Hello folks, here's the last
entry on our 'Pre-Race Blog' from your 'Definitely Not On Holiday
But Preparing For The Row' correspondant in sunny and hot La Gomera. Jen will
be publishing all future entries on the 'Race Blog'
page of our website. We met Hilary,
the chap from The Sunday Independant, who did a report and a photo shoot on us
which we expect to be published in next week's paper, 9th December.
In the afternoon, we managed to make
an Antiguan flag because we didn't have one and will need one to fly from 'The
Reason Why' when we get to Antigua - amazing what you can do with a bit of cloth and some felt tip pens!
Last night, we went to the Woodvale Farewell Barbecue
at which it was confirmed that the race start will go ahead as
planned, tomorrow at 12noon. We managed to eat the barbecued fish and drink the
three barrels of free beer but not before catching a glimpse of the very rare La
Gomera Albino Bag Lizard which I managed to capture on a blurred and very
unclear photo, but it caused quite a stir with everyone trying to get a picture
of this 2 -3 foot white monster lizard on the cliff behind us.
The party continued later in The Blue Marlin where
Simon stood up to present the new La Gomera Cup donated by Manuel. As the
morning "race" was basically a procession and a parade, they had a discussion
as to which crew deserved to win it. Well, guess what?? In the words of Simon
Chalk " for being the most laid back crew both on and off the water (we are still the
only crew to have been fishing and to catch a fish), the most organised and
prepared crew, and the crew which has done more to boost the coffers of the
'Manuel Retirement Fund' .... it must go to The Reason Why!!!" Talk about proud!!
The bar erupted and we had to say a thank
you speech on a stool. You should see
the cup - well you will because we're bringing it home and we have to come back
in two years time to present it at the start of the next race.
We have just stocked the
boat up with fresh fruit, and have practiced the
phone options. I think Paul has it all sussed - I've got my Arthur Dent head
again when it comes to the technical stuff. Funny to see the clock on
our website with no days on it, and will
be glad to see it counting up again as we get going.
Well, it is getting very
close now to when we start rowing and we are basically
killing time by stocking up on cheese and ham. We
have just met Chris Jenkins from the Isles of Scilly
who is here to see the start of the race and check out the boats
in readiness for his crew's attempt to row the North Atlantic next year.
We wish him and his crew the very best of luck, as he did us
- actually he
bought us lunch and so double best wishes to him!
This will be the last blog before we
set off and I
will leave you with what Simon Chalk says:- "Everything appears in place for
a very fast crossing and records will be broken!" We'll wait and
see but at least it
sounds very promising.
That's it! The time has come, the walrus said, to
talk of many things, of ships and shoes and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings
............well pretty soon, we may be able to tell you as
Paul, Droops the pig complete with bind-a-twine lead, and myself make our merry way across The
Thank you for everyone's support and messages, love to
all our families and friends, see you all soon.
Steve and Paul xx
enjoyed another hearty cheese and ham breakfast
this morning together with fresh peaches
and pineapple. Following this, Paul
and I went off on a coach trip around the
island of La Gomera, organised by Woodvale.
The island is amazing and Juan, the
coach driver, has to be the best coach driver
in the world ... he needed to be! And
with Petra, our Spanish and English
speaking German guide, the two of them showed
us most of the island. We are based in
the south of the island in San Sebastian which
is hot and dry, and very different from
the lush, wet mountainous north. There
are massive valleys and giant rock monoliths
towering over tiered valley sides for thousands
of feet where farmers have cultivated their
crops over the millenium. There are
trees full of figs, dates, lemons, oranges,
avocadoes and bananas lining the twisting
winding roads that first loop up thousands
of feet only to come back down again in
true 'Italian Job' type hair-pins.
Great palm trees sway in the gentle breeze
as Petra describes the names of the "winyards",
the "twees" and the lush
"wegitation" before we "wisit
the wisitor centre"! The three
course lunch with free wine was superb -
a real gut buster!
have just had a course meeting and have plotted our
proposed course on the chart but, basically, we will
go with the wind as long as it is in our general favour.
There are rumours of a weather front heading our
way which would be typical after having had ten days
of wind that would have been good. Apparently,
the weather front is not too bad and the start is not
in jeopardy ... yet, but watch this space. Some
of the other rowers here are expecting to do really
quick times. Hopefully they will be right because
if they can do fast times, then maybe we can as well.
But we will just have to wait and see - we are going
to go at our own pace - just getting to the other side
of the Atlantic is our priority.
is the La Gomera Cup although this is likely to be more
of a procession than a race as it was a couple of years
ago when the start was delayed due to bad weather. We
have a chap from the Sunday Independent coming to meet
us tomorrow who wants to come out on 'The Reason Why'
with us to take photographs and do an interview.
you again for all the messages of support - they
are getting through by various emails, websites, texts,
phones etc. Thank you to Richard for the very lovely photo
of the "engine house" ! ...INVALUABLE, but the others were ok
too ..... thanks
mate. Heard last night that a friend of Paul's won a competition to name
a new Skinners beer. It will be called "Manacle"
but I'd have thought that name would be better suited
to a short rather than a beer then people could
have asked for a "Manacle on the Rocks"!
Firstly, must thank Pete in 'Charmed
Life' for the rope, and Andy and Ian in 'C2' for the
loan of the fenders - we have now bought our own, but
it is great the way everyone mucks in and helps everyone
else. Manuel was in fine 'ham-swinging form' the
other night and gave us a sort of free promotional-stuff
lucky dip. Paul got a bag and I got a t-shirt
which is handy as most of mine can walk to the pub on
their own now!
We took the boat out yesterday
and did ok against the wind. Have been out again
today and the wind has dropped so conditions are perfect
and it's all I can do to stop Paul setting off now!
We had Antigua right on course this morning with
a gently following 1 knot breeze that allowed us to
put our feet up while testing the watermaker, which
performed perfectly by the way. It was then that
we decided to go fishing, much to the amusement of one
of the Woodvale support yachts that sailed past us.
Of course I did all the donkey work, dangling
the lures, etc, etc, and as soon as I gave the
line to Paul, he pulled up a great spiney-looking fish.
Don't worry Chris, we threw it back in again.
Compasses and GPS all seem co-ordinated
now so our deviation is just the standard 7 degrees
that the book tells us. Well, that's the technical
bit done. I feel a bit like Arthur Dent most of
the time and just say "I don't understand"
and "Where's the tea?" Got well set
up for today on the usual feast of cheese and ham breakfast,
the first items on the menu of international cuisine
and, having returned to this fair isle, may go for a
sandwich soon before our 'Crisis Ops Meeting' -
may have ham and cheese!!
Good news from home for those
who don't know:- Baggins is recovering well after his
stroke, not out of the woods yet but Chris says he is
We ate in El Pajar last night,
a great little place that was sort of inside out with
great palm trees growing up in the restaurant through
the roof, which is sort of open air but has guttering
on the inside. Above our heads as we ate, the
whole place seemed to be growing with raffeta walls
and ceiling. The only thing wrong was all the
Spaniards watching Seville play Arsenal on the television
in the corner. It was 2-1 to Seville when we came
out but Arsenal are past masters at last minute equalisers
so it wouldn't surprise me if they did it again.
We gave Manuel a sticker and
a t-shirt last night - he was so chuffed that he had
a special ham swinging to celebrate. I will get
a picture of Manuel if possible so that Jan can put
it on the website for you all to see.
I have sent a text to work via
Jayne but the phone is not saying you've received it
- let me know if you have a new number, and a big hello to
everyone at Wombwell Homes in Lostwithiel. Hope
you are coping without me and haven't rented out my
Right, must go to our meeting
now. Will send more news soon. Love to all,
Steve and Paul.
Well, more time has been spent
in The Blue Marlin and more hams have been swinging from
the ceiling! Had a Chinese last night and thought
we had ordered ok, but it turned out to be a bit of
a cock-up - we got double portions of everything and
didn't dare send them back so we were totally stuffed!
Got some sad news from Chris last night - Baggins
(my dog) suffered a stroke. He's sort of ok but
it is obviously upsetting, especially with me being
We have done some final bits
and pieces to the boat today and bubble-wrapped everything
securely in. If the wind keeps up, it will be
perfect for our route and everyone here is saying that
it could be a quick crossing but we'll just have to
wait and see - watch this space! Guy, our friendly
Fin, was on song again today, in between eating lunch,
drinking wine and suddenly leaping into the marina.
I have to repeat just how alive the marina is:-
bright blue fish over a foot long with beautiful elongated
tails, some like angel fish, john dory, mullett, and
long thin barracouda type things that chase them all
the other fish. Last night, we even saw an octopus
swimming along the surface and then it clung
onto a mooring buoy for a minute before it was
gone - unbelievable.
I must stress that we are NOT
on holiday here ... but we have just sipped iced
coke and eaten toasted ham, cheese, egg and tomato sandwiches
whilst sitting under gently swaying palms. Today
is extremely hot and sunny as I sit writing this on
the beach wearing only a pair of shorts. Must
go now as I'm starting to burn. More reports soon.
Have to thank some fellow rowers so will get boats
and names sorted out and send to Jen soon to put public
thanks on the website. Love to all, Steve &
prizes for guessing who wrote this!)
We have had a lazy day today,
sitting in the sun on the boat, recovering from last
night when some absolute bounder spiked our tonic
water with gin!! But more about that in a minute. We have both taken lots
of photos today but I have forgotten the lead to link
my camera to the laptop so it will only be Paul's photos
that will be sent back for the website.
sending my last report, an
impromptu fancy dress party was organised, but when we saw the costumes, it was
obviously less impromptu than we thought! We didn't actually have our boat
scrutineering finished until gone 9pm that
night so we decided to go as we were....
disguised as a
couple of smelly, unshaven ne'erdo wells, which is what we were - see photo
opposite! Up-to-date photos and progress
reports will be put on this website, but
there is also a new official website now
for the race which is www.atlanticrowingrace2007.co.uk (if you look at that address
quickly, it looks like "at last I crow in grace "...or is it me ). On there
are more pictures of the boats, our welcome to La Gomera meeting, on
Saturday, and The Reason Why being put in the water. I think Paul has managed to
send some of his photos back, so by the good grace of Jen, they will soon start
appearing on our website too. (Already done Steve! Jen)
Have to mention the meal for two we had Friday night
it was a beastly sized paella with mussells and prawns nearly as big as your
head....well nearly. Had a bit of rain Saturday and intermittently
since but it comes and goes very quickly, like the wind, which funnels down the
narrow streets and although warmish can get really quite strong. There always
seems to be white tops on the ocean and hopefully they will be going our way next
Sunday so will give us a quick start.
At the welcoming meeting, we were told the agenda
for meetings through the week, ending up with a race between all the ocean
rowing boats next Friday or Saturday. This is the Gomera Cup which was started
two years ago when the race start proper was delayed - hopefully it won't be
year. Most people are expecting a more "usual" weather pattern this year, and I'm
told by the captain of one of the support yachts that the Azores High is in
place earlier than usual which is apparently good and should help to stabilise
the weather in this part of the Atlantic.
We had the boat all packed up by Saturday
lunchtime, and Neil and Scott from " Ocean Summit " next to us were also ready,
so Amanda from Woodvale organised both our boats to be lifted in together. This
was done by 5pm-ish and so we are now tied up on the pontoon in the marina, again next
to " Ocean Summit ". Then we were invited onto the support yacht "Sara" for
drinks which was great fun, but as they ran out of tonic before the gin, you
can imagine why we are having a lazy day! The marina is absolutely teeming with fish of all
sizes, some really big ones, mostly mullett, but others we don't know what they
We also had the good fortune to meet Guy, the mad
Fin, today whose yacht is moored next door to us. He was larger than life and
was just what I needed in my fragile state, but at least he didn't ask how long
was it going to take or where are we going from!! But when he presented us
with a smelly, Finnish garlic sausage, then stripped off and dived into the
marina, nearly sinking the pontoon, it all became too much, and we resolved to
go for a wander.
We spent a few hours on Wednesday
afternoon in Tenerife drinking a few beers ... it was
hot, very hot. Then we caught the Fred Olsen ferry
to La Gomera... eventually that is, as a certain person
had his watch set an hour ahead of English time but
as the ferry didn't show and we asked the time, it appears
that we are on the same time as English time so we were
an hour early and could have had another beer!
Anyway, La Gomera:- I suppose
I should tell you all how horrible it is here ......
quiet, no bars, no restaurants, no shops, nothing to
do but work, work, work on the boat, and how cold it
is as well ..... problem is, La Gomera is really nice,
if not quiet. The food so far has been superb,
and there are as many restaurants and bars as you can
shake a stick at.
As with all places you visit,
one particular bar becomes your favourite and this applies
to The Blue Marlin, run by a splended chap called Manuel
who keeps announcing that he is 51, and you often find
that if you include him in each round, later on the
rounds get cheaper! Every now and again, he will
start all the hanging things from his ceiling swinging
- a hammock, several pork hams, etc, - nobody knows
why, but it seems to suit the place - you just have
to be here
!We have had 'The Reason Why'
scrutinised by Simon and Tony from Woodvale, and apart
from a missing book and a few minor suggestions, we
are cleared to go!! The part about working on
the boat was true - we were there all day today fetching
150 litres of water from the supermarket and wheeling
it in shopping trollies right through the town. The
locals looked a bit bewildered but virtually all of
the 22 crews are doing it on pretty much a daily basis
so the locals are getting used to it now. The
water has been sealed and stowed in the boat, and we
have been properly packing the mountains of food away
in their proper positions and I can say, amazingly,
it is going to fit.
We should have our tracking beacon
fitted tomorrow and then be put in the water the next
day, if not later tomorrow. (Photos
of this on 'Photos' page of this site.) The weather has been
hot but it does cloud up early and late, and there is
a threat of rain. I'm sitting here typing this
report wearing only a pair of shorts as close to the
wide open window as possible to get a bit of breeze
which is not cold even though it is dark now and approaching
All the other crews seem very
friendly. The South African team are great and
have hardly mentioned anything about the rugby - in
fact, they were very complimentary about England who,
in their words, made The World Cup. There is a
Welsh girl here who plays rugby and apparently Wales
are playing South Africa soon so everyone is planning
to find a bar that will show the match - should be good
fun. Incidentally, the South African boat still
hasn't arrived - for some reason it is stuck in Las
Palmas but due in tomorrow, we think!
Anyway, that's us all caught
up. We will send more news soon to Jen for publishing
on this website. Thanks Jen in advance for keeping
up our excellent website. A big thank you to everyone
for sending their best wishes to us and of course love
to our familes. That's
about it - I can hear the call of the Blue Marlin, and
food besides Pringles seems a good idea. Bye for
STEVE AND PAUL KNOW REASON WHY
Cornishman Newspaper - 22nd November 2007
As usual there are several intrepid Cornish rowers taking on this
challenge and this time I expect the county to split into two, with West
Cornwall supporting Steve Gardner and Paul Harris from Penzance on 'The Reason
Why' and East Cornwall supporting Nick Histon and Jon Csehi from Fowey on
There have been four Atlantic Rows to date in 1997, 2001,
2003 and 2005 and the Cornish have been very well represented in the previous
races. In 1997 I was delighted to follow the exploits of three of the 17
competitors all with family connections here in the West
Country. My good friend, St Mawes-based boatbuilder Jon Leach built the entry
'Golden Fleece' for Daniel Innes and Andrew Whittaker, which completed the
crossing in 61 days. Unfortunately due to injury Andrew had to be replaced at
very short notice by Pete Lowe and it was highly creditable to start let alone
finish as Pete had not trained for 60-odd days at sea! Russell Reid, with
Andrew Watson, rowed across in 64 days on board 'Bitzer'. Fowey boys Louis
Hunkin and Michael Elliott on board 'Cornish Challenger' took 66 days but had
the satisfaction of both building and rowing their own boat. Indeed it
was the exploits of Louis and Michael that persuaded Nick Michael's cousin to
embark on the same mad adventure. Two years ago Chris Barrett and Bob
Warren from St Mawes had a really good stab at the event sadly capsizing 'Spirit
of Cornwall' when almost in sight of Antigua.
Both crews have really
worked hard just to get to the Canaries with the initial challenge being to
raise the finance to purchase the rowing boats, which are supplied in kit
form. The kits, a bit like flat pack furniture, were dispatched by race
organisers Woodvale Events in October last year and the crews worked through the
winter to both launch their completed craft in early spring. Combining
fitness training with boat building is no easy task and although just rowing the
Atlantic is some achievement ever since the first race back in 1997 it has been
treated as a serious race.
In 1997 New Zealanders Rob Hamill and Phil
Stubbs rowed from Tenerife to Barbados in 41 days and set a standard successive
competitors have sought to match if not better. Fellow Kiwis James Fitzgerald
and Kevin Biggar in 2003 finally bettered the time by 24 hours in
The Penzance challenge in this year's event is strong, with both
Steve and Paul being members of Zennor Gig Club and having participated in
several long distance rows in gigs. The 2550 nautical miles is obviously
substantially longer than any previous row attempted but I am confident they
will get to English Harbour. The pair is raising money for Cornwall
Hospice Care and you can follow their progress and donate to the charity on
their web site www.the-reason-why.co.uk
The Fowey duo, Nick and Jon, do
not have the experience of Steve and Paul but do have youth on their side.
Obviously bettering the time set by Mike Elliott and Louis Hunkin of 66 days
will be their first priority but I think there will be a keen battle for
bragging rights between the two crews. Again the pair are using their row
as a focus to raise money for charity with Epilepsy and Cancer the chosen
charities and donations can be made on www.row4cornwall.co.uk
I saw the Row4Cornwall team at the Southampton Boat Show after Nick
and Jon had rowed from Fowey to Southampton as part of their training
Indeed both crews have been rowing along the Cornish coast
over the summer months so you may well have met one or other of the Cornish
Challenges during their preparation for next Sunday. Nothing to date will
prepare them, however, for the daunting task that they will embark upon. The
sore hands, the blisters on bums, the sunstroke and the sheer mental and
physical effort you cannot help but wish both crews success. The human
spirit is a precious and rare commodity, which can, if challenged, overcome all
adversity and hardship. I can think of no bigger challenge than rowing
the Atlantic and I hope our Cornish lads do themselves and us proud.
Well, the latest update is that Paul and Steve
left Cornwall yesterday to spend
11 days in La Gomera doing the compulsory final boat checks which are required
by Woodvale. No doubt they will also
enjoy the beaches, sunshine, swimming pools, together with a few beers now and
then ….. just to be social, of course!
More money was raised last weekend when more
people entered the competition to guess how long the row would take. The winner will receive £50.
If anyone reading this hasn’t had a guess and
would like to, please email your name, telephone
number and 'guess' to:- firstname.lastname@example.org
and make a donation using the secure online payment method, PayPal, which can be found on
the ‘Donations’ page of this website.
Unfortunately we don’t know yet how much money
has been raised for the local charity, Cornwall Hospice Care, (formerly St
Julia’s Hospice and Mount Edgcumbe Hospice) as donations are continuing to be
received but obviously we will let everyone know when we have a definite figure.
Paul and Steve will be sending back regular
reports regarding their progress throughout the row and these will be published
on this website for everyone to read.
the longest day!! .... But then it was over and there
we all were saying our goodbyes on Penzance Railway
Station platform - a very cold and damp place at 10pm
on a November night! .. and then we were gone!! We
drank out-of-date Budweiser and feasted on in-date Pringles
all through the night until we reached Reading after
only a few dozes. Unfortunately Reading was shut,
but the Gatwick Express arrived on time and, although
cold, it got us to Gatwick right on time. After
a full English breakfast at Garfunkels, we were ready
for the flight. Gate 34 to Tenerife to the Thomsonfly
737 and, as I write these notes, we are flying over
the entire south coast directly over Cornwall and our
houses!! Then it was out over Lands End, the Isles
of Scilly, and then south for the Canaries. So,
if you saw a plane flying over Penwith about 10.30am
on Wednesday morning, it was probably us!!
the great success last Friday, our second farewell party
turned out to be a fantastic day in Zennor at The Gurnards
Head, who kindly donated a barrel of bear and roast
potatoes on the bar - a big thank you once again to
The Gurnards. Thanks to all members of Zennor
Gig Club who attended, and to The Walkers and Talkers
Society, and everyone else who was there including Vanessa
who brought the cake, Andy for the udder cream, Anne
and Simon for the letters, Jen for the photo album duly signed
by our fellow gig rowers, and the many other gifts,
cards and free beer that descended upon us so generously
- thanks to all.
mountain bike draw was also done some weeks ago and
the presentation was finally made to Lydia for buying
square number 440. Thanks to everyone who bought
a square and special thanks to Cycle Logic of Helston
who generously donated the mountain bike.
cannot thank all our friends and families enough for
their kind words and support over the past two years
but thank you anyway. Special thanks to our families
who are about to see us go off on our adventure, our
thoughts and love are with you, and don't worry, we
will be back - we don't intend missing out on a truly
memorable and momentous reunion in Antigua!
was it, our last day at work! Our i-pods have
been fully loaded with music and talking books, our
minds are full of secret plans to melt down the rowing
machines upon our return to Cornwall, and it is hard
to believe that this day is actually here! Beer,
pasties and baguettes for lunch then 'farewell and see
you in February'! Once again, our thanks go to
Western Power Distribution and Wombwell Homes, our two
employees, without whom we would never have done this
night, it was the first farewell party at The Bucket
of Blood in Phillack complete with more pasties
courtesy of Western Power Distribution - thanks again.
There was a fantastic turnout from our friends for
which we were very grateful. My weekend was already
brilliant as my eldest daughter Sam and her boyfriend
Alex made a surprise visit and the long journey down
from Edinburgh which meant a lot as I was able to say
farewell to my complete family:- Chris, Rebecca, Oliver
and Sam ....as well as Baggins, the dog!
there we were, driving back from Newark - yes, north
of Nottingham - having dripped off 'The Reason Why'
for shipping to La Gomera from Felixstowe! ... we couldn't
work it out either. But these were the experts
and they'd done it all before. Mind you, after
three hours (the two girls in front of us had to wait
five hours!) of watching people scouring the edges of
the car park to find pieces of old weather-stained wood
(still with the remnants of boat names on them from
the race two years ago), they then proceeded to nail
them together. Surely these weren't the precision-made
purpose-built cradles we had driven so far and paid
so much to make use of?? Anyway, after turning
the girls' boat around, as instructed, then turning
it back again because it was the right way round in
the first place, and watching oversized strops for lifting
the boats being wrapped around each other on an oversized
forklift, then watching the cradle for our boat just
start to be built, I was convinced the security cameras
were in fact filing for 'Beadles About' and Jeremy Beadle
would jump out at any moment, after he'd stretched our
disbelief at the circumstances just too far! But
no, it was all true. And in fairness I can add that
the boat, despite al our fears, arrived safely in La
that was it! The boat was gone and all we had
to do was get home through traffic that was described
as 'Black Friday' and the worst of the year. The
M1, M6, M42, M5 and A30 were all just car parks, and
towing a 30' gig trailer didn't make it any easier either,
but we got home 18 hours after leaving - tired but ok!
Well, as the website now proudly displays
(thanks Jen), only 45 days 10 hours 51 minutes and 2 seconds to
the start of the race on 2nd December.
Things are coming together fairly well and
last night, Paul and I ran through the entire Woodvale checklist and it would
appear we have everything…amazing!
Talk about a mountain of stuff. It will be like trying to get a pint in a
half pint pot, when we pack it all in the boat tonight. As for the food, it looks like we have enough
to feed an army for a year, but having to take a mandatory 90 day supply has
inflated the food to a veritable mountain of black bin liners full of daily
ration packs made up of muesli, pasta, rice, noodles, go bars, chilli con carne
or spaghetti bolognaise, crisps, peanuts and the inevitable pot noodle, the
first item on the menu of international cuisine! It’ll be pot luck what ration bag we pick and
one day’s delight of chicken curry and chocolate chip mousse may well be
countered by the next day’s wolf fish and a bag of raisins! (What the hell is wolf fish anyway?)
out daily food rations.
photo before being towed to Newark.
The last items on the equipment list were the
Satellite phone sim card and the massive first aid kit (there’s stuff in there
Doc Martin would have to look up what they were for!) These we now have purchased thanks to the
ladies darts team from The Globe Inn, Lostwithiel, who did a 24 hour darts
marathon and raised a fantastic £1,500 for us and Cornwall Hospice Care. Thanks to Will in The Globe and Georgina, Michele, Tina, Angela, Marion, Jeannie, Maisey and especially
Karen for organising it all, it was a great success.
The Reason Why joined the three Cornish pilot
gigs from Zennor Gig Club (Penzance) to take part in September’s Zennor carnival. It has to be said that having a route of only
1½ miles means that you go the speed
of the walking entrants and this year a police presence (for traffic
management) calmly said no-one could walk the route and all the floats had to
follow him in his squad car. He then
proceeded to go at 50mph from the Gurnards Head to the Tinners Arms, and thus
the procession lasted a grand total of almost 5 minutes! ... and that was
because I stopped and held everybody else up behind me. Still, it got us to the bar earlier than
We’ve been out rowing in The Reason Why again
for a night row from Penzance to Mountamopus Buoy off Cudden Point and back,
about 8–9 miles, just a little loosener.
One thing I should add is that the board we
have been selling 1,000 squares on for the mountain bike, kindly donated by
Cycle Logic from Helston, has now been drawn.
The winning number was 440, and the winner is Lydia Dean-Barrows from St
Ives. Paul and I will be presenting the
bicycle to Lydia very soon.
Well there you have it, the early morning
rowing machine and running the cliff path in the dark stage is nearly over and,
together with the endless fundraising and begging letters, we are nearly
there. On Friday 19th
October, Paul and I deliver The Reason Why, fully packed and ready to go, to
the freight company in Nottingham (Newark) for shipping to La Gomera. Soon after, on 20th November, it
will be Paul and I that ship ourselves on trains, planes, cars and ferries (one
better than Steve Martin!) on one-way tickets to rejoin the fruit of our
labours and trusty wooden steed “The Reason Why” in the Canaries.
A big thank you to everyone who has helped,
donated, and supported us, which has enabled us to get where we are now …. so
very close now to that elusive start line.
A massive thank you to Simon at Hotdog for all the vinyl’s, stickers,
T-shirts etc – I promise that’s the lot now….well…probably…?!
Look at that, writing this with a thousand
interruptions, the clock says 45 days, 8 hours 58 minutes and 42 seconds to
go. Doesn’t time just fly?
been out in the boat a few more times now but there
always seems to be a strong headwind and the coastline
around here doesn't take prisoners. If not the
wind, then the tide is rarely right to launch after
work, and it seems even more rarely at weekends. We
did manage a trip from Penzance towards Lamorna past
Mousehole but again, all too soon, a strong headwind
appeared and made progress difficult. We tried
rowing 'one hour on and one hour off' for a while but as the
wind increased against us, we thought it a good idea
to test the sea anchor again. Strange to say that
not only did it hold our position but it caught the
outgoing tide and current, and actually pulled us out
against the wind we had struggled to row into! This
is an important point to remember, I think, when expending
energy is less efficient than deploying the sea anchor
and still make progress.
had a trip across the notorious Hayle Bar to St Ives.
This went well and the wind was kind to us for
a change. The strangest thing was the hot air
balloon that appeared very low over St Ives and slowly
rose away over the Hayle Estuary. Mental note:
must put more weight/ballast in boat - still sitting
a biy high and light.
Had a great weekend
just past, with a fundraising barbecue at The Gurnards
Head Hotel, Zennor. A big thank you to everyone
who supported us and to Charles for making it possible,
and for providing the beer and food which enabled us
to raise over £600. Thanks also to Andy and all
the staff, and a special thanks to Roger Warren and
Chunky and everyone else for their donations. For
the record, there is no truth in the rumour that one
potential ocean rower tried his hardest, but failed
miserably, to drink dry the barrel of Betty Stoggs bitter!!
saw us at the Newlyn Fish Festival and, after the head
finally cleared, we had a great day raising another
£300+. There was a lot of interest in the boat,
and we just wished we'd had a tape recorder to answer
quite a lot of the same questions, such as:-
long will it take?
are you going?
are you going in the winter?
you rowing back?
size are the engines? (Yes, seriously!!)
The answer to the
last is possibly still in the balance!
to, and accommodation in, La Gomera are all booked.
It is very strange booking one way tickets; it
really begins to hit home that this is not something
we are helping with and will be able to sit back and
watch ......this is for us, exciting edge of the
seat stuff. There must be easier ways to
get a holiday in Antigua!!
I sit here typing this, it's just 93 days until the
race starts ......wow!
2007 - 48 Hour Row (by
Sorry for delay in keeping up to
date, but you haven’t missed anything. It’s all about the trouble with oars:-
their size, are they the right ones and if they are, why don’t they fit the
rowing gates?? Anyway, all ok now. (If a certain James Cracknell says they’re
ok, then they’re ok with us!)
12.00 Friday 27th July
Departed Mylor slipway for Woodvale mandatory 48 hour row. Half an hour in,
first encounter with two enormous ships exiting Falmouth Harbour, but the pilot
was very precise in his instructions, it was ”get out the ……. way,” or
something like, we understood him anyway, and removed
We visited St.Anthony’s lighthouse
and across the bay to the Helford river, and set off for a night row - 14.7
miles to Dodman point. This started fine but by 2245hrs-ish the wind started to
pick up from the south-west, and we decided to turn back for the Helford. We had
done 7.5 miles, but the 7.5 miles back took 4.5 hours into the wind, and was
hard work. Not to mention our 2nd and 3rd encounters with
supertankers, but let me tell you at night they are infinitely more scary! We
managed to avoid them though. You can’t imagine how busy the mouth to Carrick
Roads is, and we were glad to get across even if it did seem to take forever.
As we slowly drew into the Helford, by now it was 0330hrs and we found a few hours
sleep fairly easy!
Saturday 28th July
Breakfasted and refreshed, we set off to The Manacles, actually Porthoustock Cove,
for the local gig racing event which we watched part of before rowing back
to Falmouth ahead of the predicted heavy rain. Blackrock Buoy seemed an awful
long way, and the sea was getting up and we were soaked through to the skin way
before we got there. At one point we were going 2.6 knots in the wind without
rowing! We realise just what a difference having a friendly wind can make. It
was horrible as we tried to put on dry clothes and cook a meal in the relative
shelter of the Truro river. But even here, the wind through the night gusted
Sunday 29th July
dawned raining but cleared up nicely as we rowed back up Carrick Roads, round
and about, just right for 1200hrs and timed it about as wrong as you can get in
Mylor, as there was no water to recover The Reason Why. That and there was that
bloody blue Devoran gig blocking up the slipway as well!! Joking aside, thanks to Devoran Gig
Club for giving us a lift recovering the boat, and to Nicky for gratuitously
splashing water in my face when at my most vulnerable, but then, could I expect
But still, we had been out for 48
hours, found out about oars, electrics, cooking, night rowing, headwinds etc and
apart from a rain drip through a couple of bolts, it was all good, and we had
rowed about 42 miles.
Getting near the sharp end now as
the boat is
due to be shipped to La Gomera in two months or so. Lets hope La Gomera and The
Canaries in general have stopped burning by then - for all the people living
there, not just The Atlantic Rowing Race.
We’ll keep you posted with whatever
happens between now and then.
The Reason Why, complete
with sponsors' logos and new trailer, was
on display at the local gig racing event
held today at Gyllingvase Beach in Falmouth.
There was a lot of interest in the
boat and this was an ideal location to raise
the profile of our Atlantic row as well
as raising some funds for the outstanding
equipment that we still require before we
start out on our epic journey in six months
More photos are available
on the 'Photos' page.
Although no photos have
been put on here lately, it doesn't mean
we've given up!!
Work has been continuing
on the electrics, aerials, etc which has
been fiddly and time consuming. However,
we can now add a photo showing the aerials
in place and the electrics box inside the
The Reason Why was taken
up to The Tinners Arms on Easter Monday
where funds were raised from selling t-shirts, polo
shirts, 'Squares On Board' to win a mountain
bike (kindly donated by Cycle Logic of Helston)
and 'Guess The Time' it will take us to
row across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as
Since the launch
day, we have been fitting more equipment.
Photos from the right and working
clockwise show:- solar panels fitted
to roof and side, batteries installed in
cabin, water maker in deck cupboard, cooker
attached next to hatch, and mattress in
The red and black covers have
now been added which give access
to the storage areas below the
deck. The deck itself
has been painted with non-skid
paint. Work continues
on the rudder and the foot rests.
The cabin has had a 'world'
sticker placed on the side, and the hatch
has been installed in the cabin roof. Lots
of small jobs continue to be completed each
week which are too numerous to mention.
Photos to the left show
what the seating positions look like from
either end of the boat. Photos to
the right show the sleeping area - it looks
quite spacious in the first photo, but add
a couple of rowers and it soon becomes very
One of us got a bit carried
away with some yellow paint - the boat looked
awful! So, over the last ten days,
we have been experimenting with new
colours schemes and all but reinstating
the paintwork of nearly two weeks ago!
The name has been painted on, the
runners have been fixed to the deck, and
some of the hatches have now been installed.
The first photo of 2007
and during the Christmas holidays, the bottom of the boat had its
first coat of black paint, and the sides
have been painted blue. Contrary to
the beliefs of 'The Devoran 4', this
shade of blue is called 'Zennor Blue'
and definitely not 'Devoran Blue'!
No doubt comments will be posted on
the guestbook drekkly! Ha ha.
The last day of 2006 and
so far 'The Reason Why' has had two
coats of undercoat, some of the hatches
in the rear cabin have been installed, and
the water line marked on in pencil.
16th December 2006
The resin-ing has been completed and
the whole boat is currently undergoing wet
and dry sanding in preparation for the first
coat of paint which is scheduled to be done