Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | December 3, 2011

Last blog from Land!

Well, here in La Gomera a Festival of Wine is happening in the town square just below our balcony, some african drummers are continuing to give an energetic concert, which they’ve been doing in the nearby park del Torre del Conde all afternoon, and it’s pretty jolly windy!

Today’s been a day of last minute tweaks and checks – we went out of the marina, just into the harbour, to test the watermaker for 10 mins (the thing is GUSHING water – in a good way – and so it has been named Will the Watermaker – yes, that means you, Todd). It was jolly windy, with katabatic winds coming down from the very steep rocky mountains that rise up from straight behind the town on this volcanic island – Helena was full time coxing because it was so challenging near the land, ferries, bouys and, amazingly, a bloke swimming in the bay – and Richard felt he had to row at “quality firm pressure” to make progress back into the shelter of the harbour.

After that there was a mass photocall at the beach round the corner with the support yacht perilously close to the shore ensuring that she was in the background. Legendary ocean rower Roz Savage (, whom R knew at university, and has just rowed her 3rd ocean (Atlantic, Pacifc in 3 stages and Indian) is in town and came and joined us on the boat for a while – and lent us a dry bag!

And this evening we’ve eaten lots of pasta with a bland sauce, made some plain cheese sandwiches for the next day or so – we’re not expecting to be boiling water in these conditions!

Apologies to anyone who felt left out of thanks for good wishes yesterday – we can’t get online in our appartment so had written the blog there before going to the wifi access point – whereupon we found millings of messages from you all on facebook, by the land team email, and by phone – thank you all so much! At this stage in the proceedings we can’t reply to any of them, really, but we REALLY do appreciate your interest.

One small point – if you’re sending us a text message via the Iridium site (the only way to do so) – as described on the Contact page of, you DO NOT need to put your email address in (and it eats up your quota of 160 characters anyway).

The race start is 12.30pm tomorrow. Next message, from the ocean, we hope!


  1. Go for it. It will be a great experience. Very best of luck. tom

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