Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 78

Another pleasant day out here today, and I got in 13+ hours on the oars, which I needed to make good mileage in a light wind of 10 kt. My reward was that I crossed 56W just before turning in for the night, and I now have less than seven degrees to go.

Another sign that I'm getting closer to land today - a bug on deck. It was small, no bigger than a dime with legs and all, and resembled a water-spider, or whatever you call those bugs that float around on top of the water. On deck this bug was not terribly mobile, but did hop around a little. Given that I haven't seen a bug since I left the Canaries, I'm pretty sure that if this bug were a stow-away I would have found it long ago, so I'm declaring it a sign of land.

A question from Fred W. about my arrival was timely. The ideal situation is that I'll be able to row into English Harbour without help. This is not at all uncommon for ocean rowboats, so I'm assuming that the wave action on the approach is usually OK. With that said, the forecast for next week calls for wind from various directions from the North-east, which may leave me battling to stay on course and far enough north when I finally make it to Antigua.

I think that the technical finish line is the line of longitude at the eastern-most point on the island, but hopefully someone will check this out before I get there. I'm hoping that a boat will come out (maybe carrying some of my family/friends?) to lead me in and offer a tow if necessary, but I don't know the details at this point. Rowing all the way to land is the goal, but given how far I've come and the number of people that will be waiting for me in English Harbour I'm not planning to go nuts and make landfall at some random place or risk getting blown past the island just so my row will technically be "land-to-land."

Finally, I'm incredibly happy to hear that so many people have booked tickets for Antigua! I wish I could write all of you back individually, but it's been great motivation to hear that I'll have more than a dozen people there to help me celebrate in English Harbour. I can't wait to see you all soon!

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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!



Mike said...

Great job Paul, stay strong my friend! -McCarthy

Anonymous said...

...and thousands more who will be with you in spirit as you reach land! -- ETS

Zack Bloom said...

Stop already making excuses for reasons you'll need a tow into the harbor; land to land or bust! Haha, just messing with you.

Good luck in the last few days buddy, we'll look forward to your snoring and overall happy demeanor soon!

Anonymous said...

I hope one of the news channels you have spoken with will be there with cameras to document your arrival! It would be nice to be able to see in on the news! Let us know if this is going to happen! That way the world can share your homecoming and celebrate from wherever we are.

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

Hi Buddy - Amazing, amazing,amazing. And a little scary that you are so pumped about a bug..a sign that it's time to be done. I think if you take a vote among your fans, no one will quibble about land to land or land to close to land. Once we see the twinkle of Liv off the coast, you are done as far as I'm concerned - I'll come & get you myself!!!xxxooo -

Anonymous said...

You're almost there! I have chills just reading about it! I'm enjoying watching the map and watching you inch closer - it's amazing. You can see the finish line (well maybe not see it quite yet...but you know what I mean!).

Stay strong through the finish! We all will be cheering from the States for you!


JoAnn said...

Hey Paul, sorry I haven't written, lots goin on. WOW! You did it (never any doubt) so I think TAKE A HELICOPTER TO LAND! You deserve whatever your heart desires! SO VERY VERY PROUD! Although, one last request... BEARD picture time! LOL! Jo@GA

Anonymous said...

Paul, you are amazing. Even though I don't write often, I read your blog every day and am so excited that you are getting closer and closer to land! When you arrive, I will be on vacation, but plan to log on to see your progress...I can't wait to hear the good news that you are safe and sound. Hang in there...
Judy W. (GA)

Anonymous said...

dear Paul
How far are you?,
How are you?,
Are you sleeping well?,
Can you visit Mrs.Black's class?,

one of Mrs.Black's students

Dan said...

I say it counts as soon as you hit the longitude of the furthest point east in antigua (apparently i am an ocean rowing authority). Let me know and I will come out to tow you in from there. We dont want a repeat of when you tried to row into the harbor in Stratford!

Anonymous said...


Have been following you from the beginning. We were hopeing you would arrive in Antigua when we were visiting, we left Mar 1. You don't have to row into English Harbour. Jolly Harbour or St. Johns harbour would be fine. Remember all beachs in Antigua are public so just get there. Gods speed.

Fred Jones

West winfield,Ny