Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 52

Well, it was "one of those days" out here today that really tested my sanity. Heavy winds in the 25k range and some of the biggest seas I've seen out here greeted me in the morning. First challenge after going outside and getting ready to row (while getting sprayed and splashed) is to turn the bow of the boat downwind, since without anyone steering it will inevitably try to swing sideways. Well, without foot steering getting the boat pointed in the right direction in heavy wind requires eye-popping effort to row with one oar while backing with the other. Slowly the boat will come around, at which point I just have to keep it there. If it doesn't come around after 15-20 strokes I'm forced to stop, rest, and try again, by which point any success I'd had has long since disappeared.

Today it took me at least a half dozen attempts to bring the bow around, and after each try I was rewarded with a five-gallon splash of salt water to the face that was kicked up by a wave and delivered to me by the 25 knot winds. What a way to start your day! Then during the day I took three different splashes in the cabin which means I'm in for a damp nights sleep tonight. Sweeeeet...

Anyway, I obviously got rowing and made some good mileage to the West, though I'm now a couple of miles South of English Harbor in Antigua. I'm not sure how concerned I should be about how far south I am at this point, but since I've been holding on to as much north as the wind/waves will allow over the last week or so I guess there's nothing else I can do but keep making progress as close to due West as I can. The thought did cross my mind though that my family/friends would absolutely kill me if I ended up having to land somewhere other than Antigua and they missed the finish, especially after not being able to see me off from the Canaries!

Ahhh well, tomorrow's a new day...

Thanks to all who have supported this expedition and important research at Yale Cancer Center with a donation to Row for Hope. If you haven't donated, or if you would consider donating again, it would be much appreciated. To donate online use the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page or visit



Anonymous said...


Heading off to CTK and thinking of you. It's amazing the wind and waves but you are learning how to use them.

I think a book with pictures will do very well about this venture.

Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers every day.

Keep up the great progress!!

God Bless,

Phil & Margo

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
The 8th graders continue to ask lots of questions about your trip. You will never know how many people you are impacting - now and for years to come, as they remember your story and apply it to their own life.
I am doing my best to continue to spread your story. I have written an article for an obscure newsletter called "The Long Walker Newsletter" (TLWN for short). It is a newsletter that came to be after a friend of the author headed off to Iraq for a tour of duty. (All friends of my nephew) TLWN was sent to lots of friends and family of the guy in Iraq - asking them to log their walking (and to take "long walks") and send numbers in so that as a group they could "walk to Iraq" in support of their friend. Fortunately the guy is home safely from Iraq, and the newsletter continues. I thought the recipients of the newsletter could use another focus - so I spread your story to them. Hopefully, when the new issue is out (I think end of this month) you will hear from and get donations from this group.
I also contacted a friend who works for Harvard U - his job is to contact alumni and get money donations for the athletic department. I asked him to spread the story to his sports alum and especially the crew team. Hopefully, that will increase your readers and donations.
It is good to read that you are upbeat and doing well.
keeping you in my prayers.
Denise Scalzo

niallmccann said...

Hi Paul,
Interesting to hear about your steering, i am a firm advocate of foot steering and recently posted a discussion topic on the AOR website ( for those who haven't seen it!) about the importance of going with foot steering, which, by the sound of things, you would agree with!

Re your current track, be very wary of going too far south. You still have a long way to go, but the prevailing winds are ENE rather than Easterly, and this trend is likely to continue as you get closer to Antigua.

I got 57miles South of English Harbour with 500 miles to go, so had to make up approximately 1 mile North for every 8 miles rowed west, which is a serious challenge in ENE seas. Sam Williams encountered similar issues and fought like mad to get himself back on track, which he did, just!
Several boats have been towed in from South of Antigua, or re-diverted over recent years having not been able to make up the northerly miles in time.

There is no need to be too concerned at this stage, but my advice would be to stick on 17degrees North as best as you can, don't worry about little fluctuations but if you start to go more than 15miles either side you'll need to take corrective action.

Re your family meeting you at the end, don't worry about that! It really doesn't cost much to take a boat between the islands in the unlikely scenario that you do miss Antigua, and besides, they will go to the ends of the earth to see you in to land!

You seem to be going great guns though Paul, i'm sure you'll cruise in fine.

All the best, i hope you manage to sleep ok in the damp tonight!

Best Wishes,
Niall McCann

Chairman, Association of Ocean Rowers

Melissa M said...

Hi P-Rid,

You are right, tomorrow is a new day, but I am so proud of each and every day you have been out there and all the days you took to train! Keep you head up and know that I am praying extra these days :)

K-Rock and #1 Wild Bill said...

Hi Buddy - It's rough when you know first thing in the AM that it's going to be a 'less than good' day. But you do exactly what you have to do - you know the drill - you know what it it will take to get you going in the right direction - that's all good. Just more indication that you're keeping your head in the right place. Don't worry about where you land - we'll find you! xxoo-