The weekend was pretty stress free, I continued to coach Clément on his technique which as come on in leaps and bounds since he first started. On the Saturday evening we spent time each watch gazing at the stars and discussing all the travelling he has done over the last 5 years. He is a truly inspirational young Frenchman with strong values and determination to help others explore. His passion is what led him to develop and launch www.travelmap.net. He developed this about 4 years ago when he decided to cycle around Australia and freecamp. He wanted a way to track his progress and blog at the same time. We owe him a lot for this crossing as it is what you at home are using to track our boat progress.
On Sunday I took the time to call home using the Iridium Go satellite phone supplied by one of our sponsors Range Global (www.rangeglobal.net). It was really lovely to speak to mum and family on Mother's Day and check she received her card and flowers. Meanwhile little did we know that ROSE was feeling left out and started attention seeking. The Auto helm which keeps the boat steering the correct course started to intermittently fail. We changed it to a spare arm that we had and everything was fine.
I had previously posted about the jelly fish we keep seeing and always missed getting a photo until I looked at the end of my starboard oar and noticed I had managed to accidentally scoop one out of the ocean. Every day is a school day so hopefully you can tell us a little more about this type of jellyfish?
On Monday the raymarine tech support team were called to assist with the auto helm X5 system, the replacement arm was now failing by going to full extension and locking out. This was a major concern because manual helming could have added a potential of 15 days to the trip.
At watch change Niall stumbled and as he grabbed the Jack stay to regain his balance he threw his water bottle overboard but Clément manage to save it, what a hero!!
Time during the off watches is always precious and most crew try to focus on sleep as a priority so Niall experimented making food with cold water to save time boiling water in the jet Boil and to get more sleep. Overall he is happy with the results and now saving an extra 10mins each watch.
I took the alternative approach and felt that my body was not using all its muscles rowing and I was losing overall conditioning. So I contacted the coaches at the pulse 8 gym team who initially thought I was mental. Their advice rightly so was focus on your current challenge and we can work to rebuild the rest when you return, however they did also send back some suggestions so I have now worked the following( subject to sea state conditions) into my watches reducing my sleep by a further 15mins per watch.
- Ab cycles ( 30 crunches, 30 left and right side crunches, 1min of lower abs flutter kicks)
- 30 press ups & 30 Incline press ups
- 3 x 2mins of up and down plank (Side plank not possible with the boat rock)
- 30 Single leg glute bridge & 30 Squats to tiptoes
- Russian twist (not possible with the boat rock)
- Two days rest.
Tuesday was watch change so I said adieu to Clément and hello to Niall who was rejoining my watch. There are generally a few hours of teething issues when you change the teams around and on this occasion it was no different, we had an issue caused by my foot plate being dislodged each time Niall pushed back with his legs as part of the stroke. It was being caused by the inflatable pillow he is having to sit on to ease the pain he is suffering from in his bum (Ps that is not me ). One proposed solution was to move me back to rowing seat 3, but in doing this I managed to drop Ollie my Starboard oar overboard (luckily they float). There was an all hands to deck call and we executed our man overboard drill with a successful recovery of the oar in 16knts of head wind and strong swell.
To finish off the evening we had an epic Lightning and Thunder storm that was following us west. We managed to stay just on the edge of it until it cleared.
Still concerned that we now only had one functioning auto helm we arrange for some support posts to go out on various Facebook pages including the association of ocean rowers. The responses have been overwhelming so thank you to all who responded especially Simon Chalk a very experienced ocean rower.
During Wednesday the conditions for rowing were slow so we spent the day trying to diagnose the faults with the other auto helm parts. We did however achieve a milestone for the trip in getting to the halfway mark. This was not really celebrated due to the concerns with the auto helm.
We were right to be concerned as on the Wednesday evening the remaining auto helm failed again and this time we could not get it working again. We decided to set the boat to a course, lock the rudder off and all get some sleep.
10am on Thursday we all rose and felt very deflated but we knew we had to continue problem solving so we set the boat up so that Clément could helm manually and keep the boat on course, I then rowed whilst Ralph and Niall started to dismantle all 3 auto helms to see if we could find the faults. We got an extreme stroke of luck when we noticed the wires on the motor for the last auto helm had burnt through. I carried out a minor electrical repair and we were back in business. Despite all these issues we still managed to achieve a average distance of 66nm per day which is really good.
So Friday is here, spirits have been through the highs, lows and back to highs again. The Tuck shop is now open and we are all focused on making the boat go faster.
At the moment our stats are:
- Slowest speed - 0.8knts
- Fastest speed - 9.5knts
- Average speed - 3.0 to 4.5knts
- Biggest wave - 10m
- Strongest current - 3.5knts
- Strongest wind 30knts
- Our best boat speed is generally between 23:00 - 04:00
Once again thank you for all your support and we look forward to seeing you when we get home.
Please remember whilst I am taking the time to update you on our Adventure there are others that need our support. Please can you find the time to spread the word and show your support by making a donation to one of the charities I have chosen to support.
Also please can you follow me on twitter @Cblears so you can stay updated with this and future challenges.
From Colin's blog