Archive for January, 2010

Weekly Overview Update from Atlantic5000

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Unfortunately the satelite email system on the boat isn’t working too well due to a massive low pressure system about 600 NM north of the Sara G. Therefore there was no update today. Phone contact was made with the boat and all are well. The downside to the low pressure system is that they have had to drop the sea anchor and they are moving north rather than west, although they aren’t going that fast. This was expected but is a dissapointment to the crew as they were on target and hoped to break a 40 day crossing earlier in the week. It is expected that the sea anchor could be down until Tuesday. …. Further Updates to follow…

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Progress has come to a halt, the southerly winds we were being promised for Friday have kicked in and we are now on sea anchor.  I suppose it had to happen at some stage but it looks like we could be on it for the next 4 days!  The funny thing is the weather is actually not too bad the […]

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The wind that has been pushing us along and churning up the Ocean finally died off last night, just as predicted by Stokey(our weather man back in the UK). So we are now plodding along in a light breeze heading south to dodge a weather system which is due to blow 20-30knts from the south at 0100am on Friday morning. If we don’t manage to get below 21degress by then it could mean a day on sea anchor, which would not be a disaster but would most likely remove any chance of a sub 40 day crossing. So fingers crossed we get low enough then we should pick up the trade winds and we are westward bound!
We are also fully back into routine by now and those of you following the updates will know that I am now on lunch. I get back to oars at 1500 until 1700 and then it is dinner time. Depending on how hungry I am I sometimes eat a full meal other evenings I just have a snack. Once I have eaten I fill in my diaries, one is a personal account of what I get up to during the day and what has happened on board, the second is a special account of the trip for my sort psychologist, Aine McNamara. She has asked me to record specific information each day and she hopes to analyze the data when I get back to see just how mental I am !!
Once the diaries are done it is time to chill out and get my kit ready for the night shifts, I try not to sleep during this rest period as if I do it normally means I can’t sleep when I come off the oars at 2100.
More on how we are getting on with the pending weather system and on life on board tomorrow.

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We are now just getting back into proper routine, we have spent most of the past 24 hours not rowing as conditions were poor, we still made good mileage though with a tail wind. We have been keeping to our 2 hour shifts as it is important to stay in routine and it also means if the wind dies off we can get on with the rowing and more importantly we can keep watch for ships at night.

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Just as we were settling into our routine again a couple of more problems have popped up, superstitious or not day 13 has not been very lucky on board Sara G.

At a couple of minutes before 3am this morning Mylene was knocked out of her seat by a wave, she dropped her oar and as she tried to recover it the blade swung towards the front of the boat, as the water caught the oar it bent the steel rigger on the boat and snapped the oar lock clean off the boat, the oar is now floating somewhere in the Atlantic.
Just as we were settling into our routine again a couple of more problems have popped up, superstitious or not day 13 has not been very lucky on board Sara G.

At a couple of minutes before 3am this morning Mylene was knocked out of her seat by a wave, she dropped her oar and as she tried to recover it the blade swung towards the front of the boat, as the water caught the oar it bent the steel rigger on the boat and snapped the oar lock clean off the boat, the oar is now floating somewhere in the Atlantic……

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So now that you know my shift pattern I thought I would fill in some of the blanks and take you through what I do when not rowing. My first off shift for the day starts at 0900 and this is usually when I have breakfast. This is normally either porridge or custard and berries, 2 of the only things worth eating in the morning. Once I have cooked and eaten that it is into the cabin for a good stretch session and a massage with my trusty trigger point massage ball, great for the places you can’t reach yourself. This takes about 20 minutes and is well worth doing as I feel like a new person after it.

Then it is on to a good baby wipe bath, it is essential to have good personal hygiene, especially living in such close quarters. Once I am all clean it is time to apply new Sudocream and Bodyglide and then I am almost ready to hit the oars again.

A good coverage of sun cream is just smart and then if I have time a quick cat nap or a puzzle.

Then back on the oars at 1100 for another 2 hour stint.

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The honey moon is now over and it is time to get the heads down to bang out some miles. This was always going to be the toughest phase of the trip mentally as each day is like the last and we are a mere spec in this vast blue rolling square of ocean. Each day the horizon to the front, back, left and right all seem to be in the same place so it appears that we are rowing to stand still, the only reference we have to tell us we are moving is our GPS plotter. Thankfully we do always appear to be rowing downhill with a gentle Atlantic swell nudging us along our way.

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We thought we would put together a copy of a spreadsheet of Mike’s Progress across the Atlantic.

It’s appears to have been a super week, with only one day of rough weather which prevented them from rowing for a few hours. Despite everything, The Sara G is making good progress and is about to start moving at an even faster pace across the Atlantic.

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It has been an interesting 24 hours mainly due to the weather.

As I mentioned yesterday we were experiencing some strong winds and big swell, almost immediately after I finished yesterdays update the decision was made to stop rowing as to continue would have been unnecessarily dangerous. The swell reached about 6m at times and with oars catching in the water and the boat beginning to surf there was real potential for somebody to damage a thumb or get an oar in the ribs.

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Look like we have picked up the beginning of the trade winds jut as predicted and we are rowing downhill in 3-4m swell making about over 4mph which will put us up for a 90+ mile day! It was a pretty cold night and we were getting splashed by the waves as we rowed so it was not much fun but with a little bit of adrenaline in the system the time flies by.

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Just a quick note as I am being bounced around the cabin. We finally got some wind to help us along today, only problem is is that is not directly behind us and the boat is getting tossed about a little so tricky to row and not very comfortable to sit around, hopefully it swings around behind us tonight and then it will make for a smoother ride.

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I can’t believe we are at sea week today it has gone by so quickly and the first few days are all a bit of a blur. Now that we have settled into routine I thought I would give you an idea of what life is like on board. Each day we row for 12 hours each are consuming in the region of 6,000 calories a day. To fuel our bodies we need to eat lots of high calorie food, this comes in the form of mainly dehydrated food sachets.

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Another sunny one today but we have a slight head wind so the going is slow. Everybody is really in the zone at the moment and we are looking forward to making good time as soon as the wind swings around again. I was due to talk about our diet today but just as I began to write we had some excitement on board as the bracket for our wind generator became loose. Minor problem and all sorted now, good thing it happened in relatively calm sea and daylight. That’s Ocean rowing for you, never a dull moment!

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The days are flying by and we have all settled into routine at this stage. Today was a super day, sun was shining and the wind was behind us as we cruised past the Canary Islands. Although I had a pretty crappy night’s sleep and I am without my music as my Mp3 player is dead today has been super. I spoke to Andree on the phone and my Mam and it was great to be able to make contact with them both and fill them in on our progress and get the news from home.

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All good today the wind finally came around to the north and is now pushing us along nicely, yesterday we made 74 miles and making better time today so we expect to make 80+ today.

Can’t write much more no sun and light wind means our batteries are vey low.

I will update in more detail in a couple of days when the sun comes out.

Point to point distance travelled by 6.30pm on day 4 = 127km / 69nm

Lazarote in sight!

Mike

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Wow the past 2 days have gone by in a flash, I can’t believe we have been at sea for over 48 hours and I have rowed for over 24 of those.

We were repaid big time by the weather after 2 false starts in horrible winds we got away at 0700 on Tuesday morning, the sun was just up the sea was flat and the winds were light, pretty much the perfect start.

After a bit of slalom through a busy fishing fleet we were 8 miles offshore within 2 hours and since then we have been making good time.
Speed has dropped to about 2 knots as we are heading south west with a westerly swell and breeze hitting us on the starboard side.

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Point to point distance travelled on day 2 = 87km or 47nm

Distance from starting point = 141km or 76nm

Distance from finish point = 5315km or 2870 nm

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Report from the boat:

The Sara G left Agadir at 7am this morning and travelled well throughout the day with very little wind at a speed of 3 -4 knots making good progress.

Mike will follow up with more info when he gets a chance.

Point to point distance travelled = 58km or 31nm (10 hours at sea)

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It has been a frustrating few days for the crew in Morocco, our big send off on Thursday turned out to be premature. After less than a mile it was quickly apparent that the forecast did not match up with the conditions and making noprogress we took the decision to return to the marina.

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The past few days have been good fun getting to know the crew a little better.  The boat has been ready for a couple of days now and everybody is starting to get bored of waiting around, good news is that the waiting is nearly over.  We have a confirmed departure time for 1000 7th Jan, that’s tomorrow!! Hopefully we […]

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