Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | February 3, 2012

Day 61: A bit of inspiration

First of all, apologies for the mess up with yesterday’s blog. We ALWAYS make time to write them, but sometimes technology gremlins get to the send. Land Team Lisa alerted this to me this morning, and I resent it, but didn’t know it had got through. Then, an hour or so ago, I got a message from Land Team Chris saying it hadn’t come through, and so sent it again – but then subsequently realised that Chris had sent the text this morning and it had taken Iridium this long to deliver it (this happens, though not normally this badly). And if the laptop battery is not up to writing one, we will phone one through… it’s the least such wonderful and faithful supporters deserve!

Talking of which, from time to time we have had a “star message of the day”, on the firm understanding that all the others are pretty darn good too. To give you some context, it comes from a young man of about 14 (I think) whose family we have met through friends in Guildford, and his family. Sadly, his dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease in the last couple of years, however our young friend Robert and his younger brother have become dedicated fundraisers, most recently raising nearly £600 with a sponsored swim for a HD research unit, but they’d previously done things like a table top sale in their street (I think). He and his family happened to be on holiday in the Lake District with our mutual friends 18 months ago when we did our trial 24 hour row on Coniston in the Beech Boys boat. He came down, in the pouring rain, to help us get her off the water, and was fascinated by how the boat worked, and asked most intelligent questions. A young man with social skills beyond his years (then aged only about 12). Anyway, this is his wonderful star message of the day:

Pray the money (not the water) will pour in even more with each stroke U take! Keep on eating the jelly babies! Love from Robert, Jeremy, Daphne and Peter
There, isn’t that brill?!

It has been truly sweltering here today – which is ironic as we gather you lot are freezing! If there is enough snow on Sunday and your inner child wants to go out and play, how about you try to make an ocean snowing boat instead of a boring old snowman? Any photos, please send to land team!

We are totally amazed that Rachel and Ella met Andrew Brown of JJ (2nd in race and new world record holder for fastest solo crossing) in a toy shop in Kingston and talked about us! WE knew he worked for a toy company, so perhaps that bit isn’t surprising, but can’t work out what 2 16-year old young ladies were doing in a toy shop on a day they have double rowing training as well as school!

Dan – apologies for maligning your blog reading, but I know that electronic devices are not always your best friends, and as we’d asked in the blog how the car tax was going a few times, and not heard back, concluded that perhaps you weren’t getting the messages! Hope you’ve coped with half of our friends and family now ringing you up about this!

Also, as mentioned above, the sat phone messaging service does not always deliver messages in the order in which they were sent, so it’s been a fun puzzle putting together the lengthy narratives you’ve sent us today, but we think we’ve sorted out the minster, chopping board used by a busker on the tube, Sabrina strutting her stuff on the Embankment, and golf buggies, into the correct order.

We LOVE your idea of rowing from John O Groats to Lands End county by county, but you must keep us up to date – I mean, how depressing would it be to think you were in Caithness when you were really in Kirkcudbrightshire or something?

There has been ABSOLUTELY no wildlife today. Not a storm petrel sausage. Supporter and 2-time Atlantic rower Roger Gould tells us that frigatebirds can survive up to a week at sea… well, I think they have done their week, and gone back to land for the weekend. Maybe the whales have headed down to the southern ocean to cool off, and the dolphins and pretty stripey fish we keep hoping to see have headed to Florida to get some attention in an aquarium? Leaving us, plodding on with nowt to see apart from sea and sky. Boo!

Charlotte, yes, thanks, we got your anagrams. Baz, your anagrams and answers have got so muddled up by the sat messages all being on the wrong order and some missing that I have no idea what is going on, but thanks for the thought!

Emma Graham – here are the answers as far as we can manage to your jokes:
1. What do you call a computer super hero? HP-Man????
2. What game do Tornadoes play? Twister!
3. Why can’t Robin play Cricket? Because he isn’t batman!
4. What loses its head in the morning and gets it back at night? A pillow?
5. What did one wall say to the other? We have no idea on this one!

Many thanks to Tebays for kind donations, and to all others for messages – Rachel H, Lavericks, Mel (can’ t believe a fox was sitting ON your frozen pond!) and Atlantic4 Supporters!

Lisa – we didn’t quite understand all of the messages about the Miss Twiggy boat – presumably she’s catching us up as she set off from La Gomera a while after us (don’t know how much)? Didn’t understand the PG bit and presumably Tracey is their land team or supporter? BUT we have a vast excess of coffee and hot chocolate so they are very welcome to have that if they’d just like to pop over and get it. We could probably spare them some tea too.But we can’t understand how they’ve run out if they’ve been in the same conditions as us as it’s been nigh on impossible to boil water most of the time to MAKE hot drinks…

George S – great to hear from you , you old goat. Remind me, was it a beer or a £5 we bet that our laptop wouldn’t last the trip? The Harry Potter audio books you gave us have been totally essential – thank you SO much. Like your description of life after ocean rowing… I do, however, remember you kindly asking what you could do for us and I asked you not to forget us in the dog days of January – so it was lovely to hear from you first on 2 Feb… 😉

Cath – hats off to you, you’ve beaten us!

EJSS – you asked what VMG stands for, though with no context, However, I suspect you mean Velocity Made Good. If you need more explanation, the land team should be able to help you. And no, we are not going for an endurance record – there have been lots of crossings over 100 days – no thanks! Full stats can be found on

Must go – getting too dark t see keys to type!


  1. Ha ha – but it got you rowing harder didn’t it! OK I’ll behave myself. Wouldn’t like to lose my FR status especially when you’re retaining FC. On which point your crew had its first outing at Henley this week. Freezing NE wind up the course with white horses and huge wind chill factor (which you’ve probably forgotten about) but went well. We think stronger crew than last year. Little FF – to quote Rob- not in the boat. No no you’re rowing from Ldn to Isle of Skye. Much better route. You’ve just left Ldn and are on the M40. Will be a bit tricky round B’ham and M’chester but lots of water up the M6 and M74. You can then get on the S’clyde course – Loch Lomond – Loch Linnhe – then the open sea and finish up at the Talisker Distillery. I’ll meet you there. Don’t mind waiting if you’re a bit late. Just heard that 8cms of snow on way. Hope that doesn’t stop Scotland beating England at Murrayfield this afternoon.

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