From Skipper Guin
It is some days now since the storm force winds, and as quickly as the weather system came we had to move on and take instant advantage of the westerly winds. We had 4 days of great progress locking in a new noon to noon PB of 90 NM in 24 hrs.
There was no time to dry out the cabins we just needed to get on the oars and row every second of every day. The regular 2 hours on 2 hours off shift pattern wasn’t even enough and as a crew we agreed to pull out all the stops and go to manning (or should we say womaning) all three rowing stations. We have called it ‘the train’ and at most we can keep it up for 8 hours. The ratio of rowing to rest for the bow cabin three is very hard, as they do roughly 2:30 hr rowing to 1:45 hr rest. In the stern Molly and I row 2 hr up then 15min hand steering to allow the auto helm to cool before a 1:45 hr rest. Nurturing the incredible auto helms are super critical to speed – without them we lose a person to helming. We have three auto helms of which A (aka Annabel) and C (aka Charlotte) are in current use, we are saving one for the final approach to the UK.
In this leg I can reflect how amazing the human body is in pushing out work.
In the space of 36 hrs we ran ‘the train’ three times and each time people came close to the edge of being able to go no further and each time the body recovered just enough to keep going. The emotional cost is high and often there was no chatter on the oars for hours at a time, just the splash of the catch and the squeak of the wheels.
Physically you could see the deterioration of the crew; the slowness of movement across the deck, every cut, rub or blister being infected as the immune system drops. In addition the hips, knees and back niggles becoming harder to ignore. Above all this is the insatiable desire to get to Falmouth as quickly as possible, all the time knowing that the Ocean calls the shots; dictating when we have favourable winds and can row or when we need to be confined to Para Anchor and resting as much as we can. We live to the rhythm of the Ocean.
We are still not putting hard numbers on our arrival as so much can change, but if you are of the betting type crunch the numbers down using the data from HQ which will make the end of July. I am sorry the amazing Inmarsat tracker isn’t live any more, sadly we have failed to do an onboard fix from damage it received during the storm. But we are still trying and so fingers crossed the little pink dot might come back.
Skipper Guin and the crew of Liberty.