Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | December 19, 2011

Day 15: Still waiting for “wind down”

The weather forecasts from Chris and the race organisers have been v. accurate so far (although much more detailed from Chris 😉 ) and so we are very confident that tomorrow will be noticeably calmer. So today’s thoroughly confused seas haven’t bothered us as much as similar days have before, though we really do need better weather to wash stuff (including ourselves) and sort out the cooker and igniters. But we gather that compared with other crews the equipment niggles we’ve been having are minor (we DO have a 2nd cooker, but I was just hoping not to have to start using it yet!)

A few days ago R’s sister Elizabeth kindly messaged saying that she doesn’t know how we cope as it sounds horrible. Apologies for painting a somewhat un-rosy picture of ocean rowing – but the weather has been pretty grim, and we’re sure that the more fab moments of ocean rowing are yet to come. Anyway, without wanting to sound sanctimonious, during these grim bits, one of the things that we’ve been thinking of is Huntington’s Disease sufferers (this is H’s charity), of whom there is one in the Thames skiffing community to which she belongs. Our harsh time is something we signed up to and more to the point has a clear end point that’s not too far away – with a fantastic feeling at the end of it if we can get there. We just have to endure things 2-3 months. However, we’ve watched this lady deteriorate physically for nearly 20 years, whilst we believe her mind, like all sufferers, is still razor-sharp. So that firmly puts rough weather in perspective.

Many thanks to the W’s for their generous donation, we and our charities really appreciate it.

Also thanks to Cath for her fab jokes, and Clint and Mel for their obscure facts. Am with you on the rest, Clint.

And 2 pieces of excellent news – first that Rob A has got a new job! And second that Tommy Tippetts apparently plans to restart in January, which is truly excellent and it doesn’t surprise us at all that he’s not abandoning completely.

Also liked your joke Rob, Laura and Tim – so good that we have to share – what did Capt Jack Sparrow make his casseroles in? Pyrex of the Caribbean!

Rog – absolutely, and that’s what we’re doing – hence drogue out every night so far. On the first night as it got rough and R was rowing, I opened the hatch and said “Don’t be like Rog on the Indian”… you are with us all the way.

Have been listening to Harry Potter Book 1 today. Should make a start on the Christmas playlists soon! How’s everyone’s shopping going? Jack – there’s a fake Christmas tree and decorations in the loft if you want!

H’s appetite better, especially for mini-Cheddars. Shame we packed so many peanuts – we have both decided that whilst these are usually great as long distance rowing snacks, we’re too salted out here to appreciate them.

(Land ed) – Photo below is of Helena in the stroke seat whilst sea trialling. ‘Will’ the water maker is under the cushion by her right foot and ‘the kitchen’ to her left. Don’t ask what the grey bucket is for!!


  1. loved your tale of tea making, never again will I complain when Mike takes ages to make me a cup. The seas sound epic and hope you have flat seas soon. I shall raise a glass or three for you both at xmas and hope you get to wash before then Teresaxxx

  2. What’s the gray bucket for? Sorry. Someone had to ask!

    • Let’s just say it is not the bidet!

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