Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 72

Whhhoooooooooo Hooooooo! I'm officially on my way again, and had to spend some time this morning talking myself down from the clouds. I never thought I'd be so happy to spend a whole day rowing!

What a difference a day makes! Wind direction and morale on board Liv took at near 180 degree turn today with good progress made on the oars and the fantastic news of the Glendening's fundraising challenge to lift my spirits.

There is still a big rolling swell from the North, which is pushing me a little south, despite the fact that I'm rowing on a heading north of due west. Wind direction is from the north east and helping my rowing for the first time in a week. Best of all, the forecast is teriffic with a mix of good E and ENE winds over the weekend and 15-20 knots of east wind forecast for Monday through Friday of next week. It looks so good that I'm wondering if my dad (who's also my weather guy) doctored it just to cheer me up.

My girl Brooklyn is relieved, too. I think I was starting to get on her nerves...

In honor of another Colgate day, here's some good reading from the Maroon News -- an article by Jessica Blank about the Row for Hope fundraiser put on by Theta Chi Fraternity. I hope it hasnt been posted already...

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Alum Rows Atlantic for Cancer, Theta Chi Hosts Event in Support

On January 1, 2009, Colgate alumnus Paul Ridley '05 set off from the Canary Islands, just off the coast of northwestern Africa, to begin his 3,000 mile rowing expedition. Ridley, who has been rowing without assistance or any form of aid for the past 62 consecutive days, plans to reach his destination, the Caribbean, in approximately 20 days. If Ridley completes this task successfully, he will be the third American in history to row across the Atlantic.

Ridley's goal is not fame, but rather to raise funds for cancer research. After his mother passed away from cancer in 2001, Ridley and his sister, Joy, helped create "Row for Hope," a non-profit organization that raises money for cancer research. By rowing across the Atlantic, Ridley receives donations from supporters all over the nation who believe in his cause. Ridley hopes to raise $500,000 through his excursion across the Atlantic.

After hearing about Ridley's charity organization, his Theta Chi fraternity brothers rallied behind him and held a "Row for Hope" charity event on the night of Saturday, March 1.

While it included catered food and good music, the highlight of the night was the erg races. An 'erg' is an exercise machine that simulates rowing. A complex bracket was created, and students could sponsor any of the 16 Theta Chi brothers who were racing against each other.

When asked about his nerves before the race, sophomore Matt Woodrow said, "I wasn't nervous. It was pretty low-key compared to practice."

Sophomore Janice Yu disagreed. After competing for 30 seconds in a spontaneous erg competition, she appreciated Ridley's efforts much more.

"I couldn't imagine rowing for five hours a day!" Yu said.

Winner of the Theta Chi erg competition was Colgate rowing team captain, senior Willie Fox.

"It was a lot of fun racing my roommate, Marc Cassone, in the last round and I loved how pumped up the crowd got over the competition," Fox said. "I wish they'd come to crew practice sometime."

In addition to the excitement and loud cheering taking place during the races, the brothers' distinct choice of apparel was quite astonishing.

"I really enjoyed the event, particularly the erg competition," senior Bridget Henwood said. "It's pretty hard to beat watching a bunch of guys in goofy colored spandex compete for glory while [senior] Chris Micsak delivers a completely outrageous and scathing commentary, especially when it's all for a great cause."

"The Row for Hope event was a fun, innovative philanthropy for Theta Chi and the Men's Crew Team," senior Katherine Pezzella said. "Even if Paul Ridley ends his trip, I'm sure this is something that will be a big hit for years to come at Theta Chi. If you didn't go, you missed out on a lot of laughs for a great cause!"

Woodrow echoed Pezzella's comments.

"I was really pleased with the turnout. I know he [Ridley] is really appreciative of the efforts of brothers here on campus," Woodrow said.

Ridley commented on Theta Chi's support through his blog Saturday night via satellite software.

"Quick shout-out to the brothers of Theta Chi Fraternity at Colgate University, who are throwing a fundraiser/party on behalf of Row for Hope, complete with rowing machine races by the brothers, which will be entertaining for sure," Ridley said. "For anyone betting on the outcome of these races, my advice is that, no matter the relative size of the competitors, always bet on the experienced rower."

The Theta Chi brothers considered the event to be an amazing success.

"We raised over $2,300," Theta Chi Philanthropy Chair sophomore Will Scheider said. "Based on the success of the event, we are seriously considering making 'Row for Hope' an annual event at Theta Chi. The cause isn't going to go away and we've already started talking about future plans."

When asked through e-mail about his experiences on the Atlantic, Ridley offered fond recollections of the four years he spent at Colgate.

"To pass time during my 5-hour rowing shifts I think back to Colgate all the time," he said. "I've played imaginary rounds of golf at Seven Oaks, remembered my old rooms and roommates in Center Stillman, Drake and the Theta Chi house, checked my mail at the Coop between classes (my mailbox combo was I-E-A and a half), and taken the long walk down the hill for nights out at the Jug, Nichols and Beal and of course Slices (I haven't re-lived the cold walk back up!). It's great to know that while I'm out here, almost as far away from campus as I could possibly be, people back at Colgate are following my progress, pitching in to help raise money for Row for Hope, and cheering me on."

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A Challenge to the Rowing Community

Do you row? Have you rowed? Do you know someone who rows? If so, here's a special challenge to you!

Taking inspiration from Paul Ridley's incredible solo row across the Atlantic, Bob Glendening has generously offered to match all new donations to from members of the rowing community. His generosity also stems from his family's devotion to rowing and its personal experience with cancer. The Glendening Boat House at Colgate was given by the family in 2004 in memory of his mother who lost her battle with cancer in 2000.

So if you row and you want to show your support for a fellow rower who's crossing the Atlantic solo and unsupported, please consider an online donation to

Please be sure to add "Glendening Challenge" when completing the Gift Information section online at Thanks!



Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
My second grade class (Mrs. Barber's class at MacArthur Elem., Binghamton) was thrilled to see the pictures you posted on your blog this week. I have to say they really enjoyed looking at the shark! It was also fun for them to see what the inside of your cabin looks like. Everyday when they come in to school they ask me, "Can we check where Paul is?" They are on a first-name basis with you!

We are very glad you are rowing again and doing well. Hang in there: you have 17 2nd graders rooting for you! (You also have my prayers.)

Nancy Barber

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul!

I'll be sure to make another donation now as a result of Bob Glendening's generous offer! Thanks, Bob for the challenge. And thanks, Paul for being the inspiration we can all learn from!

And happy official Colgate Day!
Lindsey Hoham

Anonymous said...

Ahhh Haaaa - so knew that 'Gate Day would bring good fortune!

Be well, be safe and row hard!

Progress is a good thing!!!

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

Hi Buddy - Double that WHAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOO!! Rowing progress is such a good thing. Bet you never thought you'd be so glad to work those oars for 10-12 hours? It's all relative. For some, 650 miles of rowing would be the adventure of a life time. For you, it's the last leg in a fabulous journey. Still a lot to do - remember the strategies that you got you this far. Keep your guard up and plan for every day as you face it. You are so close you can almost smell land - or maybe it can almost smell you?? Head in the game, ass in the boat - xxoo-

Bill R said...


Good news on the wind and waves.

Row hard, no excuses. A few more days....and land ho!

We have been thinking those good thoughts for you.

Keep it going - head in the game.

Chris McNickle said...


Greeting from Edinburgh via Lisbon where I gave a talk and hobnobbed with important European fixed-income managers. I'll have a single malt for you this evening -- but just one because you still have rowing to do.

The "animal" you posted several days back is a Portuguese Man O'War jelly fish. Don't let the tentacles sting you -- you will be very unhappy.

Glad you are making good progress again. I'll look for your Dad's ETA some day soon.


Wild Bill said...

What does one have to have done to be part of 'the rowing community'referred to in Mr Glendening's challenge?

While certainly not an athlete by any means[stop snickering so loudly, Joy and Paul], I have indeed powered many a various vessel through water soley by oar or paddles countless times in my life, including several of the vessels kept in the beautiful new boat house at Colgate Camp.
I have also enjoyed many a cocktail hour or beautiful evening sitting upon it's upper level roofed deck, enjoying the serenity of that location hugely, and of course, the company of fellow 'campers' there.
I am willing to respond to that extremly generous challenge. Do I qualify ? {Joy, I asked NICELY that you stop snickering so loudly}.
I hope Paul did not fall overboard laughing so hard.

"Wild Bill" {fishnwilly}

PS: Paul,
Stay strong, stay focused, and the end of this trip is soon within your grasp now.
Bravo !

Anonymous said...

Careful to stay warm when you get to the long shadow from that big yellow pushpin on the map!

Getting closer!

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

Hi Buddy - We're ever so glad to hear that you are trying to stay headed in the right direction. Is that a newly adopted strategy? It does sound like a winner. Mostly, we like hearing that you are still focused on what's happening around you - how those winds & waves affect your every move. Figuring that out and how to handle it is what you got you this far - keep working all those strategies. We all joked about it being 'downhill' after 50', but it's still a big challenge. The mies are ticking away - you've got what it takes to get 'er done - we are prouder of you with every mile - xxoo -