Merry Christmas folks!
December 25th and we are well into our sixth day at sea! Last night was hard for everyone - we have been rowing in pairs two hours on two hours off for the last five days and with big waves crashing into the sides of the boat we have all been struggling to sleep properly in our time off. Thus it is not unusual that heads have been nodding whilst on the oars and it is usually blades clashing that wakes us up again!
We had been using the tiller-pilot for the first few days (an automatic steering mechanism that talks to the GPS on board and alters our heading). Although it seemed to work quite well at the start, we found that this wasn’t able to cope with the large changes in direction we would sometimes get if hit by a wave and as well as steering us off course was sometimes leaving us beam on to the next 5m wave - which leaves us in a vulnerable position to capsize!
So the decision was taken at 6am in the dark with a head torch to change the aft most footplate to a manual steering one, which now changes the tiller with movement of the rower’s foot. A rocky boat, sleep deprivation and waves washing over the deck made this a job a little trickier than expected! This system seems to be working but is now putting new strains through our hips and knees Ho hum…
Today however has been a good day! We took a couple of hours out as a crew (the first time we’ve broken routine since we started) and tried to celebrate Christmas in our own little way - Santa hats, Wham on the stereo and opening cards and small gifts from loved ones at home. We also got to speak to our families and girlfriends which has lifted all of our spirits! We also realised that we have rowed over 300 nautical miles, passing a small milestone in the scheme of things but a start nonetheless. Now onto the next!