Thanks for all of your questions – you’ve had some good ones! Here are the ones I’ve received over the last couple of days, together with my answers.
- You’re 6’3″, I think, – can you actually stretch out in the cabin or are you in a sort of fetal position?
CAN JUST STRETCH OUT
- Can you tie yourself down and sleep on the deck for fresh air?
NOT ENOUGH FLAT SPACE. DECK IS IN FULL SUN AND FREQUENTLY SPLASHED BY WAVES
- Spencer thinks you can make pancakes in your cooking apparatus. Do you agree? (We posed a hypothesis that you cannot only because the rocking motion would make for weird pancakes.)
MY JETBOIL ONLY HAS A SMALL POT FOR BOILING WATER – BUT IF I HAD A PAN I COULD DO PANCAKES… NOW YOU ARE MAKING ME HUNGRY
- Read that you are still hoping for a whale sighting, what is the best thing you have seen so far & what are the night skies like?
LOVED THE DOLPHINS, BUT HOLDING OUT FOR A WHALE. SOME AMAZING NIGHTS ROWING UNDER EITHER BRIGHT MOON (LIKE NOW) OR CLEAR SKIES. BUT ONLY NICE WHEN THE SEA IS FAIRLY CALM OTHERWISE COLD AND WET
- When you rest, you must drift. When you awake, how do you know where you are and how much of your time is spent getting yourself back on course?
YES. I PLACE A WAYPOINT IN THE GPS WHEN I STOP SO CAN SEE DIRECTION AND DISTANCE OF DRIFT. I CAN USUALLY SET THE RUDDER AT AN ANGLE THAT TOGETHER WITH PREVAILING WIND AND SWELL KEEPS ME GOING MORE OR LESS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
- What are you missing the most?
MY FAMILY. NO SECOND GUESSING ON THAT ONE.
- Will you continue to row recreationally once this is over?
HAVE ENJOYED ROWING BUT JHB IS NOT A GREAT PLACE FOR IT.
- Have you cried? Because even though you are one of the biggest badasses on the face of the planet, I would think tears would naturally be a part of this process.
YES, A LITTLE BIT
- And finally, was Talisker kind enough to provide whiskey in little pouches that one can pierce with a straw? From here, that looks like a necessity. ; ).
NO, BUT TEAM WADADLI GAVE EVERYONE A MINI BAR SIZED ENGLISH HARBOUR RUM TO DRINK ON CHRISTMAS. I’VE BEEN SAVING MINE FOR THE 1000nm TO GO MARK (THAT SHOULD BE TOMORROW!)
- What will you do with any leftover provisions and supplies when you get to Antigua?
LIKELY TO HAVE QUITE A BIT OF DEHYDRATED FOOD THAT I CAN SAVE FOR FUTURE TRIPS
- How much swell do you have to cope with?
Swell varies remarkably quickly from next to nothing to almost 5m. Sometimes the big swells are smooth and without chop and just slide right under the boat. Most difficult is swell from one direction with wind driven chop from another. Really hard to keep course then.
- When chop occurs, is your rowing mainly to keep the boat straight or are you able to make steady progress?
My autohelm (and spare) burnt out after 1000 miles so for the past 700 miles and remaining 1100 or so miles am having to steer/aim the boat by hand. In small seas this is not too bad. Just lock the rudder at the best angle and on average you can go the right way. On days with big seas sometimes the best I can do is to get within 25 degrees of my desired heading. So I’m definitely doing more miles than I would with the autohelm working.
- How often are your oars knocked out of your hands?
Oars get knocked out of my hands regularly. My shins have recovered somewhat but for several weeks were just lines of scabs from being bludgeoned with an oar when it catches on a recovery stroke.
- Are you wearing gloves?
I usually don’t wear gloves but have some just to change things up and provide some relief.
- What are the body parts worst affected by the rowing?
Everything is getting a bit tired after about 1700 miles but nothing terrible yet. Can feel tendons in hands, wrists, shoulders taking some strain. Salt sores on my bum probably hurt most on wet days.