Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | February 12, 2012

Day 70: A visit!

As week 10 out here on the ocean drew to a close, the afternoon was hot, and progress was relatively slow, compared to recent days, owing to the wind and waves having calmed down (nice to row in, but not numerically so pleasant). Suddenly, R, who was rowing, called out to H, in the cabin, that there was a yacht – she grabbed the VHF, then went back to put her shorts on, and clambered out on deck. As Aurora, our support yacht, has always texted us at least 4 hours before appearing on the 2 occasions she’s visited before saying something like “we’re 10 miles from your 1200 position”, we assumed it couldn’t be her. But as she came closer, we realised that the apparent white sail was a gib orgenoa hiding her distinctive navy and cream Talisker-branded mainsail.

It was just great to chat to friendly faces, although the crew has changed a bit since we last saw her and former First Mate Imogen is now Skipper, with Harry joining the crew and former Skipper Rich and Chris, who helped with our rudder repair, having left. To us, we find it incredible that 4 people can manage a 60ft yacht in mid-ocean (she’s a former BT global challenge boat), but then we don’t know anything about sailing.

They passed us over some savoury crackers (H is SO fed up of sugary snacks) and some bottom cream for R who has been getting through our supplies – neither of these items are essential to us, but as we’ve been technically disqualified from the race already for being resupplied with a rudder (!), we might as well have some “luxuries”.

And talking of luxuries, JV and VmcD – thrilled that you giggled over your cappuccinos, and also thanks for these fab poems which have come up on chocolate bars recently:

From the Sparrows in Sydney:
If ever you’re feeling like quittin’
Just remember by rowing you’re smitten
So keep rowing frantic
Across the Atlantic
And soon you’ll be back in Thames Ditton!

And from Ella B:
What are the tributaries of the Nile called? Juve-niles!

A fab set of other messages today, so MANY thanks to Kevin D, Anthony Brown (impressed by your real naval experience), Lisa for info on Atlantic Calling and other inspiration, Liz & Loz, Judy in Melbourne, Rod & Jo on hols in Costa Rica, Paul W on a sofa in Kingston, Chris M for reassurance on our course, Charlie Rossiter for info on Atlantic Calling (who are rowing in Andrew Barnett’s old boat for the benefit of those who know him), Yvonne (thanks for saying Bravo! and not Encore!), Elaine, Helen and Ruth E, and Martin H, the Hancocks, Mum & Dad Martin, Rachel H and Will D. Plus other supporters from other crews. We really are SO grateful that you’re all sticking with us and taking an interest.

Sheena – you ask for advice on spending a prolonged period in a small cabin with your spouse prior to your 8 week camper-van tour of NZ (sounds like a brilliant way to celebrate your retirement). We can suggest:
1) A place for everything and everything in its place. (was that Mary Poppins?)
2) An Ipod with lots of Radio 4 on it (you are welcome to borrow ours – we’ve finally worked out how to do stuff like put a playlist on shuffle, which isn’t bad for a couple of over 40s)
3) Being able to wash yourselves, your clothes and your bedding, but you should be OK on that one!

The news on Atlantic calling is the first we’ve heard of them – they’re a pair who set off from Morocco 55 days ago and are currently East and South of us. Meanwhile Miss Twiggy must be closing in on us – so there should be a good bunch of rowers in Barbados, even if they’re ones we don’t know.

Rog, I’m SO SORRY I plagued you with anagrams. I DID get yours – Barbados here we come! – from people sending me the numbers of letters in words before someone solved the whole thing for us! However, Baz, “Really unintelligent twitcher” (what you are doing) is beyond me so far. I can get the word “challenge” out of it. Am I barking up the right tree? Can you tell me number of words and letters in those words?


  1. day 70 …what a huge achievement as you inch your way towards barbados. i look forward to your blog each day and if it helps am urging you both on each stroke of the way. cold banks beer and mount gay rum must soon be in smelling distance!

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