Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 75

Another day on the oars (I made 30nm, which is good) and I'm running out of ideas for things to write about.

I'm in a weird place mentally, as I'm at a point in the row where I'm still really far from land (440nm or so) but it's supposed to seem close given how far I've come. My philosophy out here has always called for a very short-term outlook, so despite that fact that I should have less than two weeks of rowing to go, my day to day and hour to hour outlook hasn't changed a bit, and technically it shouldn't change at all until the day that I land.

It's tough, because despite the fact that I've rowed so far already, the idea of rowing 440 miles is not much less daunting now than it was before I started -- it's still a really long way, and completing a row of that distance will come with a significant physical and mental cost. Also, while mentally I like to focus on winning lots of short-term victories, I've racked up so many of these little wins that they don't really mean much any more...for example, "survived another shift," or "survived another day," is all I've been doing for months, so what am I celebrating? It's really a tough spot. Not a huge deal, since I'm going to keep rowing, making progress, and eventually will make it to the finish, at which point my current situation will be a distant memory, but until then I feel like I'm in a really strange place when it comes to motivating myself. Oh, well...

On a much lighter note, this afternoon I wore Benny (the pet Man o' War) on my head so that his tentacles looked like dreadlocks and did my best Bob Marley impression. Brooklyn thought it was hilarious. I think she's warming up to him a little..,

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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...

Paul -

Is there anything your supporters can do to help you make it through these last miles? Maybe we could come up with some funny milestones for you to reach to have something else to focus on? I'll have to think of something for you...

You CAN do this - it won't be easy and won't always be fun - but, you really are (believe it or not) almost there! Think of all the fun things you'll do once you are on land - drink some champange (or beer...), see family and friends, whatever it is - focus on that and not the'll be there before you know it!!

Anonymous said...


OK how about this!!

Why did the chicken cross the ocean??

TO See Paul Ridley and His friends in Antigua!!!!

I know it's bad but I tried.

Ok how about this! Why did the Easter Bunny go to Antigua?

He thought he saw an Easter Egg floating near by!!!

Ha Ha I kill me?

Ok I promise to stop!!!!!

You are in our prayers.

Much Love,

Phil and Margo

Eugenie said...

Dear Paul,

You don't hear from us often, so you don't know how often we think about you, look at the photo of you and Joy on our bulletin board, talk of your journey with friends, and read your daily blog!
You give us some clues as to what it's like in the vastness - solo, solitary, solitude - in physical, mental and religious ways.

Just know that we are among the many, many who are with you in spirit, encouraging you and sending you love and resilience from afar - very afar.

Eugenie & Horace

Pastor Michele Fischer said...

Keep up the good work! Any new species of birds or sea critters? Did you see the Space shuttle take off last night? It was 7:30pm Eastern time-- That would hav been pretty amazing to see from your vantage point. I long to see the stars in a completely dark environemnt-- to see the milky way in all her glory!

Anonymous said...


Andrew and Debra Veal started rowing their 23-foot plywood boat across the Atlantic. After 13 days, suffering a panic attack, Andrew bailed out. That left Debra to go it alone. The 3000 mile journey that was supposed to take 6 weeks, took Debra more than three months. She battled 30-foot waves, force 8 squalls, sharks, and supertankers that bore down on her. Sleeplessness took its toll. Through it all, pinned up in front of her rowing station, were the words "Choose your attitude."

Every morning Debra had to massage her fingers from their locked state. They had to be physically pushed straight in order to get them going again. Salt sores blistered on Debra's bottom. She found that by rowing naked on a sheepskin--exposing her skin to the air and sun reduced the problem. Debra stroked on.
"I cried from 8am till 11am. I finally plucked up enough strength to get out of the cabin and row. The wind was so strong, fighting the waves kept on making me dissolve into tears. I'm so exhausted and I just want to sleep." (Debra Veal, diary, day 65)

Debra and Andrew were disqualified for taking outside assistance when Andrew was taken off Troika Transatlantic by a safety vessel. The Atlantic Rowing Challenge was won by Kiwis Steve Westlake and Matt Goodman on Telecom Challenge 1 in 42 days. They arrived in Barbados on 18 November, 2001, 70 days before Debra! The editor of the London Times wrote on 28 January "the winner of the race is the girl that came last."

Hang in there, we're rooting for you!

Marlene said...

Hi Paul,
I know I haven't been posting as frequently as before but I am not thinking of you any less.
Maybe if you find a way to hook Brooklyn to the front of the boat you could pretend you were rowing toward her. That could be motivation for several days at least!
We had beautiful weather this weekend. Sunshine and warm weather. I am sure you have seen lots of sunshine but those of us in NY haven't!! They say we may see snow again later this week.
Okay here are my jokes: What made the lettuce embarrassed?
He say the salad dressing.
Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants?
In case he got a hole in one.
I know they aren't great but I heard them at school today and it might be enough corn to pop:)
Take care and stay strong. Love, Marlene

Anonymous said...

Isn't every 25 or 50 or 100 a pretty big milestone?

You only have 4 more double zeros to hit. You only have 8 more intervals of 50 to get through, and only 17 more intervals of 25.

You'll hit one of the 25s tomorrow, and with some great wind, maybe a 50/100. You're more than 80% done, so all those markers that might have seemed insignificant (because there was so much further to go) in the beginning, now have some pretty major significance.

Also, don't go too nuts with that man'o war joke, you'll start sounding like tom hanks in castaway.

Stay strong. You'll be on land before you know it.

Anonymous said...


Your comment yesterday on finding motivation led me to read a little on the word itself.

I'm wondering what your reaction is to these two quotes, based on your current feelings and situation:

"...motivation can only come from inside ourselves. Why? Because motivation is an internal force that drives individuals to act in order to achieve a specific goal. Two people might read the same book, or listen to the same inspirational speaker but respond differently. One person might feel motivated to act, the other might not."

And then this:

"...there's a difference between motivation and inspiration. Inspiration is getting in touch with our human spirit, whereas motivation is the driving force to move towards our goal. Inspiration can help self-motivation."

Anonymous said...

Man. Mental struggles are the hardest. Give yourself a pat on the back for being emotionally aware enough to recognize your quandary. That's rare at your age, and rare, period.

I bet you don't feel like trying anything new at this point, but if you can summon the will to try this, well, try it:

channel those damnit-I'm-tired-of-goals/damnit-I'm-still-not-close thoughts into a single point. Like when you're trying to fall asleep, and your thoughts are spinning, and you sometimes manage to settle on one positive memory and fall asleep? Try to capture that while rowing. Green Berets speak of focusing pain into a single red dot on the insides of their eyelids. Real Rambo stuff, I grant you, but if you can take the misery of yet another hour/day/week of rowing and focus the pain into a dot, a single point--the time will pass more quickly. The downside is, you miss the jet contrails and the jellyfish. The upside is, you soldier through an otherwise hard as hell day.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've heard this one before, but Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through Hell, keep going." Keep going! And we'll keep cheering you on!

Anonymous said...

Colgate played at Fairfield U this past weekend in lacrosse. I secretly cheered for Colgate b/c of you! They won. Now, I'm not saying it was all me...but the power of the mind is pretty strong. Stroke on and throw a few power 10s in there. -- ETS

Regina said...


My cousin once gave me a little inspirational quote when I first started running marathons.

PERSISTENCE - The race goes not always to the swift but to those who keep on running.

The words aren't 100% applicable, but the sentiment is. Please know that we're rooting for you, and while I haven't been able to be as helpful as I would have liked, I am thinking about you every day!


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

You're getting a lot of good suggestions and I'm going to add one to them. Have you tried counting down the degrees left? Right now you're around the 7 degree mark. Just trying to come up with something different!

Regardless of where you are in your mind, you're still incredible as far as I'm concerned! My admiration for you grows each day as I check your progess and read your blog. Even though I don't know you, I know you can do this just as well as all your supporters know it. And you know deep in your heart and mind that you can do it, too! Sometimes the anticipation of something makes the waiting seem much longer for me so maybe you're experiencing something similar now.

Keep up the tremendous work you're doing. You're in my thoughts and prayers throughout each and every day!

A Friend of K-Rock

Claire said...

Happy St. Patty's!!! Give Benny a pinch if he's not wearing green today!! bhahaha

Anonymous said...


Keep on have come quite a long way, won't be too much longer now...

and when you get back, we will make it a point to go rock climbing on Henry Street, Easter Weekend...haha


Anonymous said...


I feel for you. I remember having one of my lowest and worst days about 100 miles from Antigua. It seemed ridiculous. Rationally I knew I was nearly there. Rationally I knew I could do it given how far I had come. I also knew there was no way I was giving up at this point as I'm sure you do. But mentally it was the toughest time of the whole crossing. I'm not sure why - but I struggled to keep going despite the fact I was so close.

But even as you read this you're getting closer to your arrival in Antigua. I know we all keep saying it but your arrival really will be INCREDIBLE! Like nothing else. And a couple of days later you will be missing the ocean and wishing you were back out there. I know you know all this, but keep going. Remember - all things must pass.

You have done fantastically - and by all the comments on here you've clearly touched a lot of people. Draw on that and get yourself to that bar - you deserve it!! Just think of that ice cold beer....

Wishing you lots of luck and helpful winds for the rest of your journey. Have a ball in Antigua - and stay safe in the mean time.

Take care x

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

Hi Buddy - What's left to say? Are you even getting tired of hearing how many people think you are Fabulous? I thought not...I guess the trick here is to not let the word 'end' into your mind too often. Stick with those strategies and plans that you got this far. It is still a long way to go. You need to assess the winds and waves and directions. Appreciate that every day is a milestone on this fantastic journey. Things will start to change soon - more signs of life - birds,planes,boats - cool.The thought of completing something that is generally thought of as impossible is very surreal - the first thing you'll think when you hit Antigua is 'did I really just do that?'I expect there will be a rowdy chorus to respond! Head in the game, ass in the boat - xxoo-

S Pedersen said...

"The only easy day was yesterday"
Adage from BUDS

Keep pressing one day at a time.

ΞЯІПП said...

Great job!! Keep up the good work!!

Erinn from Toronto

BILL R said...


Try thinking of how many miles you have rowed not what's left to go.

What you have left to row pales in comparison to the Corinthian effort you have put forth already.

Do keep yourself in the same game mode as you have all along since the first and last mile need the same utmost attention to detail and safety.

You have hundreds of people watching and thinkng about you via this blog - a lot of conetic energy that is aimed your way.

Row hard - no excues

Anonymous said...

happy st. patties to yas....will have a pint for yas!

Time to discuss reality.....two weeks to go...good health, good wind...lately good progress.....You got it set!

On a side are going to miss the rest of that is a good call on your behalf ha

6 days till the fantasy draft....everyone expects you to pick kinsler...hope you pick someone else! ha

row your hardest and throw that man o war away...thats gross


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
Even though I haven't posted lately, the 8th graders are non-stop with questions about your position, what you have seen, how you are doing.....
I was also wondering about the space shuttle launch and if you were able to see any of it. If you did - I bet it was amazing.
Allison (my daughter - you probably remeber her -)is on a cruise - she has her binoculars looking for a yellow spot on the water!!
Keeping you in my prayers.
Denise Scalzo

Anonymous said...

There is so much talk of what it will be like when you are on land. How about thinking what you will miss about the ocean once you are home. What will you miss? Take it in now. Enjoy your last days with having whatever those things are. Appreciate the time you have with the wildlife. I'm sure it's nothing like the "wildlife" back here waiting for you at home.

- Denise @ GA