Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 83

Last night I lost four miles of progress toward Antigua because of a counter-current I got stuck in that pushed me to the south-west. I thought that I had worked my way out of it, but am now (midnight GMT) drifting north-east despite a light breeze from the north, so there's clearly still some weird stuff going on current-wise. With this in mind, I think the chances of making much western progress tonight are slim. Maybe I should just hope to avoid going backwards too much.

Had a disastrous day on the oars today in my third straight day of rowing on a flat ocean without a breath of wind or shade from the clouds. I made only 20 nautical miles, a dismal performance, despite putting forth maximum effort to keep the boat moving. Rowing on the ocean (or anywhere) for 13+ hours a day without a breath of wind is absolutely punishing, and despite the added discomfort, progress comes at about half the rate of on a good day, which is killing me mentally. On top of that, with water in short supply it is crucial that I make good use of every day spent rowing -- and here I am with three straight days of slow-motion progress in the hot sun, and another forecast for tomorrow.

I've declared the main watermaker down for the rest of my trip. What's maddening is that it will be an easy fix on land with a replacement fifty-cent part, but for now I'm down to my reserve fresh water which is 20 liters or so. I estimate that I use about 6 liters on a normal day, so it seems likely that I'll run out, especially given the terrible progress of the last 48 hours. With that in mind I've started using the backup manual watermaker, with which I can make 1.5L in 20 minutes. I want to avoid being in a position where I'm forced to pump, which would take me off the oars, so I've been doing it for a little while during my afternoon break and before bed. All adds to the fatigue I'm feeling after 83 days at sea.

Suffice it to say that spirits aboard Liv have been higher.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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 www.rowforhope.com 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 www.rowforhope.com.

Please be sure to add "Glendening Challenge" when completing the Gift Information section online at www.rowforhope.com.

Thanks, Bob!



Anonymous said...

Keep your spirits up - I know easier said than done. I hope your winds kick up a bit and carry you towards Antigua soon!

Day by day - you're almost there.


elizabeth said...

I just found out about your blog/trip from the video on CNN and I am absolutely amazed! I cannot imagine to know how you are feeling because of the water purifying and mileage setbacks, but try to not let it deflate you. If everything went perfectly, sure it would make the trip easier... but if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Hang in there and spend some quality time with Brooklyn!

Anonymous said...

It was so smart to bring backups of everything (iPod, watermaker, etc.)! I'm amazed at how much stuff you can fit in that little boat. I'll do my best wind dance for you. Take care.

Aquidneck Custom said...

Keep up your spirits... Less than a week left and you have crossed an ocean. You are a breed apart, a warrior, a juggernaut. And finally...just think how good that first beer will be when you step on the beach.-- Bill.. By the way the guys at the shop are duly impressed with your spirit.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of that one perfect thing to say to help motivate you except that this is such an incredible thing you are doing. I will probably not row that far over all the rows I will ever do in my whole life. I know it doesn't seem like it, but it really will be over before you know it. I remember thinking how much I didn't like high school and how I couldn't wait for it to be over, and then it was and I cried through my graduation. You have come so far, and to you it seems like you still have so far to go, but we (your fans!) all know you can do it. Keep your chin up, enjoy the stars, and think about all the lives you have and will touch with this amazing adventure!

Russ Anderson said...

You've made it almost 2800 miles!!! Keep plugging away, and before you know it you'll be chilling out in Antigua.

A lot of us at Levett Rockwood have been following your progress, and we're pulling for you.

Russ Anderson

Anonymous said...

Keep it up, Paul. Its tough now, but it will over before you know it. You'll be able to look back on this with pride for the rest of your life. I know it is hard now, but try your best to enjoy the last few days on the water.

Matt said...

Hey Paul,
You're doing awesome! You've got a LOT of support out here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Not that I've done anything like you've taken on here, but I know how ultra-endurance events get tough near the end. The urge is to rush to finish it up. But, try to enjoy and make the most of your last days out there. This trip will be one of the greatest things you do in your lifetime - try to cherish every minute. This is the good stuff.
Finish strong dude...

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Paul!

When I look at how far you've come and what you have left, I'm in complete awe! Maybe this slight setback is a sign rest some before you hit Antigua so you'll be ready for all the parties I understand have been lined up for you!

I'm praying for a breeze that will help with the heat and head you in the right direction. Hopefully it's cooler at night and this might be a good time for some more star gazing. You won't be able to see skies like what you've had the last 2.5 months in just a few more days.

You've got a whole lot of people behind you! Based on the postings I've seen, I'd say you have people from around the world cheering you on.

A Friend of K-Rock

Anonymous said...

the goals we seek to reach always seem a bit further away when we are close to reaching them...just one final test of our inner strenght to see if we really want to reach our goal. We all know how much you want to reach your goal and know that you can do it, despite ever challenge you are facing. Not sure that I have ever been prouder of a colgate athlete as I am right now.

Go Gate!!! Go Paul!!!

cathy foto
colgate field hockey coach

Anonymous said...


Don't worry about the setbacks. You might enjoy spending more time on the ocean. After all, when you get back to land, the bed will be too soft, the food will be too tasty, the drinks will be too cold, and you will have to pay attention to manners again. Not to mention that you will miss the stars, the ocean air, Benny, and your other ocean friends.

Yes, I'm sure you are excited to get home. We are ALL excited for you to be home - SOON!! But the closer you get to Antigua, the farther you get from this once-in-a-lifetime experience. (At least you mentioned that you don't believe you would do it again before you left.) Take it all in. Your days out there are numbered. When you hit land, nobody is going to leave you alone. :-) Enjoy your last alone moments.

Can't wait to see you again SOON!! It's been great to hear your voice on the CNN interviews! I hope you're not going to shave before you return to work so that we can see the beard in person.

- Denise @ GA

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

We got caught up in an odd little current thing just about where you are.. we had 20kt wind and a 9ft swell both going in the right direction, but it was like rowing in concrete..we went nowhere for about 36hr. Dont' worry, you'll come out the other side soon

Keep paddling chap

Cath, Atlantic 07/08

Anonymous said...

It won't be long and the pain you are feeling right now will be a distant memory. Kind of like child-birth. LOL. Anyway, you have already done what most people wouldn't even consider doing. No matter what happens, you should be very proud of what you have accomplished with the row and the money you have raised for cancer research.
Lori H.

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

Hi Buddy - The winds - or lack of - that you are battling now are the same ones that you have beaten for the last 83 days - nothing new. Stay strong. You know you'll come out of this and will be on a sprint to the finish. The end is just beyond the horizon now. We're thinking this might be our last post. After today we'll just yell off the dock. The game is over, it's time to get your ass out of that boat! xxoo-

Anonymous said...

Mate,I echo what Cath said. I got caught up in the same thing too in 2008. Some strips of current can be very wide but most are no more than about 20 or 30 miles across so there is no way round it but to keep rowing as you don`t want to sit in it for too long. I rowed 29 hours out of 36 when I hit it just to keep moving through it.
One final push and victory will be yours. You`ve done the hard bit now. Just hang in there. If you`re lacking water, rowing at night is good if it`s calm as you sweat less and you keep that baby moving!

Anonymous said...

Where your body is weak your mind is strong. Just another bump for ya'. Time to get 'er done, buddy! Bring Liv home and let's call it a rap! You are incredible. -- ETS

s pedersen said...

Hang tough - but hang nonetheless.

Dan said...

Looks like you have started moving again. Hopefully you are out the other side of that current and making meaningful progress.

Can't wait to see you down there. You are so close. Stay focused and rowing and this thing will be over before you know it. I always apply the logic, "the more I do now, the sooner I will be done".

See you in a few days buddy.

Anonymous said...

No setbacks for Liv ... just a few more challenges. Before you know it you'll be on the final sprint! Be safe. Be well. Row hard, and try to enjoy your last few days at sea.

Anonymous said...

PAUL!!!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!! BRITTANY LONG IS OBSESSED WITH YOU. (facebook her) she thinks you're god-like. We're high school students in Mrs. Vertacnik's advanced drawing class. And we paint. It's a great admirable thing you're doing, don't stop believing! GOOD LUCK!
from Hillary and 5th hour drawing studio at LHS =)

Amanda said...

Keep it up Paul! I'm sure it doesn't feel like it, but you really are almost there. And look at how far you have come.

Keep pulling!

Anonymous said...

llllllleeeeemmmmmmeeee ssssseeeeeeeeee yyyyyoouuuuurrrrr fffaaaaacccceeeee

stop the nonesense. You have rowed your hardest for damn close to 3 months and your spirits have been higher. You have a hours left....stop thinking of the bad and start focusing on the prize....

Start thinking of who your first interview is going to be with...hope it is erin andrews!

start thinking about hours to the end of the trip....not weeks or days.

Start memorizing the sunrises...and the sun sets...you will be painting them in your mind for the rest of your life.

start listening to some good tunes...and row. You have all spring and summer to rest your legs.

by the way....lance armstrong broke his collar bone in a crash..and he will be ready for the tour de france in top shape to whoop the rest of the world..

Lance is old....you are the new hotness....Stop the nonsence...laugh your hardest...suck it up...and just row.

Feel the rhythm ....


robert p said...


You are getting SOOO close now! Amazing work. You will be the toughest guy in the US when you land. Sitting here eating left over chinese, and pondering you mano y mano with that big ocean... Wow. Looking forward to some Fairfield County fundraising event when you return. I got $10 on you landing on the 29th. :)

Stay Strong,


Chris McNickle said...


Fred and I have been debating if the story about the weird current and broken water maker are true, or if you are making it up to add to the drama and improve the deal you cut for movie rights to "Paul Crosses the Atlantic."

Either way, you are sure to tough it out and get to Antigua soon, even if not as soon as you would like.

Row on and bring it home.

Chris & Fred