Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | November 28, 2011

Day 8 – and we’ve finally gone rowing!

As you will have gathered from the previous message you got from this blog, Ed the expert in sat phone comms, was here this morning and checked over our whole setup for uploading blogs. It was most reassuring both to have him say that we looked pretty well set up, and also to have him do a few tiny tweaks. A few crews here were still in the process of buying packages of minutes, and we were relieved that we’d tested it all before the boat left the UK.

The whole technology arrangement for uploading blogs starts with a “Toughbook” laptop (which various other crews have admired greatly, not having realised what our Land Team Member Chris Martin told us which is that although these ruggedized latops cost £3,000 new, you can buy 2nd hand reconditioned ones on ebay for a little over £300…), which is then connected by a serial cable (remember them!) to an attachment that plugs onto the bottom of our satellite phone, and the satphone is connected to an external antenna plate stuck to the outside of the cabin roof.

So you’ll see why, if the weather is rough, we may not write our own blogs but will ring some updates through to Land Team Members Eric and Lisa, who will then write them into a blog posting – but to do that we only need to get the phone out and connect it to the antenna!

Anyway, after all of this techy stuff, we set off to do some rowing, initially with Eric standing on the harbour wall to get some shots from outside the boat. Eager to get as close up as possible, he clambered down onto the rocks outside the harbour wall, and next time we rowed past, we spotted him climbing out of the water back onto one of those slippery rocks… Unfortunately, although our camera is waterproof (and proven so, having sunk on Lake Geneva), his isn’t, and is now rather an ex-camera which has ceased to be. It has snapped its last. The jury is still out on his phone…

We then got him on board (from a landing stage) all set off for a row down the coast against the wind, making less than 2kts with H and R rowing, and over 2kts once H swapped with Eric. Lisa – you don’t really need him back for the next 3 months, do you? We set the watermaker running, and then did a practice deployment of the para anchor, and extended the most important ocean rowing mantra – “panic SLOWLY” – “deploy slowly”. Otherwise, it’s very easy to attach the wrong bits to each other.

By the time we’d done all of this, we’d more or less blown back to the harbour, so there was just time for a few publicity shots with the unusual-looking Mount Teide of Tenerife in the background (which strongly resembles Mount Fuji), before heading back in, whereupon we found that most other crews were on the water – the preparations are really hotting up! Unfortunately this means we’re now rafted up with another boat which makes getting in and out a little annoying for us and we put dirty foot prints on their boat which is annoying for them – but the marina’s pretty full, and we won’t be here for all that much longer… erk.



  1. Oh, how I remember that view! Tom

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