Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 84

Yet another very challenging day with little progress, and what progress was made going in the wrong direction. The "no wind" problem is gone, and now I have wind from the north blowing me south, which at this point can be considered away from Antigua. This is forecast to continue through Friday before becoming light again but more easterly on Saturday. That will make six straight days of bad weather for someone who is trying to row to Antigua (130 nautical miles away).

Other news:
- Arrival on Friday and Saturday is pretty much out of the question, and I've spent the day agonizing over whether I'll make it to land in time to see the friends who will have come so far to meet me. Absolutely torturous to think that I could miss them, having come this far and being so close.
- The fresh water situation is worse than I originally thought, as I found that three of the bottles that were in "deep storage" had cracked and were contaminated with salt water.
- I've pulled the last of my freeze-dried food from the forward compartment. I have five days worth of good stuff before I'll be forced to eat only "rice and chicken" for every meal. Will eat my last breakfast tomorrow before I have to get creative with this meal.

Given the timing of these winds from the north I'm very worried that I won't be able to make landfall in Antigua at all, and instead will have to land somewhere like Guadeloupe (if that's even possible). Today I made 20 nm to the west and gave up 11 to the south. If this pattern persists, by the time things straighten out around Saturday I'll be more than 45 miles south and 90 miles east of Antigua, with the island of Guadeloupe between me and it -- probably too much of a deficit to make up, even with the help of a current from the south I hear will kick in at some point.

Hoping for some good news to report one of these days...sorry to sound so glum, but that's been the mood out here for a while...



Anonymous said...

KEEP UP THE FAITH! What you are doing is absolutely inspiring!

Marlene said...

Dear Paul,
Try to stay positive and keep sending up those prayers. I am sure it is awful to be so close yet so far. But... if you write a book think of how much of a climax you would create for the ending. I hope you are able to make it to Antigua to see everyone. I will continue to send up prayers for your safety and speed so that you can arrive home soon. Take care and remember you are making a huge difference in the world. Love, Marlene

Anonymous said...

Keep it up! We all know you can do it! You are so close... think of how far you have already come! Quite an accomplishment! You will make it, the weather will get better... keep going! we're all behind you!

Anonymous said...

Don't lose sight of the big picture. You're about to arrive on land after rowing across the OCEAN. No one is going to care where you land as long as you get there safely, so keep your focus. And besides, everyone can take a party boat over to see you wherever you land, they'll be so 'happy' by the time they see you they'll have no idea where they are, let alone where you are.

You've trained for two plus years to face these tough mental times, you're more than prepared. I know it seems so daunting now but just do what you can each day and you'll be fine.

We're all so proud of you, you can do it!

See you soon! (I'm so excited to say that!)


Anonymous said...

Paul, you managed countless runs out Madison Street to the boat house via Johnny Cake Hill can manage the few short miles you have left to go. How many planes did you see today? How many other signs of life/land did you see? Let's start focusing on the positive. Sure it's easy for me to say from here on land, but the reality is you can do this...hell, you've done this, you've come too far not too succeed!
I don't know you, you don't know me, but I know you're in this for the long haul. We're all pulling for you, and with you, every stroke of the way!

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

Every journey begins with a single step (stroke). The same will be said for the end. In the very near future, you'll be standing on solid ground. I can say that none of us care which island it's on.

Your arrival will be a resounding success wherever it might be!!!

Keep the positives going! It could be worse. There could be Jaws chomping your oars or a frigate bird could poop on your head :-)

How's Brooklyn doing by the way?

Keep the faith! Pump some water and pull on the oars. We'll see you soon!


Aunt Jane said...

You are amazing! Keep up the great work - you have come so very, very, very far! My prayers are with you every day.

Love, Aunt Jane

Niall McCann said...

Hi Paul,
Closing in on the finish line now, don't worry about the food situation you'll get there before that runs out.

Careful with water though, make sure you keep enough ballast in the boat at this point.
You can survive on very little if necessary, though i wouldn't recommend it at all, try to keep to 5 litres a day if you can.

You'll have to row on the beam for a while now, it will be hard but worth it. I rowed on the beam for the last 2 weeks firstly to gain ground North then to keep it as we got hammered by 40kts of North Easterly winds. Don't try to get North of 17degrees, just try to stay directly on Antigua's latitude, even if it's hard going.

Now for the tough one: I'd recommend you start reducing your sleep at night even further. Paul Attalla rowed solo in 2007 and did his last 48 hours in one stretch in order to ensure that he hit Antigua. He was in enormous seas too, 40ft, but he did it. You're losing ground at night now so the only way to combat that is to row more. It will be tough but i'm sure you can handle a little less sleep for 3 days if it means you get to Antigua.
Keep a strong heart Paul, keep your head for these last few days, keep your latitude, and keep on rowing.


Niall McCann
Chairman, Association of Ocean Rowers

Anonymous said...

Paul -

Remember - God works in mysterious ways. What you have already accomplished is amazing - don't lose sight of that! I will continue to pray that your days get better and that you make it to Antigua!

Jodi Malinovsky

Anonymous said...

Thinking positive and good thoughts for you. Keep rowing!

Aquidneck Custom said...

Hi Paul
Keep your spirits up, who cares were you land just as long as you land. Everyone in antigua is doing just fine don't worry about us. Just worry about making way!
See you soon!
Barbara & Kyle Koffler

Keely said...

The least of your worries should be whether you get to see everyone in Antigua. Focus on what you set out to accomplish. You have come so far. The most important thing is that you stay safe through all of this. Row hard, stay strong, keep your mental game on guard, and if we don't see you in Antigua it will be an even bigger party in CT!

Tom and Nicole said...

Dear Paul
Your are really great!! On news year day we are staying with our Boat in the harbour from Gomera and we saw your small Boat!
you are a really strong boy an we wish you a good time for the last days on sea!!
Tom and Nicole

Anonymous said...


You are so close to the finish line and victory is within reach. To put it in perspective, you only have the equivalent of 80 meters left in a 2K erg test. Despite the pain from the first 1,920 meters, you know you can always pull through those final 80. Power it up and you'll be there in no time.

- SHayes

Anonymous said...

Again - I echo everything Niall says in his post. You are potentially 3/4 days out so you can just go like hell from now on but if the waves get up you must watch your ballast. Fill bottles with sea water if needs be. Empty them when it`s calm to go fast. Fill them when it`s rough to stay safe.
I hit a massively powerful northerly current 50 miles out from Antigua and got blasted 20 miles north against my will. As you approach Antigua, the current is consistently northerly. If the worst comes to the worst, you can wait till you hit a strip of current, put your para anchor out and take a ride north whilst you get some strength back. Just keep that boat moving west. Each evening, try the para anchor over the side and give it 30 mins to see what it`s really doing. You may find you get some free north.

Anthony E - W 2007/8

Katy said...


You are such an ispiration and have overcome so many obstacles on this journey. These last few days may be the hardest of the trip but what a reward it will be to see dry land and some friendly faces!!

Keep on rowing!! I've asked Poseidon for a favor so we may see you in Antigua yet!


Allyson A. said...

Hey Paul,
Those cheering you on are sending even more mental energy -in exponential- proportions your way! (We'll see what we can do about the current and wind!) We so deeply appreciate the challenges and frustration at this point. Most of us wouldn't have lasted 5 days on the ocean doing what you're doing!
In case you lose sight of this, you have:
-demonstrated your master mechanical skills and cool head at dealing with the temperamental water maker early on
- rowed successfully in spite of the faulty toe steering mechanism
- learned more about salt sores than you ever wanted to know!
- launched an innovative, world-class non-profit poised to propel cancer research as dramatically as your globally and locally supported beyond-imagination row! The possibilities are just as limitless and exciting!
- "adopted" a cool-looking Portuguese Man of War -- how many of us can claim that??!!
- existed on astronaut food longer than most
- Oh, yeah -- you rowed an OCEAN and did ALL of this by the age of 25!!
You will get there, and soon be spiffed up in your khakis and navy blazer with a laser-pointer recounting this amazing odyssey in your equally amazing global speaking tour!
Hang tough, reassured that those of us on land are supporting you with all the mental energy and prayers possible!!
All the best, Allyson A.

Colgate05 said...

Paul - Sorry to hear about your troubles. Hang in there. You will finish. You are an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Keep your head up Paul! Try to stay positive!!
- Liz Barron :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,
Joel Baker wrote: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world."

Your vision and action have changed so many lives and inspired so many. Keep up the hard work. As someone said yesterday, if it was easy, everyone would row across the Atlantic. Keep it up and stay safe.


Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
You are in my thoughts and prayers...I think of you every day and wish all good things for you.
Judy W. from GA

Anonymous said...

You may be tempted to,
But don't give up;
When you've lost the desire
to try,
And you've misplaced your
hopeful dreams,
DARE to believe again in the
Catch a ray of sunshine,
And hold on tightly;
The One who holds your hand...
Will NEVER let you go.

Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Remember your mother instilled in you a sense that nothing is impossible, and that nothing you do with passionate dedication could fail.. YOU HAVE ALREADY SUCCEEDED. And as for your friends they have been with you all this time. They remain with you in their every thought and every prayer. Stay safe.

Karen Johnson(Melissa's Mom)

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
As tough as this may seem, you will look back and enjoy the moments of triumph. (I can only equate this to giving childbirth)

I wouldn't put any strength into worrying about your welcoming committee in Antiqua. They will overcome any hurtles to get to see you land.

Keep your strength (mental and physical) for the rowing ahead.

Keeping you in my prayers.
Denise S

Anonymous said...

Paul -

This is that point in your (or anyone who has done anything of significance) life where you summon the stuff that you are made of to finish what you started. You have your dream within your grasp. Reach out and take it. You will succeed!

We are all so proud of you!

Phoenix, AZ

Anonymous said...

Y O U C A N D O I T!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Time to stroke Liv into the harbor and yell WAYYYYY ENOUGH! Get it done, buddy! -- ETS

Anonymous said...


You Rock!! All of us at Christ the King are praying for you constantly. You are an inspiration to everyone and I know your mom is so proud of you. Keep rowing and stay safe. YOU CAN DO IT!

John and Pat

Bill R. said...


The posts suggesting to row full time on the beam till you hit the north current sounds like a solution to get you to Antigua.

You get within 50 miles and you get a free ride north to home@!

Not pretty but no one said it would be.

This should be a cake walk after what you have already been thru.

Get your i-pod and selltle in at the oars. Brooklyn can keep an eye on you. Or put her on the bulkhead and keep an eye on her!


Row hard - no excuses.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

Do you know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Corny I know, but each stroke will bring you closer to your goal and home. You are doing as only a few can do. When you hit land you will remember how hard it was and how worth it it has all been. Finish your dream to the end with no regrets.
I know you have the physical strength and family, friends and even strangers are all behind you with hope and prayer for your mental strength.
I'm sure where ever you land your friends and family will find you and be there to cheer you on.
Do what is best for you.

Take care of your spirit as you do Liv.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pebs said...

"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince."
- Vince L.

Stay positive Paul.

we will have to burn some green solider guys or tape some fire crackers to there backs and try to make them explode. I just had a flash back to our roller hockey games also, have no worries in the world. how i miss that.

Anonymous said...

Keep rowing Paul - you can do it! Have the wine chilling in Binghamton. It is you and all the "G's" on the deck for the celebration!!

Mrs. "G"

LovelyLadyLumps said...

Git r done!!!! You can do it Paul!! I can't wait to see your face!

Jim Cooper said...

Hi Paul,

Long-time lurker, but full time well-wisher. As a fixit guy, I feel your pain over that water joint. Sometimes we run out of bubble gum and duct tape. Dang.

With you in spirit, if not in force.


Anonymous said...


Wow so many friends and family rooting for you not to mention the prayers.

Keep up the pressure like Marlene said it's going to be a dramatic ending one way or the other.

You don't want a boring ending for the book!!

God's Blessings

We'll continue the prayers

Phil & Margo