss of strength and flexibility with age. You should have seen the Vet I singles at the most recent World Masters' Regattas.... but I digress. The size of the handicap depends on the length of the race, obviously, so over a 1'30" or 500 metre sprint in river boats, the Vet C crew would get a 4 second head start over the Vet A one (leaving aside, for the sake of argument, the wise advice meted out by the Veteran Rowing Commission that handicap races should only involve crews in adjacent age categories), while over a 20 minute head race, the A crew would have to be more than 42 seconds faster to win. Multiplying this up, the handicap is 50 mins 24 sec per day, or 1.75 days over a 50 day race that an A crew would have to beat a C crew by to be constituted as having won. So C2 might just have them yet on a technicality! David - you are of course quite right that if we added up training hours on the water, C2 would almost certainly be "more experienced" (though can we hang on to their theoretical loss of strength and flexibility with age), however in considering rowing status, it is the crew average which counts not the individual (though this is possibly changing again this year?). We believe James has 12 sculling points from having been a full international sculler (most recently in 1997) and probably with enough decency not to regress his points, unlike Chris who is a shameless chancer and has regressed his down to 5 since his last senior international sculling appearance in 1990. Like Ben, Clint is a Novice at sculling, making C2 a Senior 2 double while EDF are Senior 1, so we're in different events and we can both win! We're only jealous of course, and reckon the amount of time James has spent in Cornwall has clearly not been waster. NB The last time C2 and I raced James, in the final of the Prince Philip at Henley in 2003, the verdict was "easily". To him, obviously. Any chance of 1-all? No, I didn't think so.
Back to the real world, the waves are still big, and the forecast is set for this to continue. The boys are fine and are just facilitating the waves pushing them on from behind, so it isn't really rowing as most of us know it. To prove this point, Chris Martin, in the single, has managed about 40 miles a day for the last 3 days with no blades at all (while waiting to be resupplied with some after the last of his broke in his capsize)! He's now got some more blades. There has been some speculation as to why both EDF (or as one reader put it MDF - has been confusing his Changing Rooms with his Castaway, I think) and C2 have been catching Atlantic 4 over the past few days. Part of the reason for this has been revealed by Atlantic 4 themselves - they stopped rowing for a few hour today to resolve some boat issues. However Chris and Clint think that keeping the boat stern heavy is helpful in making the most of the surfing action. While this is dead easy in a pair, as the rower always sits at stroke, and the non-rower is mostly in the cabin (in the stern), it's quite tricky in a 4 as these boats have cabins both fore and aft, and there are always 2 people rowing in the middle of the boat.
Top of their Pops is "Weather with you", and Clint's got a slightly infected... no, even he admitted we didn't need to know about that, so we'll leave it there. Fave foods for today are shortbread biccies (Chris) and peanuts (Clint). They reckon that Chris has probably lost up to 1.5 stones while Clint has only lost about half that, though now that they're not grinding away into a headwind 12 hours a day each, weight loss has been put on hold.
Estimated arrival: Day 57 (25th January)
based on average mileage so far or Day 52 (20th January) based on
average mileage over the past week.
Wednesday 11th January (Day 43):
Readers are challenged to take part in 2 mini competitions this week.
First, can you Guess the weight of the cows, Daisy and Buttercup,
Click here to submit your guess in grammes (combined weight), and the closest
entry wins the cows from the bows themselves (unless either Chris or
Clint's children would rather have them in which case the winner gets a
cow-themed item)! These are possibly the
only cows in the WORLD which have been rowed across an ocean on the bows
of a small boat, so their value is inestimable. Please note that there
are no scales aboard C2, so the official weigh-in will take
place some time after the finish.
Regarding the Guess the Weight of the Cows Competition (go on, enter!), one supporter asks "Have they been fed every day, or are they burning calories without being fed. After all, even cows crossing the Atlantic need sustenance.....!!!". The answer is, "No, Angus, they're plastic models bought in a toyshop in Antigua so of course they haven't been fed. Chris and Clint are far too old to play at dollies' tea parties. And anyway, they've been busy rowing."
Second, a caption competition! Please e-mail the Land Team with captions for the picture on the purple masthead above. In the best traditions of Have I got News for You, this will go on until we've run out of good ideas (or the boys get to Antigua, whichever is the sooner), and the prize will be intrinsic.
Daily reports from the boat have become a bit more concise, as the boys are becoming increasingly focused on getting to Antigua as soon as bovinely possible, keeping the pressure on EDF (who must surely be grateful that the Vet Cs are helping them redefine what hard is on an almost daily basis), and staying straight on to the next wave. Fortunately, all of these aims can be satisfied by the same activities, so not too much multi-tasking is required. Big and bouncy were the words which came to their minds. I believe in relation to the sea conditions. One of the Trustees of the Ocean Rowing Society, to whom the Land Team's husband taught maths quite a few years ago at the same school to which solo rower Chris Martin went (it's a small world), has asked whether C2 are eating rocket fuel. As far as I know they're not, but their favourite sustenance today has been Nutrigrain bars (Chris) and Mars bars (Clint), and we have to remember that they're putting honey and/or Golden Syrup on their Weetabix for breakfast (for extra sugar) and dollop pesto, from the LARGEST jar of pesto you've ever seen, onto almost anything savoury to up the fat content..
The World About Us: they have seen a bird which is a bit like a fulmar but more like a pterodactyl, and hovers like an osprey. Now THAT's one for the RSPB (whose Wildlife Identification Unit has been contacted)! Maybe they have been swept into a terrible vortex (use American accent) and come out in the Ocean of the Dinosaurs (sorry, this will only mean anything to people in their late 30s who watched tea time cartoons on BBC1).
Clint says thanks to Elle, Merlin and Scarlett for being super duper kids, and to Mostyn for his advice and input and for representing both the OE and UL camps. Clint sends thanks to Ian, Brooke and Dave for their contributions and messages. Top tunes on the Ipods today are Grace Jones for Clint and "Island Life" for Chris. Today's random fact is that they've rowed the same distance as the length of the Zambezi.
Estimated arrival: Day 58 (26th January)
based on average mileage so far or Day 52 (20th January) based on
average mileage over the past week.
Tuesday 10th January (Day 42):
Many congratulations to Tim "the bard" Soutar for winning the C2
Limerick Competition. His unique signed framed photo of our brave boys
will be winging its way to him just as soon as it has been taken/signed
and a frame bought. We are sure he will treasure it always, but just
hope that the boys remember to put their shorts on again before they are
snapped - otherwise it could bring a whole new meaning to flash
photography. Judge Sophie said, "I had a great time judging them all,
and it was in fact very tricky because they were all so good! Thanks for
everyone who sent in a limerick, and their donations. It all counts, and
it's a great way to boost morale for the boys and it's good to have a
little fun along the way, even if they're not." Tim actually came up
with no fewer than 11 verses, of which Sophie's favourites (particularly
for the benefit of those whose firewalls don't allow them to access the
Limerick Board) were:
Following progress has been difficult for the last few days because of erratic satellite tracking updates, and today's been particularly messy. Next time, perhaps Woodvale can choose John Lewis beacons rather than Argos ones...
Today has been another big sea day for the big Cs. Last night was particularly scary as the moon went in at about 4am, so they were left pretty much guessing and trying to listen for where the next rollercoaster was going to hit them from. They reckon that they're really just helping the waves guide them in the right direction rather than rowing per se, but Atlantic Rowing Race is certainly catchier than Atlantic Guided Being Blown Along Race, so we'll perpetuate the idea that they rowed across the Atlantic.
Chris spotted a 12ft shark this morning just as he was sitting on his bucket (and for those really obsessed with shipboard detail, water is placed in the "Ian" before use, thus approaching the benefits of British plumbing compared with the Continental apology for sanitary ware), which "added to the tension of the moment". Actually I would have thought it would accelerate the moment, but never mind. They reckon it was quite an aristocratic shark, Viscount Jaws of Eaten, perhaps, as it had a very tall dorsal fin.
Chris says thanks to Harriet and Sophie for their texts and that they're doing everything they can to get home as soon as possible and he really missed you. Thomas, are you OK, as he hasn't heard from you for a couple of days (boys, huh!). Clint says continued thanks to Bear & Baz (the other 2 members of our Veteran coxed four, who occupy the "thinking" seats at bow and stroke while C2 are in he stables aka middle pair ), Jules and everyone at HMC especially for their attempts to make it sound like they need him back in the office. They won't work!
Estimated arrival: Day 59 (27th January)
based on average mileage so far or Day 53 (21st January) based on
average mileage over the past week.
Monday 9th January (Day 41):
Team C2 are relieved to hear that the crew of Digicel were
rescued safely after capsizing, and it emphasises once again that
this is first and foremost a battle against hostile conditions, both
natural and man-made, and only secondly a race against other crews. The
implications of the fact that the boat didn't self-right, possibly the
first time that this design hasn't done so, are quite worrying for all
remaining crews. Later update: in an
interview on the Irish Radio Station RTE News, Ciaran Lewis
explained that the freak wave which hit them not only capsized the boat
but ripped the transom off, which is why it filled with water and didn't
self-right, and why they rapidly took the decision to abandon ship (not
obvious from other reports). It also explains why
Martin's brilliant solution (click on Weblog if you follow this
link) ff using the rudder to lever the boat over (his didn't self-right
after capsizing as he had been drinking his ballast water after the
failure of his water maker early in the race, and hadn't been replacing
the ballast with sea water), wasn't an option for the Digicel guys.
Chris' account refers to him remembering doing his capsize drill as a
J14 in the LEH swimming pool. For the record, the Land Team was
responsible for explaining to each clueless youngster at this session
how to get in a boat...
Well, it's been clear for a few weeks now that EDF like a challenge, so no sooner than we clock up the best pair's daily mileage of 96 miles on Day 39, than they go one better - literally - with 97 on Day 40. Well done, boys! However, in case readers are alarmed at C2's apparent stall, our Argos tracking beacon has been a bit flaky throughout the race and often doesn't register when the satellite goes over the fleet, with the result that sometimes our poll time and distance are earlier than virtually everyone else's (in which case the data makes sense but you can't compare our crew's progress with other people's) or, the time updates but the mileage doesn't and this isn't because we have stayed still. This happened to us big time yesterday: the poll at 20.53 showed our distance from the start as 1885, but it had also showed this mileage at 18.04, 16.09 and 14.30. And while there HAVE been points in the race when they've gone nowhere for 6 hours, this ain't one of them, unless they're having so much fun out there that they're frantically backing down against the screaming tailwind to avoid getting to Antigua, or at least to stay at sea till their chocolate stores reach sensible levels. C&C have been told to get their damn beacon out and wave it round their heads but, to be fair, unless the satellite happens to be overhead when they do this, it won't help, and they're too busy rowing to spend all their time waving it around. The Argos beacon, that is. Of course, if the final mileage for the day isn't actually correct, it completely messes up the following day's as well, so today's looks likely to be a record, but a false one.
Well aware that they're in a hostile environment, Chris described today's seas as "Huge, huge, huge" (quite unlike his adjective vocabulary, but we can forgive him that), the wind as "Strong, strong, strong", and their activities as "Surfing, surfing, surfing". According to the forecast, which admittedly has sometimes proved to have all the accuracy of one written by Mr Fish, a big patch of Force 6 has come up behind them, and this will have had the effect of pushing the seas up which then catch them, long before they actually experienced its actual increased air speed. They report regularly achieving speeds of 6-10 knots (1-up speed in calmish conditions is about 2.5 knots), and Clint has claimed a new C2 speed record of 14.7 knots but the level of concentration required to keep the boat angled correctly is as exhausting as the rowing. It is not the conditions for our good friends sting and float, drop and push, and particularly not send and run. You can forget place and drive, and smooth acceleration is right out. In summary, there have been no incidents or wildlife, the blades are all intact (apart from the one broken weeks ago), as is the rudder, though they can't check the integrity of their rudder cables because it's so rough (but they will when they can, honest), they ARE wearing their ankle leashes, but there are just "Big bloody waves" (no relation to "Multitudinous seas incarnadine", we assure you).
Readers who would like to visualise C2s environment should, having first prepared by getting up 2 hours after they went to bed, go outside their house and sit on the ground. If they live in a bungalow or flats, find the nearest standard building with an upstairs and downstairs, no more, no less. Then sit on a gym ball, or other wobbly inanimate object. Look up to the top of the roof, and imagine the house is constructed of dark blue water. That's the view that Chris and Clint are getting probably 2-4 times a minute (though we could guess at velocity, no data has been provided about wavelength to facilitate the calculation of frequency). Now imagine yourself being swept up to the top of your roof (still sitting on the wobbly thing) as on some kind of fairground ride. Look over your shoulder. Eek. And down the front of the wave you surf. Did you check the GPS as you went? Whaddaya mean you had your eyes shut? Ready for the next one? 24 hours a day. NB The Management does NOT recommend that you go the whole hog on authentic simulation and attempt to do this semi-clothed., and cannot accept responsibility for any arrest that may follow.
Many thanks today to Animal, and the wonderful limerick writers (15 in total - one has used several pseudonyms). The C2 Limericks for Charity competition has now closed, and the judges are huddling. But if the poetic muse urges you, feel free to keep submitting more as the boys "love, love, love" them.
As many readers will know, when Chris isn't doing crazy things in mid-Atlantic, he's a Global Risk Director (not sure if he manages global risks, or he manages risks globally) for law firm Clifford Chance, and as such has attracted the attentions of The Lawyer magazine, which employs a member of Thames RC amongst its reporters (I suppose they have to work somewhere), and hence has noted C2's activities very accurately in this week's edition. Hello to any readers of this worthy journal!
Estimated arrival: Day 60 (28th January)
based on average mileage so far or Day 55 (23rd January) based on
average mileage over the past week.
Sunday 8th January (Day 40):
Chris and Clint rang Team C2 Headquarters late this afternoon to report
another good day, surfing the long waves in the sunshine with a good
following wind, in which they clocked a maximum speed of 12.7 knots.
This isn't a patch on the 18.6 knots recorded by Richard of
Row4Cancer, but then he did do that while falling virtually
vertically off the front of a 15 metre high wave, which I think he would
have been happy not to have done.
However, at around 3am today, Chris and Clint used up at least one of their nine lives in what is probably the nastiest reported incident yet in this year's race. Chris was in the cabin, and Clint was rowing with (warm) rain pelting him in the race. The seas were quite excited, so he was trying to watch how they were approaching the stern in order to keep the boat pointing correctly across them. He happened to glance over to one side, and saw a large shape looming down on them, coming at 90 degrees to the boat. Admittedly the visibility wasn't the best, because of the rain, but the ship was so poorly lit from the front that he even had to take a second look to be sure it was there. He immediately alerted Chris, but it was too late to get white "I'm here" flares out. As the freighter passed 20 metres from their bows, they realised that it was about 60 metres long, and from behind was "lit up like a cruise liner". It didn't appear to have either it's radar (which should have picked up C2's "Sea Me" beacon, or VHF radio switched on, or if they were, they weren't manned. Both are well aware that they're extremely lucky to be alive, and even thinking about the incident scares them, but they're physically totally unscathed. Their number one "critical success factors" for the race was "to stay alive", and this near a miss, shows all crews that even "just" making it to the other side is a long way from guaranteed.
Moving on, readers will no doubt have noticed that they clocked up a stunning 96 miles yesterday, which we think is the best daily mileage for any pair in the race (EDF are second with a daily record of 95 miles).
On this day of the race in the 2003 race, the first two pairs, both Kiwi crews, Fitzgerald and Biggar, and Goodman and Westlake were finishing, an agonisingly close 9 hours apart. Fitzgerald and Biggar's time is still the Atlantic Pairs record. And you thought there was a good tussle going on between EDF, us and Spirit of Cornwall! Incidentally, if EDF were to win this race by the same percentage margin as Cracknell won his second Olympic gold medal in Athens, they would finish just 0.64 miles ahead of the second crew. C2 have been very impressed with EDF's response to what C2 have been doing to them since earlier this week, and hope that their appetite for 2.5 week sprint to the finish is as large as their real appetites are going to be if what we read in the papers about their ration situation is true (to be honest, we DON'T believe most of what we read in the papers about them!). If only we weren't weighed down by so much spare Fruit & Nut...
Many thanks today to Humph, Simon Parsons and everyone else who has given so generously to the Parkinson's Disease Society and the National Autistic Society.
Estimated arrival: Day 63 (31st January)
based on average mileage so far or Day 60 (28th January) based on
average mileage over the past week.
Saturday 7th January (Day 39):
In everyday, dry land life, we all have to remember to do a vast number
of things at work, at home, and to do with whatever we do in between.
Birthday cards, getting the car MOT done, doing the annual budgets in
time, getting some more washing powder, returning that call which came
in while you were talking to someone else at work etc. At sea, they have
to remember to row, sleep, eat and call the land team, but they were
apparently "so busy rowing" yesterday, that they allegedly "forgot". I
can only assume that they were learning their 17.5 times table at the
same time for what should be the highlight of the day to slip their
minds. Mind you, today their message started "It's about 3pm on, oh, I
don't know what day of the week it is...". Mad as a bag of frogs. Or any
other collection of life-forms stuffed in a bag with other ones, I
Anyway, yesterday saw their highest mileage yet of 87 miles as a result of bog seas and strong winds in the right direction. The conditions continue to be good "exciting" (remember we're deep into special definitions territory here), though quite hard work because of the need to keep the boat pointing across the waves. They're certainly making great progress, both towards Antigua and relative to EDF and Spirit of Cornwall and that's, as they say "What we're here to do". Clint scored 9.4 knots surfing down a wave at one point today.
Wildlife wallies: they have seen some "big fish" that could be dorados (I'm sure they previously asserted confidently that they knew what these look like) which are swimming along parallel with the boat and may or may not be the things that they sporadically clunk with the oars when rowing in the pitch dark.
Thanks today to Karon from New Wave for her text and limericks: Chris will do his best to come and see you at the HoRR. New Wave kindly donated C2's lovely cow-sleeved performance tops, and the boys say that while these have become a little smelly now, they are still the garment of choice for both of them at night. Thanks also to Sherry for her text and for being one step ahead as ever, and to Spud for his texts.
Well done to all the limerick writers for the 26 contributions (including 2 multi-verse numbers as well as a contribution from a Wm Shakespeare which isn't a limerick at all and is blatantly plagiarised from the "Potato" episode of Blackadder II) so far. You still have time to work on rhymes for Chris, Clint, and even Tyrian (Clint's racing club), as entries close on Monday at 6pm.
Estimated arrival: Day 64 (1st February)
based on average mileage so far
Friday 6th January (Day 38):
The boys haven't phoned in today, and I suspect this is for two reasons.
First, they only have 144 Iridium minutes left on their phone, and as
the most cost-effective way of buying them is in blocks of 500 for $650,
they'd quite like to avoid doing this so may be rationing their minutes.
Second, it's jolly difficult to make phone calls when you're rowing like
smoke as they appear to be doing according to the blobs on virtual
reality Atlantic rowing). But no moos is definitely a sign that the cows
hoof been galloping away to the udder side of the ocean, and are clearly
not on the horns of a dilemma about what their priorities should be for
off-watch activities (phoning base is low).
Having been at sea for 38 days, in which time PHYSICALLY they've gone 1720 miles, readers may be wondering what they've achieved INTELLECTUALLY. Well, we can exclusively reveal that they have not set the world to rights, come to brilliant conclusions about their future career plans, solved Fermat's last theorem for themselves, come up with a good use for all but one of those mulled wine sachets you tend to be given for Christmas in a packet of five with a Use By date of about 9 months hence, learnt Chinese (despite Mark Stamper's best attempts), learnt any poetry, organised world peace, found a solution to the West Lothian question (or even remembered what the question was), or found a cure for the common cold other than isolating yourself in a small plywood boat a considerable distance from all but one (certified healthy before you start) other member of the human race. They haven't even chosen their Desert Island Discs. However, their mental arithmetic is as well drilled as their abdominal muscles, to the extent that Casio might as well give up on the calculator and focus their product line on a self-timing saucepan. Why? Well, picture the scene: the boat has to be rowed 24 hours a day. 12 of those hours are night. Most of the night hours are PITCH dark as the moon's mostly quite young and it's mum says it can't go out late. So they can't see ANYTHING. Except the two illuminated things in front of them which are the spherical compass and the GPS screen. Provided they're going continuously in the right direction, watching the former is about as gripping as smelling coffee cooling. But the latter offers the time, current speed, direction and Lat & Long, giving endless possibilities for calculations such as, "How many miles will I be doing in this hour?", "How long will it take me to do the next mile?", and "How many more strokes will I have to row before I can wake up the 1st Mate for the Clint Stint?" The nights must just fly by. Much like the fish, or so the Little Mermaid tells me.
Many thanks to everyone, particularly the supporters of other crews and those from outside the UK who have signed the Visitors' Book. With Austria and Guatemala added, there now seem to be readers from 20 countries and followers of the other 25 crews are signing the Visitors' Book all over the place (keep 'em coming!).
Massive respect to the various people who have found rhymes (or close approximations thereto) for "mid-life crisis" in the Limerick Competition. Anyone prepared to take on a similar task for one of C2's favourite meaty treats, "biltong"?
Link to all of the articles published in the Daily Telegraph by Ben Fogle and James Cracknell, plus details of other interesting ocean rowing sites and a list of most of the books published about Atlantic rowing can be found on the Links page.
Estimated arrival: Day 65 (2nd February)
based on average mileage so far
Thursday 5th January (Day 37):
The Land Team has messed up! I didn't read the small print when I
created the Visitors' book, and so didn't realise that it can only hold
a maximum of 50 messages before it starts deleting the oldest one as
each new one is added. Fortunately, I was paranoid about losing the
whole thing, as it is freeware from another organisation's server, so I
made a copy of it on 27 December. But looking at it now, this only goes
back to 20 December, while the book right now only goes back to 29
December. So I don't suppose that any of you who know they signed it
early on would mind signing it again, and I'll now back it up
every day! Messages I know they'll be particularly sorry to have lost
include the lovely one from Mrs Turner and Croyde Cracknell, the one
from the Ghurka in RSA, Elaine and Elise Laverick's, Gunny's, Chris'
parents carefully thought-out one, Kate MacGregor's and Bill Butler's
(American Fire's Shore Crew).
On the subject of which, the boys are delighted to have received messages from supporters of the following other crews in the race: Team Sun Latte, Spirit of Cornwall, Spirit of EDF Energy, Atlantic Warrior, Atlantic Prince, Making Waves, RowGirls, Digicel, Ghurka Spirit and American Fire. They would be particularly tickled if any supporters of the other crews are reading this and would like to say Hi in the Visitors' Book: Pacific Pete (Hi, Mr Martin Sr from Helena!), Sedna Solo (Hi, Mrs Savage!), Serenity Now (funkiest paint job in the fleet, apart from ours, of course), Row4Life (Hi, anonymous narrator who is always very informative!), Row4Cancer, Scandlines (in English or Danish), Mark III, Mayabrit, Christina, Charmed Life, Bout de Vie (Bonjour!), Mission Atlantic, All Relative (quick, before they finish) and Atlantic 4.
The kind of rowing that most of us can barely imagine has clearly become "business as usual", or "just an udder day at the oars", as they say on board the sea cow, as Chris casually dropped into his report that, "some of the waves today were higher than a house", although the majority were smaller. Rowing through bungalow waves is good, then? Anyway, big, wavy seas are demanding in a different way from pounding along on flat ones, as they require a cunning combination of mental and physical effort to stay at the right angle across them. The long forecast Easterlies finally materialised, and with the Argos tracking site back up, readers can see that a thrilling tussle is developing with Spirit of Cornwall, with both pale blue blobs closing on the brown one all the while too.
Today there were no mishaps (hooray!), but no whales or seabirds either (boo).
Thanks today to Tim Bramfitt - Chris is looking forward to seeing you at the Oxford-Westminster reunion, and to Kit Chapman.
Estimated arrival: Not sure as
www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk has been down for most of the day
Wednesday 4th January (Day 36):
Team C2 feature on the
National Autistic Society's home page - Clint's chosen charity!
If there's one thing crazier than trying to row an ocean, it's trying to do so while keeping up your day job, but that's what Leven Sinclair Brown is doing, as he's trying to manage a portfolio of £100,000 assets while paddling from Spain to Tobago. While C2 the are focused only on gaining miles as fast as possible, Leven's delighted with his 22% profit on Rio Tinto shares this year. Psalm 107 famously talks about, "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters", but I don't think King David meant it like that!
The weather forecasts are adamant that winds in the area are strong Easterlies, but Weathership C2 would like to let the meteorological broadcasters worldwide know that they jolly well aren't and are really quite frisky Westerlies. Or Southerlies. Trust them, they wouldn't make this kind of thing up. So, late yesterday afternoon, having tentatively classified the day as a low point amongst low points, a hole in the bottom of a well, a basement in New Orleans, a Gamma minus amongst Non Satises, they chucked the anchor out and hence drifted back slowly overnight. Definitely 1-0 to Spirit of Cornwall on this storm. Today they fancied going somewhere, as the view was a bit boring at 18.81N 40.93W where they spent the night, so have generally rowed with the wind as a tailwind and once the Woodvale tracking site comes up again, we'll probably seen that they've gone North, but as the prevailing winds near Antigua seem to be North Westerlies, this may turn out useful in the end.
With the situation thus set up so that anything else that happened would demand that they saw the funny side, or jump OVER the side, Chris lost his footing and banged his chin and cricked his neck. Not badly, but annoyingly. And before you panic Jo, he's OK now, and the slightly infected cut on his knee for which he's been taking anti-biotics only merits an annoying 3 on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is a mosquito bite and 10 is writhing in agony. By this point they were smiling wryly, but because the Captain still felt he wasn't getting enough sympathy from the 1st Mate, he threw himself on the deck again later, and this time managed to dislodge and swallow a filling. But as he's since managed to consume two hot meals (beef stew and steak with vegetables, which is a worrying form of cannibalism, perhaps, for our cows) without even feeling the urge to go "Yeeeeouwwwwww", he's not bothered. So they finally got as far as, "Ho, ho, ho". Considering their almost total disinterest in bodily personal hygiene, I made tentative enquiries about whether in matters oral there was a "Rush to brush" on board the sea cow, and got a very defensive response. This was then qualified a bit (these lawyers and accountants just have to cover themselves), with the remark, "We're not always twice a day boys", from which I will leave readers to draw their own conclusions.
Whale watch: a previous visitor, or a completely different one (it would be so handy if they had unique numbers stuck on their noses, or at least LMR (Large Mammal Register) identifiers on their tails like the ocean rowing boats do) visited and rose right up a couple of lengths in front of the boat before diving down again and inviting the sea cow to play. It was disappointed that they stayed boringly on the surface of the water.
Thanks to Gaby and to Tim Soutar for his Excellence in Poetry (here is a Mr Andrews hard worker gold star ì), to Tom for his wonderful Spanish text and the enlightening translation, and to Harriet and Sophie for their lovely texts. Welcome back, Suz: some texts are better than others. Please keep the Limericks for Charity coming (full details under Day 34). The Land Team are particularly interested to see if anyone can come up with something to rhyme with "mid-life crisis". And for anyone struggling a little, remember that we are happy to supply a ready-made limerick (fully tested for rhyming and scansion) in return for a £5 charity donation. You can even choose if you want to the one with a slightly rude word in it that rhymes with "Chris".
Estimated arrival: Not sure as
www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk has been down for most of the day
January (Day 35):
Gripped in the jaws of Tropical Storm Zeta, which had pretended to go
away and then came back with a vengeance, dancing around to the north of
the little pack C2 are in, Chris likened rowing today to being at bow in
a quad, and being the only person rowing, into a headwind, possibly with
the others backing down, and a with a bucket over the stern. Too often
the knots indicator on the GPS read 0.0 and even putting the para anchor
out so that they could go nowhere effortlessly wasn't an option as the
wind was creating a strong stream backwards. They are now thoroughly au
fait with his experience and are keen to move on to a new one. Please.
Soon. It's been baking day, so they've no doubt been producing scones,
the odd chocolate cake and some yummy flapjack.... oops, sorry, wrong
tangent, it's been baking ALL day and so Chris has spent most of it
naked, with Clint semi-naked. Not sure how this ties in with yesterday's
sun cream usage statistics. Shudder. Getting back to the baking thing,
before the race started, they had a plan to take bread mix with them to
which they would add dried fruit and make fairly unleavened bread by
leaving it to prove in the sun and then frying. A test run while in the
harbour in La Gomera indicated that this plan was best abandoned for
several reasons, not least the nasty washing up situation it produced.
Things have been looking good on the wildlife front, though (perhaps the strong winds dissipate the pong), and as in the UK, schools are back, particularly Flying Fish Academy, with loads of them showing off this morning and achieving 30-40 metre flights that made the carthorses positively jealous. They also saw some fulmars (see how casually they drop this kind of thing in nowadays, thanks to the RSPB), and also a shark's fin, which they assumed came with a shark attached underneath, although it was possibly just a passing ingredient for shark's fin soup.
They were glad to hear from Ian (the human one, not the bucket) again, and thanks to Julie too. Keep the limericks coming, please. Finally a VERY SINCERE thanks to Atlantic Prince for being jolly good sports, monstrously motivational, as well as very funny - they will do their very best.
The Netherlands and the Ukraine have just been added to the list of countries from which supporters are following the cow's progress (US (California, Missouri and Indiana), Canada (Yukon Territory and Toronto), Bermuda, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Hong Kong), making a total of 18 including the UK. Any advance on 18? If you're out there somewhere else, please sign the Visitors' Book!
Estimated arrival: Day 66 (3rd February)
based on average mileage so far or Day 58 (26th January) based on
average mileage over the last week.
Monday 2nd January (Day 34):
OK, Blue Spot Supporters, you know what it's like when all the
festivities are over, it's damp, you're still tired from all the late
nights, and there's not much interesting left in your larder? Well, it's
not very different when you're in the middle of the Atlantic Rowing
Race, so now is the time when we can all really rally round to jolly
them along. Plus most of us need something to do at work tomorrow, so
today sees the start of the C2 Limericks for Charity Challenge!
The aim is to make them smile and raise some
money for their good causes (which also makes them smile) at the same
time. It works like this:
The competition will be judged by Sophie Andrews (Chris' eldest) and the winner will receive a SIGNED, framed photo of C2 arriving in Antigua. Entries close at 6pm on Monday, 9 January. Off you go!
Hot, slow and sultry... that's what the WEATHER's been like today out there, with temperatures topping the high 30s. Dermatologists will wince at the Clint's explanation that, "It was almost hot enough to wear sunscreen if wey were wimpish enough still to be bothered doing this": it's good to know that they're now too brown and leathery to get burnt, and, lets face it, the ageing effects of the sun are going to be the least of their problems compared with the ageing effects of everything else they've been doing over the past 33 days (sorry, skin specialists, I know they're still able to get melanomas, but you try telling them - see the Contact page for how).
Anyway, their morale sounded as high as the temperatures, and this was for three main reasons:
Taking these one by one, they have at last got some photos of whales, Jane will be glad to hear, as two 25-30ft whales came and played around the boat this afternoon (NB this makes them slightly LARGER than the boat) in a thoroughly cute manner (this is the special definition of "cute" reserved for massive black fish, and is different from the one related to kittens with balls of pink wool), and Clint, the big softie, described them as "Really, really gorgeous". They had a very small dorsal fin, and were probably completely black, though as they didn't break the surface very much they aren't completely sure on this point, and were about the size of orcas. Suggestions from cetacean experts as to what kind of whale they might be would be gratefully received by the Natural History Department of Team C2 (if anyone comes up with anything, we may have to invest in a second postage stamp to record it all on).
The water situation is now "extremely flush", so much so that for the first time in a while they not only had two main courses that required rehydration this evening, but also a rehydrated chocolate chip dessert which was "really, really lovely".
Chris would like to say thanks to Ed at CC (he remembers Kat's offer), and to Lindsey, and a specially big Hello to Ethan (aged 2), and also Jenny, Richard and Richard's mum. Clint expressed his gratitude to Herr Gorman, to Richard & Caroline at EM and asks has Ernie been in? (if you think you understand this and it relates to you, please e-mail the Land Team and I'll tell you if you're right or not).
Estimated arrival: Day 66 (3rd February)
based on average mileage so far or Day 58 (26th January) based on
average mileage over the last week.
New Year's Day (Day 33):
Any readers feeling a little delicate this morning must be glad that
they're standing on a stable floor (even if it doesn't feel that way)
rather than attempting to balance on a small boat that's bucking and
twisting as if it's a steer being branded. Those not feeling too queasy
will be wowed by
this picture, taken (with considerable technical skill) by Roz
Savage, the only women's single in the race. Bear in mind the vast
amount of flying water is also quite warm, but all the same....
So, in the midst of all of this turmoil, what would happen if the boat was actually turned over? First of all, as with everything, prevention is better than cure, and these boats are designed to resist capsizing. Given that there are, I believe, only 2 reported capsizes of the design, one possibly questionable (as it resulted in the boat "unfortunately" losing all its ballast water canisters and its heavy life raft, or so I'm told), the designer has been quite stunningly successful in this. But if the worst did happen, the ballast water should also help the boats to self-right, by pulling the heavy bottom of the boat back downwards. In this year's race, various contraptions have featured, I think for the first time, on almost all boats to carry the spare blades above the deck. This arrangement has the benefits of clearing spare blades off the already small deck making moving about easier, and also providing "grab rails" to hold onto while moving about the deck or, in extremis, for stopping people falling out, and several rowers have already attested to how often this has saved them from an impromptu bath. However, there is an understandable school of thought that these extra encumbrances above deck might reduce the boats' ability to self-right in the event of a capsize, by providing resistance to its roll back to upright. No actual testing seems to have been done on this, but an equally plausible counter-argument is that, because blade shafts are sealed pockets of air (modern composite blades are hollow tubes), they could actually help the upper side of the boat bob up again. C2's spare blades are held in metal stanchions made by the Doug at Fox Citroen/Subaru Motors in Tunbridge Wells, that are bolted to the gunwales, which have proved extremely sturdy, and which can been seen in most of the photos on the Photos page.
C2 report that they've been trying to crank out the miles in an annoying cross wind, which is a disappointingly unspectacular way of crossing the half way point but at least, as Rob Hamill put it, "It's all downhill from now on". Chris celebrated this momentous occasion by having a Tunnock's Wafer, his favourite snack of the moment, while Clint indulged in a Pepperami.
Wishing a Happy New Year to all Blue Spot watchers (which will bring back fond, or something, memories of the cafe of that name up the road from Kingston Rowing Club, sometime base of both the water and land teams, and many of their supporters), Clint quite firmly pledged that his New Year's resolution was never to get in an ocean rowing boat again (presumably AFTER he has landed in Antigua - I don't think he was proposing to swim alongside the sea cow all the way to the Caribbean) while Chris has surprised many of us by expressing a commitment to learning to play the piano (again, presumably AFTER they have landed in Antigua as the music room on the good ship C2 is limited to a pair of spoons).
Thanks to Sarah & Steve, Richie and Animal, Jo, Farrell and Simon Leifer.
Estimated arrival: Day 66 (3rd February)
based on average mileage so far or Day 57 (25 Jan) based on average
mileage over the last week.
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