we go blog readers - the concluding blog entry from 'The
Reason Why' which wouldn't be complete without a poem!
Also, I've now received photos from Paul - lots
of them!! They will take a while to upload onto this
site so bear with me as it may take a day or so to get
through them all and, believe it or not, I do have a
life outside of 'The Reason Why'!!!!! No doubt
photos will continue to be received over the next few
weeks, especially once Steve and Paul return, so keep
checking this site for updates.
thanks to everyone who has donated
money to Cornwall
The target that I personally wanted to reach in the Paypal account
before Paul and Steve finished the race has been met
and exceeded - brilliant news and all thanks to our
generous supporters. However, don't go thinking that
just because the target that I wanted to reach has been
achieved and exceeded, that further donations are
not needed - you couldn't be more wrong!! In order for the Hospice to
run, it needs to raise £5million every year, of
which more than 80% has to be met by voluntary contributions,
so you can see why all financial donations are so appreciated.
you haven't donated already, please do so - there's
still plenty of time. Just click the button that says
Don't forget, everyone who donates will have their
names immortalised forever on the 'Sponsors' page
of this website, and Steve and Paul will be able to
see who's donated and who hasn't when they return to
hot and sunny Cornwall - ok, well, perhaps not hot and
sunny but it will be soon - summer is coming! I
spoke too soon - just seen the forecast and it is for rain, gales, and
then getting colder. Paul and Steve will definitely
feel a tad chilly when they return to Cornwall having
spent the last two and a half months in the
are afoot for a party of some sort once the two rowers
return and I've already received a couple of suggestions
for a venue. Details will be posted on this website and everyone
who donated will be invited either by phone, email or
in person. Watch this space!!
all for now. I hope you've all enjoyed the 2007 Atlantic
Rowing Race - I'm off to the opticians to get some glasses
- spent too much time on the computer over the last few months
and my eyesight is now non-existent!!
all, Jen x
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tuesday 29th January
Simon Chalk and his 5 man boat 'Oyster Shack'
just arrived. We gave them the same heroes welcome. Unfortunately,
they norrowly missed the record but still took a fantastic 37 days so there will be much
rejoicing tonight. 'Pendovey Swift' is expected later in the week, and 'Komale' at
weekend or just past.
Thanks again for showing us so much support and so
much interest in our blog. Please keep the donations coming in - Cornwall
Hospice Care needs your support.
Now I suppose I can't finish without a poem:-
Our Journey's End
So there we are
Our journey's end
The Mighty Mo
Our new found friend
Two thousand miles
Five hundred more
From Gomeran dock
To Antiguan shore
Sometimes we stalled
When seas were big
At others moved
Like a buttered pig
We kept our heads
When things looked glum
Like wolfish stew
And the final rum
We chased the wind
It chased us back
From Spanish Isle
To the Rastus Shack
The shooting stars
The night come soon
The Grinning Turk
Our part time moon
Beneath the clouds
Beneath the sun
And fizzing waves
That smack your bum
That Christmas came
And New Year went
The rum we had
Was heaven sent
And then the day
We saw the land
Then here we are
That welcome night
I can't recall
A better sight
A bacon roll
And a beer that night
And like this row
The end has come
Farewell my friends
I'm off for rum
(Any publishers interested in "The
Reason Why - The Book" ..... we're open to offers!)
PS: The view from the hotel window, in front of the 6
foot fence, includes: 3 chunks of concrete rubble, an old coil of water pipe, a
rusting step ladder, and yes....both a scabby dog and a scabby cat (well,
they're not really scabby) .... and not a sign of the sea anywhere ..... bloody
Thats it Jen, see you next week.
Love Steve x
Saturday 26th January
So here we are- 2 men, 1 boat and 2 buckets (actually 3...we had a spare), Droops has clocked off as watch pig, and Gus has
said his last goodbyes and gone off to do greater things and line greater bins!
Antigua....wow! We first saw it 26 miles out and
frantically worked out whether we could get in before closing time! We had
doubled up rowing the night before to try and pull Antigua within a days
row - 50 mile- ish. We didn't know we were to get a 3 knot helping wind all the
next day, Saturday, which improved our ETA in Antigua by two hours, plus we had
a joker to play, as we were on The Reason Why time and still two hours ahead of
Antigua. Suddenly we were not only going to make Saturday but we were going to have
a Saturday night out!
We spoke to ABSAR (Antigua and Barbuda Search And
Rescue) and Woodvale at 20 miles and 5 miles. We were met by 'Sara' and a second
yacht carrying our families. Thanks to Nick from 'No Fear' for the second yacht
and the ABSAR rib, with Amanda and the finishing klaxon.
Once across the line, which was far from easy, we
received the most incredible and totally unforgettable welcome. As we rowed into
English Harbour, suddenly the inky black night was burst into light by all of
the rowers who had already arrived, leaping up from the ramparts of the old fort all
carrying hand-held orange and red smoke flares, airhorns deafened us and echoed
around the whole of English Harbour. Every yacht suddenly burst into life with
horns and lights and shouts of welcome. The 'Pura Vida' boys, the 'Unfinished
Business' girls (now 'Finished Business'), the 'No Fear' boys and even those pesky 'Commandos' were there to
welcome us. As we came up to dock, hundreds of people cheering and shouting and
handing us beer and bacon rolls, family all together, those long awaited hugs, a
welcome committee from the Antiguan and Barbudan Tourist Board and a dozen photo
calls - well I suppose it was a Kodak moment. I have to say that we were totally
overwhelmed and it has to be one of the most special and memorable moments of my
life, and we will never forget it. Difficult to stand up, we wobbled like drunken
sailors and proceeded with everyone, without so much as a shower, to the
Galley Bar till 1.30 am. It was simply perfect, and had to be done, and
We achieved a crossing time of 55
days 12 hours and 3 minutes, arriving in Antigua at 8.03 pm and, guess what,
they even had the rum!!!
Finally, as we have a holiday to enjoy with our
families now for a week or so, on top of all else, it turns out that 'The
Reason Why' has completed the 200th successful ocean crossing EVER! They
have made quite a fuss over us about this. We may get a certificate or
something, and it has just about put the icing on top of what was already a memorable
and incredible journey.
Thanks for the support of so many, especially our
families, Droops, Gus,Amanda, Tony and Simon at Woodvale, Stu, Andrew and John
on 'Sara' and, of course, Jen, the third member of 'The Reason Why' team,
still back home
in Cornwall, who was our land contact person and
also the person responsible for building this website,
the publishing of this blog, photos, etc.
Saturday 26th January
Phone call received at 8.45pm(GMT) - All well aboard 'The Reason Why' and
only 8 miles left to row. Paul phoned to give
me an update whilst Steve was busy rowing but he
still managed to shout out bits and pieces! They
are currently moving at a speed of approximately
3mph so expect to cross the finish line before midnight.
Their bums are very sore and their hands are
in a claw-like state, but other than that they are
fine. Paul's knee has given him no problems
whatsoever and Steve's back has been absolutely
fine. They have lost weight:- Steve recently
put on his white shorts that he wore back in La
Gomera and Paul reckons there's now room in the
shorts for both rowers!!! Once they cross
the finish line, they will be met by the Barbuda
Authorities. Paul will be letting me know their
official finishing time which I will publish on
The laptop inverter is still not working due
to it getting drenched along with bedding, clothing etc.
but Steve has said he will send an update blog in a
couple of days. Paul has promised to try to send
some photos through as well. Think that's all
for now - will keep everyone posted with news as and
when it is received.
Saturday 26th January
Message received at 1.50pm(GMT) - land has been spotted by Paul and Steve,
and 27m left to row. Two very happy rowers!!
Saturday 26th January
Well, today is hopefully the last day for Paul
and Steve on board The Reason Why. It is anticipated
that they will make landfall about midnight tonight,
giving them a race period of 55 1/2 days - the plan
was to take between 50 and 60 days so they are right
in the middle of their target. As soon as
I hear from that they have arrived and the official
time taken, I will publish it here although no doubt
you, like me, are all watching the ARR site
several times a day - do we have nothing else
to do??!! ha ha.
There are plans afoot to hold a party for Paul
and Steve once they have had time to adjust to normal
day-to-day living back in Cornwall. Those people
who have donated money to this project will be receiving
In the meantime, enjoy the last day of the day for
Paul and Steve. Steve will no doubt be doing an
update for this blog once he has had a few beers and
has recovered from spending 55 days on The Reason Why with
Paul, Mo, Gus, Droops and the Grinning Turk!!
Monday 21st January
We were being pounded by huge waves coming over
the aft hatch and, at times, fizzers would smack
the side of 'The Reason Why' sending
white foam over us. In fact, we think our
nicknames should be 'squalls' because we had every
one of them in the Atlantic come down on us
yesterday and last night!
Anyway, poor Gus, the black
bag gorilla, was having to hang on for dear life to
the cable ties that he was attached to on the rail on
top of the aft cabin. We'd heard him swearing
and cursing under his breath in his true mid-Atlantic
gibberish. Suddenly ...... an enormous wave crashed
over us, soaking us yet again, but when we went to put
the debris (usually Go Bar wrappers) in Gus, to our
horror, he was gone!! We were distraught but ...........
when we looked behind us in the middle of the boat,
there he was, sitting there grinning, as cool as you
like!! How wind and wave contrived to deposit
Gus back on board after ripping him overboard is a
mystery, but there you are .... Gus's little adventure
.... a true story too!
Droops (the pig) is sunburnt
I'm afraid but still has the coolest oink and still
tied on with bind-a-twine! We actually did see
a frigate bird both yesterday and today - ruddy great
things, look like pterydactyls!! She was called Freda.
We have had a second visit
from Stu in the support boat 'Sara'. I
don't think he could believe that a rowing boat was
moving like a buttered pig towards Antigua, manned by
two old gits with a combined age of 97 years! - neither
Well done to Pura Vida.
We still wear your wristbands and, as true supporters,
may well claim a pint when we make land, hopefully at
the weekend. Seriously lads, very well done.
The box that charges
the laptop has just blown up so this may well be the
last blog until its all over - we'll have to see how
the battery lasts. So I'll end with my prayer
to Mo that I said to her as we set out:-
Prayer to Mo
Mighty ocean, hear our prayer
And grant us leave your world to share
That we may see your majesty
And gaze upon your beauty free
They’ll be no victory or defeat
If you allow our worlds to meet
And let us safely be as one
Together till our journey’s done
Mighty ocean, you’re the boss
Please grant our wish and let us cross
that's it - still some rowing to do as we head for the
'250 nautical miles to go' mark. Our families
are arriving in Antigua and we can't wait to see them
and ourfellow rowers.
you again for the endless messages of support and for
all the monetary donations in aid of our chosen charity,
Cornwall Hospice Care. Hope
to see most of you soon. Love Steve and Paul
20th January (by Jen)
updated blog yet received from Steve but
instead a photo received from Bex, his daughter,
showing him having his head shaved by wife
Chris before leaving Cornwall back in November
2007. The Gardner family (apart from Baggins,
the dog!) leave Zennor this evening
to make the long journey to Antigua. Arrival
date for Steve and Paul aboard 'The
Reason Why' is estimated to be in about
one week's time.
Wednesday 16th January
We have had a couple of bad
nights since our last blog and the mileage has suffered
but we have got through that now and are picking
up on the winds and sea which are nearly in our
favour ... well, better than before anyway. We've
passed the '600n/miles to go' mark and have completed
2002 n/miles since the start. We are now closing
in on the '500n/miles to go' and should reach this
point either late today or early tomorrow.
We have had more brushes
with tankers. No 6 was not a problem although
we didn't see him until he was level with us in broad
daylight! Ship number 7, however, was a cruise liner
which was right up on our tail last night, so to speak.
I called the vessel, which was named 'Black Watch'
according to our AIS radar, and spoke to someone who
was a spendid fellow. He took our website details
and wished us good luck on getting to Antigua. The
ship was a blaze of lights about one mile away
and it flashed spots at us.
Last Sunday saw us at
sea for six weeks - don't ask me how that's possible
or where the time's gone. Important news is that
we've found choccy biscuits and have introduced twilight
dunking which, of course, avoids meltage We now look
forward to our twilight dunk since the rum has gone
- had I mentioned that the rum had gone?!
Now, not that you really want to know, but .... I've
had a go at naked rowing!! Just had to be done
for someone with a similar physique as James Cracknell!!
Paul should eventually recover from the sight
..... with therapy!!
On the wildlife front, this picked up about 20 minutes
ago when two whales, possibly pilot whales, came
and frightened the life out of me by surfacing and blowing
a spout about ten yards from me, but they were
gone before Paul could get a picture.
Yes, it's poem time again. When not rowing
and on deck (that's promenade or poop), this is
where we are:-
It may not have a pretty door
Or curtains round the hatch
It may not have a window box
Or roof tiles, slate or
It may not have a garden
Or flowers planted bright
It hasn’t got a dining room
Or one small table light
But this place is our home
And has been seven weeks
We christened it 'The Bear Pit'
Because it simply reeks
Clothes stand up without us
Towels crack when folded down
The mattresses once brightly
Have all turned beastly brown
In daytime it’s a sauna
In night time it’s 'The Pit'
Strewn about with sweaty
And two old beastly gits
But she has been our haven
Gainst tempest, wave and gale
And we both know our 'Bear Pit'
Would us never ever fail
It may not have a pretty door
It may not smell that sweet
But all who enter, never fear
No safer place you’ll meet
That's it. Love to families, friends and supporters.
We shouldn't be that long now. If I could
just stop Paul from singing and get him rowing, we'd
Friday 11th January
Hi everyone, been a bit busy on the oars lately to be able
to write a blog. We've been making up a few miles but Mo and the wind conspire to make
life difficult. The cunning Old Grinning Turk has been playing away and
seen him for a few nights until last night when a mere slither of a thing appeared
and cast very little light as we hurtled backwards into the black inky
void. Big black clouds rained on us in the wee small hours as well. On top of everything else
.... the rum has gone!!
We had a very frustrating night
last night making all speed for
the '750 n/miles to go' mark, but the wind and sea delayed us. We are, at this moment,
within 4 miles of it as at 11.35am local time (1.35pm with you).
Now, we don't want to tempt fate but the
facts are that
family accommodation must be booked in Antigua now so a few minor requests have
been sent home when choosing a hotel, or whatever:-
- no amusements, fairs or games that involve any
undue or random movement
- DEFINITELY no gym with rowing machines
- nowhere with
a hatchway or alarm clocks
- no food out of bags, no food or drink you add
water to, no bloody noodles on the menu
- no laptops, especially ones that bounce
up and down uncontrollably
- nothing salty, especially water, in fact ...no
- no so called 'hi-tech equipment' that keeps you awake bleeping all night
for no damn good reason
- no damp towels or damp clothes
- no headlamps
- no refillable drinking bottles
- no wet toilet paper
forks without prongs and no spoons with prongs
- no gps crosstrack error
- in fact
nothing with an 'l' or an 'r' on
- no fully inclusive outings, especially NO BLOODY
BOAT TRIPS , and finally NO SEA VIEW!! I'll even pay for a view of the grottiest
rear back yard with rubbish bins and a scabby dog chasing a scabby cat.....other
than that....I'm easy!
My turn on the oars
so I'd best go and relieve
Thanks again for all
your texts and support - sorry if not all of them
get answered. Love to family and friends, really do hope to see
you all very soon now, love Steve and Paul
P.S. Sorry Jen, forgot to say hi, here's the blog.
Sunday 6th January
Hi all, and sorry for the delay. An update
blog entry for you since 2nd January:-
We have now been at sea
for five weeks. We had strong winds and big seas
on 2nd January but since then Mo has sort of calmed
down a bit, although the wind and sea haven't been in
our favour hence the struggle to get past the '1000
n/m to go' mark which we did at 6.30am today.
Yesterday was very hot
and Paul cleaned the bottom of the boat in a flat sea.
There wasn't much on the boat's bottom but we
like to keep our bottoms clean! Incidentally,
it's our bottoms that are causing the most discomfort
at the moment. Every time one of us finishes rowing,
the other is greated by a 'Jim Royal' "my arse".
We've had visits from Trinni
and Toby (the tropical birds) and more notably the support
yacht 'Sara' who took pictures and had a chat for about
20 minutes before moving off to the next boat.
Picture this:- a man just
awoken from his second attempt at two hours sleep, just
sitting on the rowing seat .......a great slapper of
a wave hits the side of the boat and soaks him all over!
It was 2.15am straight after a rain storm the
like of which descended on him, and you can understand
what dejected means! But, I got over it!
The old GT is up to his
tricks again and only now a slither of his former self,
but the idiot didn't rise until 6am - just before the
As we carry on plodding
towards Antigua, I will leave you with my latest poem,
the inspiration for which came from
my daughter Rebecca:-
The Problem With Land
There isn’t any water
And everywhere's so still
Where’s the fun in drinking tea
That you never get to spill
All your clothes are dry not damp
Your towel is never wet
There’s room to wash, and nasty spots
You hardly ever get
There’s space you can stand up in
Without a smack on head
You don’t have to scramble through a hatch
And there’s room for two in bed
There’s people you can talk to
Or visit them by car
Or even walk there using legs
But maybe that’s too far
So what's land got to offer
Cities, trees and sand
But it hasn't got an ocean
That's the problem with the land
Love to families and friends,
and thank you for the hundreds and thousands of messages.
taken by Support Vessel 'Sara' on Thursday 3rd January
2008 (Thanks Amanda!)
Thursday 3rd January
I have today heard from The Reason Why that
the support yacht, Sara, has paid a
visit to Paul
and Steve this morning. The guys were
very pleased to see some new faces - the first time
in four weeks!
The support crew took some
photos which will hopefully be published on the
official ARR site soon so keep a look out for them.
I will try to get copies for
this website too. (Now received and shown above.)
When Sara left The
Reason Why, she was off to find No Fear,
and apparently Paul and Steve were quite sad to
see her sail away again!
Wednesday 2nd January
Hello everybody. Mo is on form, but the
trade winds are blowing so we mustn't grumble. However, typing this is
very difficult and
uncomfortable, and stiflingly hot in the cabin.
Tuesday 1st January
All is quiet on New Years Day.
Mo has let us go a little quicker and although baking hot, we are making all speed to get to that
'1000 to go' mark.
Happy New Year to everyone, especially our
families and the thousands of people following our progress. Can't type much
more now - very difficult to type in this bear pit of a cabin, but this is very apt
and suits our thoughts.
Monday 31st December
Those ghostly old apparitions seem to be looking
even older and they still hang about in the hatch covers. We got to the
illusive halfway point today,
apparently, although there is some confusion over the mileage.
Every stroke is 10 yards
Every wave is 10 yards more
Every breeze is 10 yards nearer
Every day is nearer shore.
Every second brings us closer
Every minute on the foam
Every time we travel forward
Every yard is nearer home.
Sunday 30th December
today, we have been at sea for four weeks, and
we haven't seen another living soul since - weird! We were cast adrift in a 23' open
boat with no cold drinks, only salty water; no cheese or ham (the first item
on the menu of international cuisine), no chocolate or sweets (we forgot to buy
any in La Gomera), and the plastic cutlery that we have is rapidly running out of
prongs hence our forks are now more like spoons - just as well we broke the
for bread and a pork pie, oh perishable substance we covet thee!! But, unlike
Jack Sparrow, we have still got the rum!!
Saturday 29th December
Day In The Life
Steve: 2hr row. Paul: prepare and
Paul: 2hr row. Steve: prepare and repair bum.
Steve: 2hr row. Paul: prepare and repair bum, eat
a Go Bar.
Paul: 2hr row. Steve: prepare and repair bum, eat
a Go Bar.
Change-over lingo:- "your turn old mate, yes no
problem, see you in a couple of hours, thanks."
Actually heard as:- "Uhh,
what? mmmhh, umm, bahhh bug ba ba nnna."
Steve: 1hr row. Paul: get breakfast for 1.
Paul: 1hr row. Steve: get breakfast for 1 ( if Paul's left any!),
until 1pm:- alternate hourly rows, listen to music, raid snack bucket.
like to play "Woke Up This Morning" by the Alabama Three to start each day's
rows (the theme from Sopranos). We cook ourselves lunch individually
now at about the 2pm/3pm shifts so as not to
stop rowing, and then continue rowing into the pre-night at 6pm when we stop for a
sundowner - a tot of rum, and the highlight of our day.
Then it's back to the hourly rows till midnight, and then we start the whole
routine again. We cook our own
dinners at about 9pm/10 pm.
The only other thing worthy of mention, besides
trying to write this blog in a revolving sauna, is .... the bucket!!!
stage during the day, we have to become performing monkey acrobats and magicians
as, in turn, we have to perch on a plastic bucket steering the foot steering
with one hand, hanging onto the boat with the other hand and hanging onto the
bucket with our thighs. And all the while, Mo tries her damnest to throw us off the bucket
the bucket off the boat!! We then track the Grinning Turk across the sky, if he
bothers to turn up. Last night he came up at 2.30am.
Friday 28th December
Still no wildlife apart from Pete the Petrel, who
sometimes brings a mate. There is also the fish...Dorado I think, or is that beer? They
follow the boat and, at night, catch in the lights of our headlamps, flashing
like a silver blue ballet all around us, and with every oarstroke tumbling over
a myriad tiny phosherescent jewels....I feel a poem coming on....but not
Thursday 27th December
Still no wind, heavy old Mo, backs and bums
suffering, but the cheese melts good and, unlike Captain Jack Sparrow, we
still have the rum!
On a whim, Paul decided to go fishing last night
£1.75 hand line from Lidls. From the decision to fish, dropping in the line,
catching fish, losing fish, catching second fish, filletting fish, frying and eating
fish - half hour tops so no problems for fish out here. I don't know what it was,
but it was
bright shiny yellow with a blue tail, and it tasted good.
Today is day 25 and
mileage wise we are
heading for halfway hopefully by New Year, then hopefully a bit quicker run
in, but we'll see.
Wednesday 26th December
had an early visit from Trinni and Tobago - two very nice
tropical birds who popped by to see if we were interested in the job at Rastus
Island as second palm tree or, if it looks better on the passport, Hammock
Holder First Class. I respectfully declined saying we were on route for Antigua. "Too busy for me" said Trinni, "full of touristy seagulls."
The calm weather continues, very calm, its like
rowing an old Gloucester sow uphill through treacle. This is not a buttered
pig situation, but at night the old grinning turk moon quickly became a star,
if that's possible? He illuminated the otherwise inky blackness by fighting
his way through a million freshly baked harvest loaves, a three square mile Bakewell
Tart, a fish the size of Cornwall, and a three hundred foot rampaging stallion in full
gallop....at least that's what the cloud cover looked like. He then shone a
moonlight trail on our exact course - it was pretty special.
Tuesday 25th December
ate the weevils - they were better than the
biscuits! Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for the hundreds of text messages
sorry we can't answer them all.
We opened our boxes from home which included three
Southern Comforts (take note: - I like this, if the beers off!), three ports,
red wine, champagne, and rum. Are they making a statement do you think?
We had an incident in the early hours of Christmas morning
the Sea-me and Radar alarms started sounding and there was our sixth tanker, the "Hoegh
Sydney" doing 17.8 knots and coming within four miles of us. We sat and watched
her go by at 3.30am on Christmas Day.
We had our favourite steak boil-in-a-bag, drank rum,
rowed....the usual sort of Christmas - not! Mo allowed us a very calm Christmas
night which was nice. So many messages from home, thank you all so much. We'll
try not to let you down.
Monday 24th December
Plodding on and reached the 1000 mile marker
of Woodvale to put a neon palm tree in the middle of Mo to tell us. Rumour has
it that this palm tree is the estranged onemissing from Rastus Island, but that's just
a bit of mid-Atlantic gossip.
After rowing all day, we decided to start tapping
the weevils out of the boat's biscuits ready for tomorrow's lunch. Then, I wrote
a poem just for Keith:-
Christmas On The Atlantic
It was Christmas on the Atlantic
The wave tops as white as snow
And they bounce and they roll and
At the will of Mighty Mo
The Christmas lights were missing
No holly or a tree
But I wore a big red Santa coat
‘Cos the bugger rained on me!
It was Christmas on the Atlantic
And it’s not the same as land
‘Cos peace and still and silent
Mo just can’t understand
Saturday 22nd December
are bouncing along the Atlantic Highway today - not
exactly comfortable but going the right way! Night
comes so often here; there is no morning or afternoon,
just after-night and pre-night.
development:- I am writing this very quietly as we believe
The Reason Why is haunted .... every time we glance
into one of the hatches we see an apparition of an old
tired-eyed, sad faced gentleman with a bushy beard.
We've both seen him and funnily enough, he looks
familiar to us both somehow!
a note about the start: Bill, one of the South Africans,
is also a mad Douglas Adams fan and had asked for boat
number 42. Unfortunately for him, we got there
first but the last words anyone said to me at La Gomera
were from Bill which he shouted across the startline
to me, as I was reciting my prayer to Mo actually. Bill
said: "So long and thanks for all the fish"
- another D.A. book. Who can tell me who or what
said these words in the book?
to Richard and Graham at The Tinners Arms, thanks for
message. Hi to all at The Gurnards Head, Charles
and Andy, Rachel, Krish, Ogz of course and everyone
else. Robbie and Scottie, thanks for the messages. The
other TWATS, JL, thanks for the chart, Colin .. be good!
Christmas to everyone, especially families gathering
without us. See you all soon.
Friday 21st December
rough, blowey and choppy night - I may never sit still
again - and I'm sure my first meal on land will get
thrown all over the floor!
note to Trilby:- Don't worry, we tested Gus with chocolate
biscuits last night and he passed, so it's up to the
Keira Knightly Suite with Griselda for Gus!
now have 142 jobs for a calm day. As we haven't
had one yet, we need a week of them to get everything
done! Every morning as the sun rises, we proclaim:
"It's a new dawn", with hope anew etc, as
the heater slowly restores her warmth to this wet world.
It reminds me of a Douglas Adams passage from
Hitch-hikers:- "Each morning the sun drags herself
up over the horizon, hauls herself across the sky spreading
a little warmth here, a little light there, and sadly
sinks below the opposite horizon eleven hours later
with a feeling of totally wasted effort".
Amanda, the moon stayed up till 4am-ish - have you pulled
go and put suncream on Droops - he's fading!
Cornishman Newspaper - 20th December 2007
Zennor gig rowers Steve Gardner and Paul Harris have moved up into
second place in the cross-Atlantic rowing race made famous two years ago by
Olympian James Cracknell and TV presenter Ben Fogle.The pair, who both row for
the Zennor Gig club, have covered more than 700 miles of the route between the
Canaries and Antigua in their boat, The Reason Why, and trail the leaders by
more than a day.
Supporters can check progress on the web site at www.atlanticrowingrace2007 . co.uk.
Thursday 20th December
lashed down with rain all night last night. We
didn't think for one moment about the 30 revellers from
Zennor Gig Club eating chicken and chips washed down
with beer and blackberry wine at the Waterside
Meadery in Penzance!! What would we do with chicken
and chips when we've got dried aardvark and essence
of dead dog to eat?! Mind you, at 4.10am, the
thought "I hope it chokes them" did flit across
my mind - but not for long, good turnout chaps.
Wednesday 19th December
have turned south at last. It was a wild old night
but have finally got beyond the 20th parallel and seem
to be in the Trades. We reckon only a mere 1805
nautical miles to go!! There are not waves here,
just monstrous mountainsides of water but they are going
our way thank goodness.
we get on with our journey south and west, there is
one final thing to report. The great dunker biscuit
robbery for whom the prime suspect is Gus the Black
Bag Gorilla - we hadn't got any fresh lycees you see.
If it turns out to be Gus, this will damage his
chances of a romatic liaison with Griselda, the other
Black Bag Gorilla frequenting the 'Keira Knightly Suite'
(alias the forward cabin).
Robbie:- you TOG, put your reply address in the
text message and I will try to reply - got no number
here, thanks mate.
soon, love to all, Steve and Paul
Tuesday 18th December
have to start with an erratum (things I got wrong last
time):- the frigate bird I referred to wasn't, it was
a red billed tropic bird but funnily enough, it's name
was still Freddie! Secondly, and someone should
have noticed, that on Rastus's Island what's the use
of a hammock with only one palm tree?!
was the calmest day so far with no wind, no Mo, no sound,
no wildlife ...nothing .... if I can get Paul to stop
singing a medley of 'The Lonely Goatherd', 'I'd Like
To Teach The World To Sing', 'Down At The Tube Station
At Midnight' and 'Is This The Way To Amarillo' !!!
hot again today and trying to make progress
against the sea was hard work. Paul took this
opportunity to clean the bottom of the boat - I'm not
ready for this adventure yet. As Paul said, it's
four and a half miles deep and it takes a
cannonball one hour forty minutes to hit the bottom
....... how does anybody know that??!!
GT Moon was at it again last night but the stars and
the shooting stars are incredible. Several people
have asked for more poetry - those who know me will
tell you that's a silly thing to do!
Thousand Million Stars Of Light
All of God’s creation
Is looking down on me
A thousand million stars of light
On us upon the sea
The waves provide the music
In this cathedral of the night
For shooting stars and meteors
And the moon gone out of sight
All of God’s creation
Is looking down on me
Perhaps we’ll find ‘The Reason Why’
As we go across the sea
Tuesday 18th December
have just phoned 'The Reason Why' for the first time
- am not looking forward to the phone bill now!! Anyway,
all is well on board, and both Paul and Steve are in
fine spirits, although the temperature inside the cabin
is 83 degrees ... and that's with both hatches open! Having
gone in the wrong direction recently, they are back
on course but are experiencing some headwinds which
probably won't affect the boats that are further
south. They are therefore expecting their mileage
to drop for the next few days. They have today
given the hull a clean off as there was enough wildlife
attached underneath to slow up their progress.
both have sore backs and bottoms although nothing
too severe, but their hands are holding up very well.
Oh, and sore feet where the straps keep rubbing
even though they are wearing shoes. Expectations
before setting out on this row were that there would
be more extremes of conditions, i.e. some very flat
days and some much rougher days, but they seem to be
experiencing lots of medium-rough days which provide
enough movement that you can't stand up or put a cup
of tea down anywhere in case it spills. Generally
speaking, it is hard work but nothing worse than
they expected, and they are enjoying the experience.
days go past quite quickly, but the nights seem to take
forever because it gets dark about 7pm and not light
again until 8am. During their rest periods, they
have to eat, sleep, plot charts, wash, etc so it never
seems long before it's time to take to the oars again.
are very pleased with the progress they are making,
especially considering they are not racing and certainly
not rowing full time. The main priority remains to
make it safe and sound to the other side of the Atlantic,
and so they will continue trundling along at a sensible
and moderate pace. They both stop for an hour
to eat together at breakfast, dinner and tea - all very
civilised aboard 'The Reason Why'! No sightings
of anybody else, i.e. other boats or support vessels,
since leaving La Gomera, although they did see a tanker
recently which passed a bit too close for comfort.
of comfort, I asked if there was anything they needed
(meaning info, bearings, etc) ....... the answer:- some
new forks and two pints of beer!!
were extremely pleased to know that their website
is receiving so many hits, and that friends and supporters
have recently donated more money to their chosen charity,
Cornwall Hospice Care, via Paypal. The amount
of supporters and well-wishers is quite amazing and
has far exceeded their expectations.
Monday 17th December
been slow, hot and hard work on the oars today, but
we are going the right way. We had an encounter
with our fifth tanker ship just now - no radar, no AIS,
no SeaMe! That's three tankers out of the five that
haven't had the equipment they are supposed to have.
Anyway, no problems, we've seen them coming and
GT Moon (Great Tropical, or Grinning Turk!) came along
again last night arriving two hours before the sunset
but it stayed around and lit the night sky up lovely.
At one point, it hung in the sky gold with a scallop
out of the top side and it looked for the world like
The Holy Grail! I was ready to forgive it all,
until the daft sod went down at 1.17am, leaving us nearly
seven hours of night as black as pitch.
Amanda: Can Woodvale do something about this
rebellious moon situation?? Or are they on a three day
soon when Mo and the charging laptop allow. Love
to all and thanks for the tremendous support - it's
been a bit overwhelming really ..... but please don't
Sunday 16th December
Mo is still messy but we are going the right way now! We
are heading for the second mark which is about 540 miles
on, where we can only imagine there is a little roundabout
called 'Rastus's Place' with one palm tree, a hammock
and a sign saying 'Inter Ocean Tradewinds Freeway',
'Keep Right For Antigua', 'Have A Red
had a big fry-up this morning ....well, a boil-in-the-bag-up
really, then got chased by a couple of angry looking
squalls. Fortunately we managed to avoid the worst
of them although a bit of rain was like a welcome shower
in this heat. The sweat is running off me as I
news - today we saw our first flying fish, a little
shoal, or should that be flock? Anyway, we haven't
had one in the boat yet. We had a good night on
the oars, good Mo, and good weather. We had been
avoiding eating the wolf-fish as it just didn't sound
appealing but, at last, I tried some and guess what?
.... Yep, it's bloody awful!! I gave mine to Mo!
What is wolf-fish anyway?
Saturday 15th December
Jen, Sorry for the delay in sending our blog entry to
you. Mo has been a little temperamental and typing
was not an option. Anyway, here we go with the
Messy Mo and going the wrong way, we tried to strike
a 'happy medium' and were soon surfing 15' waves! We
had a disaster tonight ............ we broke a prong
off the eating fork!! (And since then, we've lost the
other two as well!!) There are no mornings here,
only after-nights. We hadn't realised that we
would have 13 hours of darkness every day, and only
11 hours of light. By the time you've recovered
from the night, it's always afternoon and then it's nearly
Friday 14th December
much better night. We ate later and watched the
usual rubbish sunrise ..... that could stop breath! ....
before getting on with the business of making everything
hot, sunny and bright. More praise for Mo - the forecast
for the next four days is as we are now, which suits
us. So, as another day in paradise without wildlife
heads towards another rubbish sunset that could also
stop breath, we'll say thanks for all the support, including
the kind words of Trilby, partner of Chris who
rowed with Clint in C2 in 2005.
did make a discovery last night - a distant relative
of the La Gomeran albino bag lizard arrived on the boat
... the nocturnal mid Atlantic black bag gorilla. He
crawls up over the aft cabin after dark, stares at you
for 12 hours then disappears .... weird eh? The
tropical moon is the same as before, only it comes up
before the sun sets and goes down soon after - somebody
needs to talk job description to these 'ere moons!
news soon, but in the meantime ....... another poem,
hastily penned, following publication of the first one
on the ARR site:-
march and dance across the sky
poses all in flight
they float and show
the faces ever born
real or not
here for all the world to see
the land that time forgot
Newspaper - 13th December 2007
Two Zennor Gig Club rowers currently lie fourth in the biannual
Atlantic rowing race made famous by Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and
TV presenter Ben Fogle.Steve Gardner from Zennor and Hayle's Paul Harris set off
from La Gomera in the Canary Islands in their self-built boat, The Reason Why,
just over a week ago and have already completed 370 miles. They hope to
take between 50 and 55 days to complete the 2,500-mile trip to the finishing
line in Antigua and raise as much as £25,000 for Cornwall Hospice
Care. Their specially-designed boat takes its name from a line from
Cornwall's unofficial national anthem, Trelawny.The duo have rowed together for more than 10 years and finished a
creditable fifth in the World Pilot Gig championships at the Isles of Scilly
last year. A total of 23 boats set off with 15 competing for the pairs
title. Speaking from a satellite phone on board, Steve said the pair were
blistered, black and blue from being hit by the oars but were still
laughing. He said: "Last night, we had a good night and rowed right
through the night. We did alternate one-hour shifts until midnight
followed by two-hour stints until 8am and we appear to have made some
headway. The wind has dropped a little but the sea is still choppy and
it is hard to put two strokes together."
Supporters can send messages
of support at the website www.the-reason-why.co.uk and check progress on the official
website at www.atlantic
Thursday 13th December
milestones came and went today:- the 500 nautical mile
line was crossed, and in the early hours we crossed
23o27'N which puts us in the Tropics - yippee .......
still bloody chilly at 4 in the morning though! We
also discovered that it is possible to fall asleep whilst
must remember to make a sacrifice to Mo, who is being
wonderful at the moment, with gentle following seas.
We thought a box of Pringles would be a suitable
gesture but then we ate them instead - but we have more!
Beautiful days, cloudless, ethereal or otherwise,
so hot - strange to think it so cold at home. And
Christmas doesn't exist here .... bah humbug!
tuna shoal turned up .... well, Tommy Tuna did, yes,
alright, it was just the one, but it jumped right out
of the water just as Paul and I looked up. More wildlife
arrived later when a frigate bird arrived just
as I was trying to eat a half hundred weight bag of
peanuts. Freddie the Frigate gave us quite a few
passes - he must have thought to himself: 'couple of old Janners out
in a boat ..... must be some mackerel about' - too bad
Wednesday 12th December
you realise, after such hot days, just how chillly it
gets at night? And another thing, why are the
nights pitch black, apart from the stars? .... no moon!
The moon comes up like a grinning Turk at about
5am, an hour or so before the sun comes up! What's
the point of that?
progress on another baking hot day with waves that are
not big but are making it tricky to stay on course .....
and still no mackerell!!! We're going to the Tropics
now - perhaps they have a moon?!
to everyone, as always, especially Chris, Sam, Bex & Ogz,
Dawn, Jake & Danielle. See you all soon.
Tuesday 11th December
Everyone. It's hot ......... damn hot ........
I mean, it's daaaammmn hot!! We've kept plugging
away on the oars, which is all we intend to continue
doing. We had a tired night and didn't get even
the little bit of sleep we needed but, hey, we got over
it and we burst into the new day with porridge, Twix
bars and peanuts - ideal!
lobby waves have kept knocking us off course and 'The
Reason Why' steers in this sea like an old bucking Gloucester
bull pig! Talking of pigs .... a big mid-Atlantic
oink from Droops (pig mascot) who has survived
the rough weather so far. He's enjoying himself
and I'm making sure he has plenty of suncream - nothing
worse than a sunburnt snout! Big hi to everyone
in Lostwithiel, Wombwell Homes, Hotdog and The Globe
- bit short of text messages from you lot (hint, hint)
.... or have you sold my desk and moved??!!
no sign of any wildlife, except for Pete the Petrel
- I think he's got a thing for Droops!!
Monday 10th December
hard night last night. Although calm, we were
tired for some season - can't think why! But today
has been just the best day yet - blazing sunshine from
sunrise to sunset (which is just happening as I write
this, by the way). Porridge with strawberries
is a winner for breakfast.
has been at her calmest yet today, letting us chug across
her surface all day with hardly a wave. We have
a couple of forthcoming mini landmarks (should that
be seamarks?!) in the next few days, i.e. the 500
miles point to cross and the Tropics to go into at 23o27'N.
people may be questioning why we are further north than
the other boats - well there is a simple answer to that
my friends .... looking for mackerel - what else?!
for the messages - keep them coming. Love to friends
and families. More blog soon, Steve and Paul.
Sunday 9th December
was pleased today as we passed within eight miles of
the first waypoint that he worked out back at home -
good shot! That having been done, we have resolved
to stick to the original route and go with the wind
we've got which is taking us straight for Antigua.
sunrise was a beauty again today. No more wildlife
as yet but the sky makes up for it. And not just
the stars at night but the clouds during the day - great
white fluffy ethereal clouds with every face or animal,
mythical or real, in them. They are amazing and
we both love to lay in the cabin on our off-watch and
stare up out of the top hatch. I have never seen
anything like them and there is nobody else here to
see them with us. I shall write a poem ... or
seven! Oh, and Paul saw 2 UFO's last night!
noon has now passed - so that is one whole week at sea
Saturday 8th December - Part
for dinner tonight - the best yet, but the chocolate
chip mousse needs some work! We have settled into
our routine of rowing, rowing and rowing! 16 x 1hr shifts
and 4 x 2hr shifts through the night. We now eat
breakfast together after the 8am shift, lunch after
1pm and dinner as the sun sets after the 6pm shift.
has settled down a bit and calm seas through the night
have enabled us to gain better progress. We just
turned all the boat lights off and the whole majesty
of creation was up there in the sky in front of us -
not the sky full of stars like at home but ten times
as many, with shooting stars every little while including
one that is the closest I've ever seen. We watched
it burn out almost right down in front of us - brilliant!
Funny to see Orion rise here as I know it is plain
right over the back gate at home right now. Night
is like a magic carpet ride through space since Mo has
Saturday 8th December (Received from Steve on Saturday 8th)
Last night, we
had a good night and rowed right through the night. We did shifts of ‘one hour on, one hour off’
until midnight followed by ‘two hours on two hours off’ until 8am,
and we appear to have done some good mileage.
The wind has dropped a little but the sea is still choppy and it is hard
to put two strokes together. Our knees
are black and blue from being hit with the oars and we have blisters on various
fingers and toes all well plastered up, but nothing too serious. We are both well and still laughing!
We set waypoints
at the start of the race. Leg 1 took us
to El Hierro, and Leg 2 took us almost to where we are now. In about 40 miles, we have to turn right at
‘Little Mo’s Roundabout’ at the centre of the universe and start Leg 3 – about
1300 miles long, if Mo lets us, that is!
thanks:- firstly for all the texts and
messages of support, especially to our support person Jen, to our families Chris, Sam, Og, Bex,
Dawn, Jake, Danielle, to Simon at Hot Dog, Robbie (T.O.G.), Scottie (T.W.A.T.) (a
girlfriend eh?? - you won’t be allowed out on Wednesdays now!
Big hellos to
both mums, Hazel and Minnie, all at Wombwell Homes and Western Power
Distribution, and to all at the Gurnards Head, The Tinners Arms, and The Bucket
of Blood. Love to all, more soon
Friday 7th December (Received from Steve on Saturday 8th)
Today we were up
early, and the weather got hot very quickly.
We pulled up the sea anchor and started making good ground again. The waves are generally 20’-25’ and, as I
told Jen on the phone, we surfed one wave at a recorded speed of 7.8
knots. Fortunately all our sea sickness
has gone now, and it is amazing what we can do whilst bouncing up and down on
the waves all the time.
We had a visitor
today – ‘Pete the Petrel’. He made a
spectacular crash landing onto the boat like something out of Harry Potter, hit
the water tank and sat looking up at me in amazement. He sat there for about two hours before
flapping around and flying off again.
Thursday 6th December (Received from Steve on Saturday 8th)
The weather is still disappointing. It is very windy with overcast skies and big
seas. Have composed a little poem which
sums up the sea conditions:-
waves as big as houses
keep rolling through the night
looking for Antigua
the bugger’s out of sight
the day seas aren’t much smaller
least you see them as they pass
sizzle when they’re right beside you
sometimes hit you up the arse
Mo is still being very moody, but we are
not downhearted. We are eating well and
getting into a routine now. We are
rather enjoying our daily ‘baby wipes bed baths’! We had enormous seas in the night and tried
to set the drogues but they wouldn’t keep us straight so we had to put the sea
anchor out and spend an awful night being pounded by waves.
7th December 2007 (by
I have just received a telephone call from Steve.
Good news - they are both over the sea sickness
and eating well! Last night was another rough
night with waves coming at them from all directions
including broadside on. They made the decision
to put the para-anchor out, even though this would
inevitably prevent them from covering any mileage.
This morning they discovered that the buoy
on the para-anchor was missing which had resulted
in the nose of the boat being pulled down, hence
a very rocky night spent in the cabin. They
have now pulled the para-anchor back in and
are currently rowing well again.
Today the ocean is 'Bad
Tempered Mo' with large waves continually rising
up to an estimated height of at least 20', many of which
are breaking over the boat. They appear to be
averaging a speed of about 3.5 knots, although whilst
on the phone to Steve, the boat surfed a large wave
and recorded a speed of 7.8 knots - much to the delight
of Paul who now claims the fastest speed over Steve
- obviously a bit of competition going on out there
between them both!
They have now been updated
with their position compared to all the other boats
and they are very happy with how things are going.
Hopefully now that they are rowing again, they
will make up some of the ground lost last night. Although
currently only one mile distant from No Fear, the chance
of seeing the other boat(s) is extremely slim as the
horizon is only as close as the next wave!
They are receiving the messages
of support from friends and family but it is still difficult
to type/text very much because of the rough conditions.
They asked that I pass on their thanks to everyone,
and confirm that they are absolutely fine and everything
is going well.
4th December 2007 (by
The third night was still sloppy so we both rested as we tied
the rudder off and let the wind take us in the right direction at between 1.7
knots. We breakfasted on bangers and beans, and have also been snacking. We joined the
others in giving The Atlantic Ocean a nickname after my mighty ocean setting-off
prayer - she will be called 'Mo' - so far she's been 'Sloppy Mo'!
The sea is still all over
the place at the moment. Paul is rowing whilst I prop myself up in the cabin
writing this report. It is like
trying to type in a washing machine that's been turned on!
We will send more progress reports when Mo settles down. Thank
you all very much for the
texts etc. We are receiving them, but won't be replying as it is just
too difficult at
present! Love and best wishes to friends and
families from us both.
3rd December 2007 (by
The second night was equally awful and we were still poorly.
However, in the morning, we did manage to
force some food down and it even managed to stay
there! The sun came up lovely and, for the first time, we
realised we were out of sight of land. We made an executive decision and
threw our plan out
of window. We turned the boat to go with the sea and at one point starting
making good time straight towards Antigua, El Hierro having been successfully
passed. We had some porridge and rice pudding, and have started eating more now. Our
second wildlife sighting was a sea turtle followed
by more dolphins just before dark. Rowing is
going much better
now with the easterly wind.
2nd December 2007 (by
After the photo call, handshakes and hugs, there we
were out milling around on the start line. The five minute warning
came followed by the countdown to go. It was a beautiful, hot sunny day and the sea was calm. We had a good
start, but Joss and Ian in Pendovey shot off. Incidentally, Ian won the Great
London River Race on his own, as we teased him the previous night in the pub!
The South Africans got away well too, along with John and Nick from Fowey, and
Orlando and Ben in Go Commando, with Scott and Neil in Ocean Summit not far
away. The South Africans had a problem with the auto helm later but we don't know
They say the first night at sea is the worst
it wasn't good! An easterly cross wind blew up which tried to blow everyone onto
the island of El Hierro. It was choppy and messy, on and off the boat, as Paul so
put it. Basically, we were as sick as shags!
Monday didn't get much better as we were still feeling rough
and had to cope with a messy sea. We did see the first wildlife which
was a dolphin. Eventually the
old oranges, apples and cherries did manage to stay down, and a box of Pringles was
opened. The wind came and went, but it was never easy.
4th December 2007 (by
a phone call from Chris this evening to say that Steve
had just phoned home via the satellite phone. They
are still rowing well and acclimatising themselves to
life on board. However, the sea and weather conditions
are still too rough for Steve to type any reports and
email back to me. As soon as I receive any news,
I will publish it on this site for you all to read.
3rd December 2007 (by
have received some text messages and apparently the
first night on the water was rough! The Reason
Why, and no doubt all the other boats, was
caught up in a south easterly gale which has caused
sea sickness to both Paul and Steve. Despite trying
to continue rowing through strong seas and gale force
winds, they were forced to give up at 2am this morning.
They retreated to the cabin where they were thrown
about for the rest of the night! However, they
are both fine and appear to be in good spirits.
recommenced about 9am this morning and today has seen
the boat coping well among the
25' waves. There has been a 3 knot wind blowing
in the right direction. Only
one wave went over the stern end of the boat where the
sleeping cabin is located but, unfortunately, this was at the
very moment that Paul opened the hatch in the roof!
Accordingly, some of Steve's bedding is now
rather wet! The sea sickness is being kept at
bay as long as the guys keep rowing or lie down - try
to stand up and look out!
the island of El Hierro is very much like Paul Church
- however much they row, they just can't get past it
- ask any Ladies A rower and she'll know what they mean!
of the other boats are out of sight now although whilst
tucked away in the cabin during the rough weather, Paul
and Steve could hear shouts. When they opened
the hatch and looked out, there was the other Cornish
boat, 'No Fear'!