Saturday, 9th July
From Diana Hoff
Meeting with Canadian coastguard.
I have just had an email from the chief officer on
board "Cygnus" with a picture of " Fox II ". Not great quality, and
no sign of Stein, but here it is.
They also took a video which they will send me when
they return to land in two weeks time. She frightened me a little by
telling me that his Internet was gone, but that is obviously not
right as Stein's latest post is after their meeting. I suppose he
told her about the telephone and she has
misunderstood, thank goodness!
Some of you may not have seen that there is one more rower doing a
W-E crossing of the North Atlantic, he left Nova Scotia on June
15th, a shorter route than Stein ( but more than long enough!). His
name is Laval St Germain, a 44 year old pilot and adventurer,
mountaineer, ultramarathoner, extreme cyclist and skier. He passed
Stein a couple of days ago, not surprising that a fit 44 year old
will be a bit stronger than a fit 70 year old. He also has a light,
state of the art boat, by the same designer as the one the five
girls are rowing. You can see his progress on oceanrowing.com
and there is a nice
interview with him on his web-site lavalstgermain.com
The girls are doing well, just over half-way, will not be a new
record time, but a great achievement to be the first women team to
row this route!
I had to laugh at Stein's post, the "wandering" about his body will
have to wait a while, I was of course wondering about it! I was also
impressed by a pedicure on his hands!
Got another photo from the coast-guard ship, this time with Stein in
it. The quality is hardly worth posting, but since it is my first
glimpse of him since 15th May, here it is!
Saturday 9th July
Happy birthday to my first-born child, Elisabeth!
Gratulerer med dagen! She was born in Drammen sykehus in 1972. Diana
and I lived in Sande, just to the S, but Drammen was our local
hospital and Diana gave birth in the same department where she
worked. I now work part-time at the Outpatient Cardiology Clinic a
short distance from where i saw Elisabeth take her first breath. She
has always been a source of great joy and her parents
are totally unbiased when we claim she is the best daughter in the
World! (And she is a rower! I coached her and three girlfriends for
several years back in Kristiansand.)
It was definitely warmer here yesterday afternoon,
but not last night. I kept warm, however, in my Venom 225 sleeping
bag (not been used since the Inca Trail 4 years ago), I had two
layers of wool on as usual last night+had to add balaclava and
jacket in early morning. Socks were not necessary, a small victory
for me with my bothersome Reynauld's phenomenon ("likfingre").
The cover I put back on the quilt 2 days ago is again damp and some
places quite wet from condensation lying close to the hull and only
works as a spacer. Again need good sun and warmer water to dry it
The strongish ESE winds have not come yet.
It is in fact light fog, completely still and calm right now, a
luxury in a way, and only 18 nm to deep and soon also warmer water.
So I will get out and row for the nearest edge at 120 degrees.
Tonight I might be back on the SA and having a go at fishing, maybe?
Three days on SA and a real set-back may be in store for us. We are
1680 nm from Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly, 1670 nm from Bishop Rock.
Just 220 nm till we are half-way by my calculation (2900 nm
I am at least mentally prepared for the SA probability...
Hope you all have a nice week-end, especially you and your boys,
From Diana Hoff
Bjørn has just phoned me from the Atlantic. He and
Catherine managed to find my husband solorower Stein Hoff with the
help of AIS and have had a chat to him. Bjørn told me that Stein was
very happy to see them and was in good spirits, able to row today
after a couple of days of very rough weather. Bjørn had measured a
wind speed of 47 knots in this period, so it is really rough out
there! This is the second time Bjørn has found Stein in a rowing
boat, the first time was in 1997,
when Stein and Arvid Bentsen were taking part in the first
trans-Atlantic rowing regatta, and Bjørn was sailing over. Amazing
that he has done this twice! Stein rowed out from New York 4 weeks
ago, and Bjørn sailed out one week ago, no doubt what is the more
Thank you, Bjørn, for visiting him, that would have cheered him up
no end to see an old friend, he said to Bjørn that it had made his
Here is the film which Bjørn took of Stein when they
met in the Atlantic.
Day 56, evening
Shortly after my report went off this morning, the
wind came up from E as forecast. Light first, steadily increasing
during the 4 hours I spent at the oars. Rowing into the wind means
gearing down, taking shorter strokes and alternating the load
between back/arms and legs. Made me warm, all right, but the wind
was cold and I ended up with a half towel as scarf and the
sou'wester down my neck. A pod of dolphins cheered me up with a
brief visit, but the main thing
that kept me going was a discovery yesterday of audio files I did
not think I had with me. It was maybe 10 years ago that NRK freed
lots of old Radio Theatre productions. I copied all the Henrik Ibsen
ones they produced in the 1950's, but never listened to them. But
there they were, among old music files from 10-15 years ago! So
yesterday I enjoyed two of Ibsen's famous dramas: "The Master
Builder" and "A People's Enemy". Both excellent. Today about 2/3 of
"Peer Gynt". This was a very demanding production completely
unabridged, a narrator even reading Ibsen's instructions for each
new scene as well as all of Grieg's original music. I am saving the
rest and the other plays for other, demanding rows.
When I put out the SA there was a glimmer of sun, so with the canopy
up I put the damp quilt&cover over the ropes underneath and
stretched the sheet across the black life-raft. Two hours later
while copying pictures to the laptop I suddenly became aware of fog
and drizzle. Too late... So now the bedclothes are damper than ever
and up in the front waiting for real sun. Sleeping bag will do fine.
Good news from Diana today saying she already received pictures from
the Canadian Coast Guard ship I met yesterday. I hope it's out so
you understand I am not just sitting in Long Island making up this
log! She says it looks like I have masts and people may suspect I
put up sails. The "masts" are a broomstick with a radar reflector
and a PVC tube with a light on top, both fastened to port side
Sunday 10th July
8 weeks since departure!
A long time that seems to be going quickly, at least for me.
I fear I am repeating myself, but it cannot be
helped, as here we are again, behind the SA and being tossed about
in strong wind from E and rough seas from all over. Or so it seems
in here. Cold night, they say 6 C in Saint Johns, where they are
accustomed to E wind bringing in even colder air... But I was warm
enough with all my layers and the sleeping bag, but very
interrupted sleep with the noise and the movement.
A highlight yesterday was my afternoon snack enjoying a tin of King
Oscar "torskelever" (cod's liver) in oil. After I put out the SA it
was still calm enough to do some more inventory, and finding in the
P5 hold 18 different tins of various fishy content, I decided to
indulge. Oil and all. With knekkebrød and tea.
This morning I paid the price, the oil tastes great (at least to me
brought up on cod-liver oil) but is probably also a laxative... So I
had a minor accident this morning and a lot of extra work as a
My morning bucket business had to be moved inside a long time ago
due to all the cold and bad weather. I did not think at first that
both the bucket and I would fit on the bench, below the roof, but we
do. So the same, tiny area is a combined living room, bedroom,
bathroom, office, kitchen, workshop and - toilet.
In the middle of the mess, when fresh air was in demand, a small
spray managed to sneak in for a peek. I did not swear, I was close,
I laughed instead!
But it all got mopped up and cleaned up eventually, no damage done,
needed to change underwear, anyway.
So it was a late, but as tasty a breakfast as always. "Tummy heater"
got the radio going and among the world disasters I heard a proud
commentator saying that Scottish Andy Murrey is in the Wimbledon
final against a Canadian.
Many Canadians will be clued to their screens today, hoping for a
sensation. Sorry folks, but I have to root for you, Andy!
Have a nice Sunday!
Day 57, evening
Not a day so far that I will remember with nostalgia!
Very rough and windy until a couple of hours ago, than as wind
calmed a bit the drizzle took over. I do not want to bring wet
clothes back into this cabin, so it's been an all indoor day till
now, 1,5 hrs before sunset. No sign of the sun, but reasonable
charging all the same. I have done a couple of small jobs in here,
extra hooks on the wall, fastened leads, repaired glasses. Meanwhile
drifting slowly W...
I listened to another play by Ibsen, but a modern production given
me as a soundbook by a friend from Sandefjord gymnas school days:
"Keiser og gallier". Thank you, Sverre! And watched the dramatic end
of "Titanic". What an amazing production by James Cameron! Titanic
struck ice-berg not too far from here. In fact, the official limit
for ice-bergs in July is S of me according to Admiralty Charts!
Harbo & Samuelsen came close to one S of my position a little
further E in 1896. But thanks to global warning, the chance now is
I do not just listen to Ibsen and watch quality films, I enjoyed
"Impeccable Me" as much a few days ago!
Diana says Andy Murray won at Wimbledon: Congratulations to Scots
everywhere and sorry for you, good Canadians!
There is now hope of wind going SW tomorrow night instead of
Tuesday... I cannot wait!
Monday 11th July
Fog, moderate wind and waves from E like last night,
drizzle to and fro. Restless, long night with a sore back, but some
midriff and leg exercises and a good breakfast helped and feel fine
right now here I sit and sway with the motions of my boat. Still on
When I wipe the dew off the hatch I see two Fulmar
gulls, "krykkje" or "havhest" in Norwegian (Rissa tridactyla). They
are pretty birds and when they swim around their head looks a bit
of a white-headed horse. (Havhest meaning "sea horse".) And they
talk and shout to each other occasionally, unlike the common, brown
gulls, which I never hear a sound from, so that gives me a feeling
of company! They often lie on the water just behind the boat,
I listened to CBC news again this morning, World report and local
news. Canadian prime minister is in Kiev, sounds like the sieze fire
is holding in Ukraine. Good news, Tatiana & Teddy in ORS! (The Ocean
Rowing Society is run by mother in England and son in Ukraine with
generous help from Tom in California: good morning to you three
Not such good news from Syria and South Sudan... Canada took in
21.000 Syrian refugees last year!
Also heard interview with the Canadian finalist in Wimbledon, beaten
by Andy Murrey in straight sets, he is still pleased. He is only 25.
Boys' division was, however, won by a Canadian! I expect Diana's
nephew in Oakville knows him, good morning to you Craig and the
whole family, too!
If the drizzle takes a break I plan to try a little fishing. I was
given a jig hook by Anders, a young follower of my trip in Drammen.
(He is son and grandson of rowers, hopefully a future rower
himself!) Must see if there are any fish left on the Grand Banks.
Tomorrow I hope to be away from these enormous, cold, foggy shallows
and to never return!
(Well, maybe on a much bigger boat. There is a cruise ship in Saint
Johns just now in 8 C, 30 k wind and rain. Their next stop is
Day 58, evening
When the drizzle stopped, I did try fishing for
nearly 1 hour. Both with the jig hook I was given by Anders and a "harpe"-a
Norwegian line with many lures-usually good for mackerels. I had
increasing attention from gulls, they obviously knew what I was
trying to do, but with no result... Then it started raining in
earnest! I got inside again where zinkept warm and mopped
condensation as best I could, received two nice mails, read i-book.
About 4 pm the wind became
less and veered to SSE. Weather info from Diana says SW from 8 pm
UTC, that is 5 pm her, so I pulled in the SA and got rowing.
To row was almost impossible at first as there were still big swells
from E, also the wind remained from SSE- not W at all. Thick fog as
well, cold hands, soon cold feet. Miserable, in fact!
Anyway, I tried various ways to get the boat to go more E, but had
to give up. She's now going more or less N, but occasionally a bit
to E. But if the wind really veers to SW or W the boat should be
Time to hit the sleeping bag.
Do hope for more favourable conditions tomorrow: SW or W wind and
some sunshine - please!
Tuesday 12th July
Dense fog again this morning, but the sea has
moderated and we've been rolling along quite gently at about 30
degrees, straight for our finish is 67 (1679 nm acc. to my
estimate). Wind is a gentle about 10 k from S, maybe a hint of
backing more to W - please! But I should be able to do about 60 when
I row. I slept quite well with the steadier motion, because it is as
cold as ever - 7-8 C, maybe? And condensation is a real problem. Gas
lighter will not
work, radio and iPad needs tummy heating before I put it on,
rivulets off the hull in the morning, This Woodvale type boat built
in 2009 has no insulation in addition to its sandwich type hull. A
thin layer of insulation glued to inside hull in the cabin would
have made a huge difference. I wonder how the 5 women and the other
single-handler in their brand new Rannoch boats experience it?
Thicker sandwich hull may make the difference.
Another reason for good sleep could have been the wine with my
"Mediterranean pasta with chicken" last night. My hands and feet
were so cold that MO (ship's doctor) ordered it for medicinal
Best news of the morning so far: right now the sun is peeping
through! Days since I saw it like this! The charger monitor shot up
and I am off to row. I was within 18 nm of deep water 3 days ago,
but rowing NW it is now 40-45 nm. May not be out until tomorrow and
then, how long before less fog, warmer air and water?
Every day is a day nearer the Finish!
Day 59, evening
Sun was peeping out when I wrote this morning, but
that did not last long. Soon back to fog with varying visibility,
the best about 1 nm. So the little clothes-washing I did was almost
as wet when I put them in the front tonight. Wind and waves
increased from SSW, in late afternoon veering more W and less
strong. It would have been summed up as a day of awful weather had
it not been for good progress! Should cross the 200 m line during
the night and tomorrow get out into the Atlantic proper again.
After all those big seas there is still a lot of
being tossed about, and getting inside and getting the stove going
and making supper was tricky. Probably 10 C when I got inside, not
having used the stove since breakfast. So you can imagine how humid
it got initially.
My bum is sore from a full day on that little seat
and the rocking in here does not help. A couple of fingers are also
sore as a couple of calluses did fissure in spite of my prophylactic
manicure the other day. (I think I wrote pedicure by mistake!)
Should have shaved down the thick skin earlier.
Another boat encounter this afternoon. A supply ship
"Maersk Dispatcher" came out of the fog heading straight for me and
gave me a toot. The waves were huge, but I got the oars stoved and
got inside to talk on the VHF: I was just inside the 1 nm distance
to an oil platform! Then I saw it almost hidden behind the ship. But
the officer was very friendly, I was already on my way out of the no
go sector. So I asked the usual about a possible picture for my FB
page. He should try, he said, so as I rowed away the ship came quite
close. After a wave and a friendly toot they headed back to their
In fact there are two here, I could just make out the
other one. Explains the helicopters earlier today.
Diana says even stronger winds tomorrow, from W!
Sounds good, but could be another hard day's work. Day 60 tomorrow -
and I'm expecting post!
One large pod of dolphins chasing fish today.
Wednesday 13th July
Foggy, cold morning yet again, light W wind, still
rolling quite a bit from swells at different angles, but it's not
raining. I cannot claim to have slept well due to rolling about with
the motion, but I am feeling good! Bum and fingers are better, back
is fine. My arms and shoulders have not given any problems. Wind is
supposed to freshen a lot, but will stay W or NW. That's fine, I'd
like to meander further S if possible.
The mail has arrived, probably
delivered by the morning male mail - whale again! It's from Finn, my
grandson in London (8 in 2 days!). He hopes I have not run out of
ketchup yet! Picture of a ketchup-bottle lawyer in court :"All I'll
say is, my information is from a reliable sauce..."! Inside a
drawing of me in Fox II and "Dear morfar, don't capsize! You're the
best! Love, Finn xxx"
Well, dear Finn, hope you do not mind a proud grandfather
publicising your card. Thank you, very, very much! Hope your and
Soren's new bedrooms are fine and finished!
Finn has reasons for mentioning capsize. His mother, my daughter
Elisabeth, capsized while rowing from Tenerife to Barbados after
about 400 nm in 1999. She had enough of ocean rowing after that
narrow escape, but it prompted Diana to do it instead!
I feel pretty certain I am past halfway in time now. In 180 nm also
in distance. Ahead should me more SW and W winds as a result of the
Azores high pressure build-up in summer. So I can start to think
more clearly about what will happen after arriving in Hugh Town.
There is a very exciting suggestion from my sponsor "Ripley's
Believe It or not"! I will dream and write more about that tonight.
Still fog. Wet-weather gear damp and ready.
Ps Lots of names on Diana's list of greetings yesterday, including
from friends in Pitcairn Islands - a remote, beautiful and
fascinating place inhabited by 60 (!) or so people. Diana and I were
there for 3 months 2,5 years ago, our 3rd visit. If at all possible,
we'll be back once more!
Day 60, evening
Very bad weather, unfortunately, difficult to write
lying to SA since 7 pm (10 UTC). 35-40 k from NW and huge seas. Lots
of banging and sprays and boat tossing around me. Pretty hellish,
actually. Forecast said calming down, it did the opposite. Wind
picked up first coupled with cold rain in the morning. I did 5,5
hrs, then just drifted with anxiety until the sea anchor was finally
set. No sun, fog first half.
But anyway, more tomorrow. No damage, no salt water
inside, but a lot of wet gear, incl. survival suit. But managed to
make supper and with soothing music trying to dominate all the
noise. Strange drift, so current probably part of why such nasty
waves, but wind still much stronger than forecast.
Saw several pilot whales close today!
Thursday 14th July
A much happier crew this morning on "Fox II"! In
fact, had you visited my yesterday at 7 pm and today at 7 am you
would think it a different world - yesterday a boat crewed by a
psychiatric patient, today by his doctor! Four Fulmars swimming
around and quacking to me, makes me feel less alone.
I'm still on SA, explanation being the morning temp,
I guess 5-7 C, ~10 inside. So I really needed a heat-up and
breakfast before donning wet wet-weather gear.
Overcast, no fog or rain yet. I rowed for 3 hours y'day in 25-30 k
NW and rain, covered my shoes with oilskin trousers and wore gloves
with outside canvas mitts, balaclava, cap and hood+Goretex top &
bottom. It worked well. But later when I just sat kneeling steering
through the gale hoping for a lull it was with the SeaWind survival
suit, balaclava & sou'wester+neprene gloves and mitts. Neoprene does
not keep my Reynauld-affected hands warm, unfortunately.
There was some entertainment y'day when 6 pilot-whales showed up.
They are also called black-fish, they seem to be ink black all over.
Blunt nose, length about 4 m. They were chasing fish in an organised
way up and down waves with lots of sea-birds wheeling around picking
I have now another supporter in New York: Judy Kearney in Network
Brokers was may agent for receiving my boat. She had a lot of work
with the forms for the authorities not fitting this cargo and me not
getting it right initially. She does not want a fee, thank you very
much, Judy, hope to say so in person later this year!
On the other hand, "Ripley's Believe It or Not" have been with me
since the start. It is a large concept created by the original
cartoonist Ripley in late 1800s. Many museums. They collect
unbelievable items & stories. Edward Meyer flew up from Orlando for
my send-off to declare my project fitting and if successful, there
will be exhibits & talk in their London, England, museum. May want
the whole boat. Inspirational!
And Happy National Day, France!
Day 61 evening.
The end of such a nice day! Still quite cold, but sun
nearly all day, moderate to slight seas and light wind first from
NW, now from SW. All my wet weather gear is dry. Quilt and sheet
need a few more hours, maybe tomorrow? On Saint Johns local news
this morning they said it was getting warmer tomorrow, Friday, and
even better for the weekend. They (and I!) deserve it. Also heard
"moose warning"! Moose is similar to the elk we have at home, and
y'day one had been seen in several streets in town! Makes me almost
feel at home.
Being the French National Day: There is an island
community between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland which still is
French: Saint Pierre & Miquelon. One for the geography freaks!
Lots of greetings and some questions:
Mads wonders why I do not use a drogue behind the
boat in strong, following wind like yesterday. Reason is I am scared
of lines getting caught on the rudder and damaging it. In conditions
when it would be employed, it would be impossible to get to the
rudder via the stern hatch. It gets sprayed and even covered by seas
in bad, following weather.
On how I like the food:
The freeze-dried/dehydrated meals actually taste
surprisingly good. I can have 3 daily. In addition Diana has made me
Day Packs containing large bag of cereal, piece of her fruit cake,
2-3 of her energy bars, a chocolate, a mini cheese and 3 bags of
tea, one being herbal type for supper.
One of the types of energy bars has gone mouldy, it
turns up in every 3rd pack or so and goes straight to the fish. All
the rest is excellent. In addition I have some raisins and apricots
daily, mainly rehydrated in the morning cereal, two pieces of Wasa
crisp bread as well as a handful of potato crisps daily. Then there
is a hold with many extras, like eggs, various small tins of
seafood, raisins, rice, peanut butter...
And I grow sprouts. This morning I very much enjoyed
the morning knekkebrød with kaviar and mong beans/alpha-alpha
Good night from "Fox II"!
Friday 15th July
Happy Wedding Anniversary to Diana and myself - 48
fantastic years together!
And Happy 8 years Birthday to my grandson Finn in
London - a lively, cheerful, fit and happy young boy with everything
possible going for him. Have a super day, Finn!
It was a calm night except I did not sleep well due
to dampness seeping up from what little is left of my mattress as
some plastic slipped off! Wind has picked up from S and is now
moderately strong with waves building
and starting to slap starboard side. And again we are being pushed
further N than planned... (Sums up the entire trip up to now.)
Much warmer today, lovely sunrise, hidden now behind 3/4 overcast
Lovely card and glass of filled olives from Diana this morning. I
plan to have some with wine tonight! Sorry I am away for so long,
Diana, it will be the last time! And we will have more fun together
for many more years, I hope. Have a nice day with Martin and his
family in Høvåg!
And to everybody: here is that blessed Friday again! Many of you
starting holiday today, drive carefully! Good summer everybody and
thanks for lots and lots of greetings, especially from our very good
friends, the Goddard family in Barbados!
Day 62, evening
That anniversary toast will have to wait till
conditions improve again, but I have just enjoyed the filled olives
with the rest of the tuna from yesterday, sprouts and knekkebrød
(crisp bread). Mmm!
Blå Bands "Oriental Chicken with Cous-cous" is being
rehydrated. It is one of the bags inherited from the previous
owners, "best before April 4 2016" - still tastes great.
Today started with good rowing and speed, but got
gradually rougher with the steep, irregular,
breaking seas I know only too well. I managed two sessions of 2
hours and at noon was about to get inside for my second break when a
sea broke right over my shoes and soaked them and my thick woollen
socks. That did it! A trivial thing elsewhere, but in a humid cabin
where everything is damp and no prospect of rinsing and drying I
decided just to drift for a while. And discovered that we drifted in
a better direction than when I rowed and tried to avoid spray. It
felt a bit like I was cheating, but it certainly was the safest
thing to do and all the knocks and splashes later supported my
decision. It got a little calmer one hour ago, so I crawled out with
wet-weather gear on, but barefoot, secured everything, gathered
sprouts from the front (they grow in a clever, circular, shelved,
plastic dish), collected day packs, bags of dehydrated food and
water and prepared for a similar day tomorrow. Wind is supposed to
peak 26 k in early morning. Normally no problem, but the sea state
is what matters, Sea anchor can be put out very quickly, barefoot,
Been thinking a lot about when Diana and I got married 48 years ago
in Glasgow University Chapel. All the old folks are gone now, but
some of you were there: my cousin and best man and fellow rower and
student in Glasgow: Geir, Diana's two brides-maids Sandra & Liz and
flower-girl Linda (thanks for seeing me off in NY!), Anne-Marie from
Sandefjord and many members of GUBC and GULBC. Thanks again for that
guard of honour with the oars!
Having pushed "Send" I realised a mistake in "Day 62,
evening": The pretty little flower-girl with a couple of front teeth
missing 15th July, 1968, was Diana's niece Jane Fenwick - not Linda.
And it was Jane who came to NY! (As did Linda - Diana's sister.)
Also when I write that the old folks are gone, I was
thinking of our parents and their siblings. But two who were married
to Diana's aunts and uncles are still going strong and following my
snail pace voyage across the North Atlantic: Donald in Lincoln and
Margareth in Leicester. Best wishes to you, your children and
grand-children from "Fox II"!
The moon is shining, but the wind has picked up
Saturday 16th July
It is late, nearly 8 am my time, I fell asleep while
warming up the iPad inside my top. It was another uncomfortable,
damp night and still very rough. All routine actions this morning
was in slow motion, in between the sudden jerks and spins. No salt
water in here, drips and rivulets of condensation as usual. Air temp
outside is not too cold, but the sea and the hull are. Dense fog,
strongish wind (F6) from SSW and rough seas. Not going out there
But I repeat, I am fine and coping, boat is drifting
nicely in rightish direction and I do hope you who read this are
fine and coping, too.
1499 nm to Bishop Rocks, about 10 more to Hugh Town,
so it looks like we're half-way tomorrow!
Have a nice week-end, family, friends, followers -
and thanks again for lots of greetings!
Day 63, evening
Dense, clammy fog all day, and it is still here, but
the wind eased and I got rowing again in early afternoon. Still had
large, confused seas and occasional splashes, but this also is a bit
better. But sometimes it's difficult to hit the right letter on this
iPad as we suddenly get thrown about.
All morning was spent lying down and trying to get
comfy. Listened to another old radio play by Henrik Ibsen-"Rosmersholm"
- also excellent, bit depressing - and thinking
about my wife and family and missing them...
After I finished rowing tonight I dug out the bag of white wine deep
in the central storage and had an anniversary toast to Diana and my
picture that she had glued on the olive- bottle, accompanied by
sprouts and potato crisp: Cheers, and thank you, my Darling!
Only 30 nm till halfway. Tomorrow night and Monday morning is
forecast light SSE wind, so we may get blown back before that
mile-stone, but otherwise only good winds forecast for many days
Top of my wish list now is, however, sunshine and conditions
suitable for drying clothes, especially bed-clothes!
Sunday 17th July
9 weeks, 63 days, since that windy morning in
Manhattan! Still here, struggling on, but enjoying 75% of it. 25% is
an unpleasant struggle against the elements when the fog is heavy,
wind and waves have scary dimensions, wet and dampness a constant
challenge and the body complains: fingers and bum presently, and
But it is also a huge nature experience, I love it
when the sea is regular and blue, sun peeps out, whales and birds
and big fish show up. And seeing this fairly simply designed boat
perform well is also very satisfying - without that I would be
stuck! It's a professionally built improvement on the boats we built
ourselves for the 1997 ARR, but when you see the new designs, "Fox
II" is also very heavy and old fashioned! The important new features
on the Rannoch design e.g. - two of their boats are out here just
now - apart from being a lot lighter, is that the bow is the bigger
section and catches the wind and they have auto-pilots inside the
stern. Imagine the help at night in good tail-wind for a
single-handler like I! But Oliver Hicks did this course in a similar
boat to mine, I think, in 2005, so there is a valid comparison. How
am I doing, Diana?
Best news today: 15 nm till half-way! Light wind from
WNW, rolling as we catch the swell still there from days of strong
SW winds. My course for the finish is 71, but I will try to get
further S, heading for 90-100.
Worst news today: Dense fog yet again! Visibility was
down to 1/10 nm, now a little better. Please, I have so much to
Also water must still be very cold. Woke up 2.30
freezing and for the first time had the stove on just to heat up.
Noticed it was difficult to light, probable lack of oxygen. Makes me
wonder if I am getting high CO-levels in my blood explaining some of
that giddiness? But the consommé I made tasted like liquid heaven
and I went back to some sort of sleep with warm hands again!
Yes, I will ventilate better when using the stove!
Day 64, evening
Halfway in sunshine!
Started cold and foggy, improved to a lovely day of sun and calm
water. Little wind, but we made halfway, ie 1450 nm left, at 6.30
pm. I carried on rowing another 1/2 hr. That is now several hours
ago and we are only 3 nm further on, so hardly any wind or current
In between sessions at the oars I have had all the bedding and
clothes out, wiped and cleaned puddles of condensation from odd
corners or trapped under a bag or a box, rinsed
lots and dried most. Quilt with cover is back inside, still a bit
For first time in weeks I rowed with shorts for several hours. Saw
With the still waters I expected to se some whales or other,
interesting marine life, but sorry folks, nothing apart from
Supper became an extended affair with first opening halfway cards
from Diana and Elisabeth. Thank you for all the kind words! Diana
had wrapped up a small bottle of Proseco and her homemade card had
pictures of our family at parties or toasting. So when the Pasta
Carbonara was ready and one egg fried with olives and sprouts on the
side, and the glass raised, I felt I had company!
Ship's clock is being advanced one hour tonight, I will now be on
GMT (UTC) - 2 hours (Norway time -4 hrs).
Off to bed.
Ps Many forwarded messages again, thank you all very, very much!
And to Marilyn & Don in Arizona; yes, your little angel is still
with me and safe!
As is the special necklace lent to me by the descendents of Gabriel
"Frank" Samuelsen. I keep it with my passport inside a plastic bag,
inside a water-proof bag.
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