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On the 1st March 2017 I will finally, weather permitting, set off to row the Atlantic Ocean. Now I know what some of you will be thinking - ...

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The wind has dropped and it's hot as heck but the milestones are coming thick and fast

The crew seem to have really found their rhythm and optimism is on the increase as they get closer and closer to French Guiana. Every day is not only a day closer but another day without autohelm incident! The 2/3 waymarker was passed on Thursday evening with a current estimated finish of 47 days and 6 hours. (Still within the world record)
Despite the ETA having lengthened a little due to the autohelm and barnacle issues they continue to steam onwards and not only is the 75% milestone not that far off (best guess Monday) but also the golden number of less than 1000 nautical miles to the finish has just been achieved. Plus by my reckoning it's not far till until they have less than 100 watches each to go!
This weekend however they have very light winds and temperatures creep ever higher, but from Monday onwards we see some good winds at their back which should push them on and cool them down!!!

Here are some updates from the boys themselves:

From 'what is left of' Niall - Day 29 - Got nearly naked before going in to sea today and my goodness, there's none of me left! Have lost at least 10kg already!!
(As many of you know there wasn't a lot of Niall to start with and although he tried and better tried to put on weight before the expedition he only managed about 6kg. Anticipated weight loss is circa 15kg! - see earlier blog Counting Calories - -

Day 30 - Just washed my hair!! Didn't know you could in salt water but you can! Feels amazing. Still wearing same t-shirt and socks, changed my boxers once! All good here. Seeing the same weather you're predicting so fingers crossed big blow comes after the weekend. 

From Colins Blog - A month at sea - Some insight into life on board:
On board all our food is freeze dried from Summit to Eat.  The meals recommend being prepared with boiling water but Niall is now sticking with cold to save time.  I prefer to use the Jet Boil gas cooker to heat the water and prepare the meals, then use one of the myriad of herbs, spices and hot sources to give the meal my individual twist.

The facilities on board the boat are very limited to say the least we have:
- A white bucket for washing clothes in
- A black bucket to be used as a toilet with its own toilet brush to ensure it remains clean
- Some of Ralph's Rusty old cans to pee into since we lost the nicer plastic bottles 
- Our own toothbrushes but how often they are used is hard to tell!
- Baby wipes to wash with, these are a godsend when you are hot, sweaty and or been hit by a wave just before coming of watch.  They remove the salt and make you feel refreshed (honestly)
- Talc for trying to stay dry and making your feet, groin and arm pits feeling silky smooth as well as smelling lovely.

We are split into two groups (one from each watch) which then each share either the fwd or aft cabins.  This is generally referred to as hot bunking or bunk buddies.  We all have our own sleeping bags but generally it is too hot so sleep just on to of them in our pants.  During the night watches to save time we generally sleep fully clothed.

Some of us are light sleepers and others like myself have an off switch and people struggle to find the on switch in the morning (1hr later) to wake me up.  The light sleepers seem to have a range of eye masks, padded head buffs or just sleep in hat and glasses (Ralph again as he is so cool!)
- Niall has started getting dressed in his sleep!!!

From Ralph:
Day 31
2 / 3rd of the Atlantic crossing accomplished. About 2 weeks and 1110 nautical miles to go. The delay due to faulty autopilots and barnacles growth underneath the boat we lost time on the current worldrecord schedule, so the ETA has fallen from 45 days and 22 hours halfway to 47 days and 6 hours. Still three days and 4.5 hours ahead of the current schedule and, with the increased daily distances of over 70 miles, we want to get back on track to the ETA schedule of 45 days.

From Niall:
Day 32
Speed is fairly consistent at 70-74 miles per day. Will be slightly lower today due to lack of wind- 66ish - it's hellish - no wind, and a roasting hot sun. I am going to rig a bimmony tomorrow to try to give some shade on deck. Disaster this morning as my inflatable pillow got a puncture. had to row 2 awful watches without it. Colin managed to patch it for me and seems to have worked. Nothing is ever easy here! Irony now is we're all looking forward to night watches now as much cooler. Spent today bidding for a fictional bottle of ice cold coke. I'm winning at €500! 

Niall on his 'inflated'cushion.

Keep going lads - beer and Coke are not far away!!!!

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