Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 73

Challenging day on the oars today, as I had quite a big swell coming from the North (a result of the two storms that passed North of me last week), mixed with wind from the NE and ENE, which combined to create a confused and choppy sea state that made it really hard to build up and maintain any boat speed. On top of that, I was heading a little bit WNW to try to stay close to 17N, so to sum it up things were all over the place. These winds will gradually turn the swell around to come more from the E, which should help me both maintain some boat speed and stop losing mileage to the South. Until then, I'm just doing what I can to head in the right direction.

It's really impressive how mileage can change by so much with just a small change in the weather. I had lighter winds from the NE but the same swell from the north yesterday, and I went almost 10nm further. Today heavier winds from the NNE and E were slowing me down, though on paper youd' think they would have sped me up. Strange, but true.

I saw a big freighter a comfortable distance away just before dark. Other than it being headed South, red colored, and pretty empty, there' not much to the story. It never came close enough to get picked up on my AIS, and I didn't get a response on the VHF, so I was probably too far away for that, too. With that said, it was good to see something other than ocean for a change, and while rowing I stared at the ship and its stern light for quite a while as it passed behind me.

In other news, I wish I had known that those pink and purple things were dangerous Portuguese Men o' War before I lassoed one to keep Brooklyn company in the cabin while I'm rowing. I call him Benny the Booger and also use him as a pillow at night. Quite comfortable, actually. Brooklyn thinks he's "really gross." I guess they're still getting to know each other.

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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, Bob!



Anonymous said...


Portuguese Man O' War is a pretty cool encounter. But considering your location, and time in the water, I'd be searching for a Brazilian Woman of Love.
Or maybe a a Cuban Cigar.
Understandable both of these are easier to come by once you make landfall. But be mentally prepared. And start gathering souveniers for the boyz. I refer back to the Cubans.

Ms. Elizabeth Cleary said...

Hey Paul,

You don't know me, but I wanted to let you know that I started a Facebook Page about you. It is called "Friends of Paul Ridley and Row for Hope".

I also know the Glendinning family and taught his son John. (at least I think it is the same family)

Good luck. We are thinking of you. Hope to meet you in person someday.

Elizabeth Cleary

Anonymous said...


I've been following since the beginning and I figured now that you have almost completed your challenge I would leave you a message. You are an inspiration and I'm proud to know you! Keep up the phenomenal work! Hope to see you in Bingo at some point once you are back on land!

Mary Beth (Fitch) Cerretani

Aunt Jane said...

Dear Paul,

While I love reading your blog so I know how you are doing, I especially enjoy your bird observations. The note about the Pterodactyl AKA Frigatebird prompted me to check it in my bird book. FYI another bird to watch for is the Booby - smaller than the Frigatebird bird, it feeds by diving straight down from heights of up to 300 feet - they sort of look like a lawn dart. And I suspect that Boobies travel in pairs,,,

Love, Aunt Jane

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

Hi Buddy - This is my Day 73 - I wrote it Saturday AM - but it seems to have gone missing. Sun Spots? Anyhow, the comments were about what a great strategy is is to try to 'head in the right direction'. Is that something new you're trying? Excellent plan. Keep up the good work - you have the skills needed to make the most of day - keep it up - it's close - xxoo -