Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Departure is on for 8AM tomorrow! My port clearances came through yesterday morning and I woke up to a beautiful morning in La Gomera. After heavy rain and strong wind from the South for two days, today was clear and warm with only a few wispy clouds in the sky. The weather looks good through next Wednesday and beyond, with North East winds and seas of 3-4 meters or less for at least a week and probably longer. Tomorrow's forecast map is below:

The forecast is ideal for the immediate challenge at hand, which is to get South, South, South. The weather this year has been unusual to say the least, as some storms in the North Atlantic have had smaller fingers of wind and weather that have extended far more South than usual, which has made the weather here terrible for the last three or four weeks. With that in mind, my immediate goal is to head South as quickly as possible until I get to 20 degrees or so North latitude, which is 700+ nautical miles South of my current position (~28 degrees North). Below 20N, the equatorial trade winds are much more consistent than they are up here, which will help me to accelerate Westwards when the time comes. In my mind, I'm shooting for a point at 20N 30W that is 856 nautical miles SW of here. This landmark may be a little too far West given the importance of getting South this year, but we'll see where the weather takes me. If I hit 20N a little further East that'd be ok too.

Right off the bat I'll be focusing on getting past the end of El Hierro, which is an island 30 miles or so South West of Gomera. Once I'm clear of Hierro I won't have to worry about hitting land until Antigua!

To be honest, Hierro doesnt worry me, but there are a few things that do:

1) Seasickness - I'm expecting to be deathly seasick for at least my first three days. In college I went on a short cruise (the Norwegian Majesty -- a great ship!) from Miami to Mexico and back -- I was seasick the entire time and swore that I'd never go on any more silly ocean trips. Oops!

2) Nights at Sea - I'll be able to hear the waves but won't see them though they'll all around me. I'm hoping for clear skies and a decent moon to start so I can get used to night rowing. Even so, there'll be lots of things I wont be able to explain, which will require some mental feats of strength.

3) Sleep deprivation - I've slept in the cabin plenty of times, but the constant action of the boat and stress of adjusting to life on the open ocean will surely keep me from getting much rest early on.

Well, I guess thats all for now. I hear its snowing back home, which should make for an interesting New Year's Eve. Drive safe everyone.

Next update from the ocean, but you can track my progress using the map linked through The beacon on my boat sends updates independant of my e-mails, so keep an eye on that if you'd like.

To the Atlantic!


P.S. If any of you party animals are still up at 3AM EST, I'd appreciate a toast!


Dan said...

You are gonna get quite a toast from us tonight at 2AM CST. "To doing work". Get after it man.

Sarah Shapiro said...

Good luck, Paul!

John & Alice Kiereck said...

Hey Paul! We can't believe that the big moment is finally here! We'll be thinking of you at 3 AM...well, if John can still think by then :) Good luck and stay safe!

p.s. John says he'll give you a dollar if you let him shave your beard.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul - May the good tides be with you and the fair winds at your stern.

After 40 years of night sailing...
In regards to seasickness - breathe in thru your nose and out thru your mouth - true & tested.
You will see the waves at night due to fosforesence - trust me.
Don't over think things - keep it simple.

I am going to New Haven Rowing Club for a New Years race tomorrow. WE will give you a big toast!!

Row hard - no excuses!!
Bill R.

Steve J said...

Go, Paul, go. May the wind be at your back, and no shart in your shorts. We'll keep you in our prayers.

A Guinness to you...and Leo...

The Johnson and Roux Families

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I'll hoist a coffee in your honor with Bill R. at 9am. (I am not ready for the champagne. Again. ;)

Be strong, mate. I applaud your work.


Melanie said...


Fitting start to the New Year. Looking forward to seeing you on this side of the world again soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Happy Rowing!
Melanie, NRRA