CROSSING THE LINE

Update No10 (the last few days)

That was some journey! The last few days have been full of mixed emotions and feelings, full of highs and lows.  The lows were thinking we might miss Antigua due to the fact the North East wind was blowing us South.  So much so we were looking at potential beaches on islands to land.  This would have meant us getting the boat transported from whichever island we landed on.  Not good as our family were in Antigua also a bit expensive to ship it back.

The highs, well, a few days we had a break and played a pub quiz…. Blairs team won.  But the biggest high started last night.  We saw the lights of Antigua shining, a great feeling but also a bit scary.  We didn’t have to row much over the last 8 hours, the wind and waves took us in.  This morning we were in contact with Team Oarstruck via the VHF Radio having a chat about who’s going in first.  We had a gentlemens agreement that we would go in.  However, the conditions meant that changed and team Oarstruck would go in first. This must have caused the organisers a bit of a problem logistically with only one safety boat and only one camera.  But it was fun.

The night before we came in Blair spent a few hours making bunting to put on the boat, a bit of decoration looks good.  So we “dressed ship” and made our approach.  To be honest we were scared, both of missing the harbour and of meeting people.  It can affect you being away in the ocean like that.  Talking about it now we can recall other situations we were in but never reported, mainly because we forgot about them.  We can remember them now and will write them down, for example when Blair thought he could hear cows mooing.  As we entered English Harbour it was amazing, a bit tricky as the wind picked up and we had to row two up to get in.  We saw our sister in a boat as she was alongside us as we crossed the line, also Kris’s friend James. Great to see familiar faces at that point. 

Team Oarstruck waited for us and we approached our final stopping point together, we made some good friends there.  We have had a great time with those guys, whenever we came across them at sea. But those stories will have to wait. 

Then we landed, what a feeling it was brilliant, Kris seeing his girls Fia and Mila and Blair his Wife Beth.  It was surreal, amazing, happy and a whole range of other emotions. And then we had a can of coke and an orange juice, cold, tasty and refreshing.   After a quick check up and a meal, sitting with Team Oarstruck, who else, we relaxed a bit.  We are now in the villa, chilling talking, laughing and looking forward to a good sleep.  We will do a live Facebook tomorrow at some point.

Thank you all for watching, supporting and helping us raise awareness for the Firefighters Charity. Thanks Plumbase, Go Outdoors, Physio Focus, FES, FireStyle magazine, Highland Spring, Safequip, Ogilvie Group, Scientific drilling, Farmers Autocare and RMD in Alloa. There are many more and we will thank all over the next few days. 

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WEEK 9 UPDATE

Update No9 (From Monday 29th January onwards)

Those good winds never quite arrived this week and our arrival date has been pushed back to the 8th February.  We had what we thought was a good approach North of Antigua, then the wind changed and started to push us down South.  We thought we could adjust gradually, but the seas were too big and we risked capsize if we turned North so South West it was.

It’s amazing how the weather can change your mood, though we are quite high spirited, the drifting South can have a bit of a negative effect.  We have had quite a few hard days rowing and we are hoping for an Easterly wind to blow us into Antigua. We have Frigate Birds flying about so we know we are close as there is a colony on Barbuda.  We even saw one catch a flying fish while the fish was in mid- flight, Karma after Kris was hit in the face by one a few weeks ago. 

Our Family and Friends are now in Antigua awaiting our arrival.  We have spoken to them and are now using “The Atlantic War Office” to advise us of weather changes and when we can expect the Easterly breeze.  There are Family and Friend briefings going on advising what will happen and what to expect when we get there.  It sounds like the Families are all meeting up and introducing themselves.

We have decided to open up our last bar of Galaxy Chocolate to celebrate the last 200 miles.  It tastes delicious.  All we need now is some Easterly Wind.

Thank you again for following and supporting us, it is appreciated.  This is a bit of a short update as basically we have just drifted and apart from watching the east looking for wind and rowing as best as possible to the West, not much has happened.  The next update should be of us arriving in Antigua, to be fair we expected to do it between 60-80 days, so we could be a bit faster.

Those good winds never quite arrived this week and our arrival date has been pushed back to the 8th February.  We had what we thought was a good approach North of Antigua, then the wind changed and started to push us down South.  We thought we could adjust gradually, but the seas were too big and we risked capsize if we turned North so South West it was.

It’s amazing how the weather can change your mood, though we are quite high spirited, the drifting South can have a bit of a negative effect.  We have had quite a few hard days rowing and we are hoping for an Easterly wind to blow us into Antigua. We have Frigate Birds flying about so we know we are close as there is a colony on Barbuda.  We even saw one catch a flying fish while the fish was in mid- flight, Karma after Kris was hit in the face by one a few weeks ago. 

Our Family and Friends are now in Antigua awaiting our arrival.  We have spoken to them and are now using “The Atlantic War Office” to advise us of weather changes and when we can expect the Easterly breeze.  There are Family and Friend briefings going on advising what will happen and what to expect when we get there.  It sounds like the Families are all meeting up and introducing themselves.

We have decided to open up our last bar of Galaxy Chocolate to celebrate the last 200 miles.  It tastes delicious.  All we need now is some Easterly Wind.

Thank you again for following and supporting us, it is appreciated.  This is a bit of a short update as basically we have just drifted and apart from watching the east looking for wind and rowing as best as possible to the West, not much has happened.  The next update should be of us arriving in Antigua, to be fair we expected to do it between 60-80 days, so we could be a bit faster.

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We are very grateful for all the support we have received from all corners of the world.  We now have only a few days left and we are lining up for the approach to Antigua and our spirits are getting higher as the hours pass.

WEEK 8 UPDATE

Update No 8 (From Monday 22nd January onwards)

Well we’ve broke the back of this now. Providing we have good weather and fair winds we should be in Antigua around the 6th February. 

This week is also the week where John Noble was remembered.  As you all know, we named the Team after him and on Tuesday thoughts were with him and his family, a good man and much admired by everyone.  We took this task on to prove we could do it, to raise awareness and funds for the Firefighters Charity and to honour John’s name.  All of which we hope we are doing.

So, how are we doing?  Great, we’re in good spirits and having a laugh, even though the good food has gone and we are on to the freeze dried stuff, not as good but still eaten with enjoyment, we put that down to being starving.  Our work rate has changed as well, in the early part of the week the sea conditions were good to row, then they calmed down considerably, so much so we decided to change our watch pattern and during the day, on every other day, we both row together. Quite tiring but getting us closer, which is worth it.  We then give ourselves a treat…….well we did, of haribos, but as we knew would happen they have ran out.  Well nearly ran out, so we have rationed them to two a day.  The rowing is hard but when Saturday came it increased again, it has now become necessary to go with the waves as we don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we could capsize.

It has also been a bit of a wildlife week, we have seen Minke whales but they disappear before we can film them. Dolphins a plenty which appear to be following us, never realised they could swim that slow, really nice to see though.  We have seen turtles and following us are two different types of bird, a White Tailed Tropic Bird or Boatswain Bird as it makes a call similar to a sailors whistle, quite eerie actually.  Also we have a Storm Tern following, obviously it knew that the weather is turning next week. Always nice to get a heads-up.  There is also a lot of yellow and green seaweed in the water, very strange. 

On Saturday we turned and headed for Antigua, now that’s a great feeling, and yes, we did sing “ and I will row 500 miles and I will row 500 more”  We also noted at that point that our AIS (automatic identification system) is not working, though it appears you can still see us on Yellow Brick. Not much we can do about that though.  We have had to patch up the auto helm, a few weeks ago we had to fix it, well now it’s patched up.  And finally a bit of a blow, we have heard that the Shipping Company that we are dealing with have had to up their price to bring the boat back, this was muted a few days before we started to row when we had other things on our mind. The ships that sail from Antigua are not going to Antigua anymore so the company have had to find an alternate route.  The added factor is that we cannot share a container which we did coming out to La Gomera to save costs.  Not great news to hear out at sea but not much we can do about it.  Someone once said “if you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined” so we’ll laugh (silently) and just sort it. 

As a point of interest and coincidence The Antiguan National flower is the Agave which is a Lily (Kris's daughters middle name) and translated from Greek, apparently, means Noble. Another bizarre coincidence.  

Thank you all for following and for your support, it is much appreciated. 

 A Boatswain Bird

A Boatswain Bird

 The National Flower

The National Flower

Remembering

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of John Noble, he was my first Watch Manager when I joined the Fire Service.  He is also the man we named the Team after.  He was dedicated, professional and a popular man. Those of you that have read our Website will know that John died after the Fire Appliance he was in crashed whilst responding to a “fire-call”.  Sitting here rowing gives you plenty of time to think, today my thoughts are with John and his family.  I hope he’s looking down watching with interest.  I also hope we don’t let him down and we achieve what Team Noble set out to do 3 years ago. 

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John Noble

WEEK 7 UPDATE

Update No 7 (from 15th January Onwards)

We’ve had quite an interesting week.  Quite a publicity one as well, on Monday we spoke to John Beattie on the BBC Radio Scotland Programme, good 6 minutes of chat… well we did all the talking sorry about that John but once we started we couldn’t stop.  We were asked what it is like out here so we told him, it leaves you in awe of your surroundings.  The sunrise and sunset are amazing and at night around 3am the moon comes up and fills the area with a white light.  You also see shooting stars every 5 minutes which, again, are amazing.  The wildlife too are a sight to see. We have seen dolphins, turtles, dorsal fins of whales and a marlin, now that was a Wow experience.  We have tried to film the whales but have had no success yet.  We also have a bird that follows us, we’ve called him Ishmael, flies around and every morning he comes to see us. We haven’t a clue what he does. 

On an interaction note, we have seen and spoke to several ships, the last one was a P&O Liner, MV Arcadia.  Spookily enough our Grandad (yes another Grandad story) was on the MV Arcadian when he crossed the Atlantic, a sign maybe!! The Captain told all the passengers about our row and the Challenge which was good of him. The last ship we saw was at night when our lights failed. Blair has now fixed the lights by taking the wiring from the fan system and using it in the lighting system, so with some success and a few electric shocks we are good to go.  We also had a yacht that passed us by and spoke for a bit. They informed us of another rowing boat in the area, Tiny Dancer, belonging to Team Oarstruck. 

The weather has been a bit calmer these last few days and we have been for a swim, we had a look at the hull to see if it needed cleaning but under the waterline was all clean and above it just needed a wipe down. Justin did a great job with the anti-foul. That was the point Blair thought he’d seen a shark, however it was the Marlin and we managed to film it so that was good.  It is harder to row when the sea is calm and our distance covered is reduced quite a bit.  At the moment we aim to get in around the 6th Feb but that may change.

The one bizarre event this week was we caught up with Team Oarstruck, they phoned us up and we arranged to meet for breakfast in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Surprisingly we found each other and floated within talking distance while we had breakfast.  We swapped a few stories and jokes then headed off on our way.  We all seem to have gone through the same situations and conditions which is reassuring.  We are still in good spirits, and still talking haha, and within a few weeks of land even more determined to succeed.

Well that’s all for this weeks’ update.  Thanks again for following us and sponsoring us.  We hear that more money is being donated to the Firefighters Charity every day which is great news.

 The P&O Liner that passed us

The P&O Liner that passed us

 Our Course So Far

Our Course So Far

Week 6 Update

Update No 6 (from 8th January 2018 Onwards)

Well, we seem to be having problems with sending messages back home.  Some are received and some disappear into the Ocean.  It’s actually quite difficult to send messages as some days we are just kept busy, cleaning, maintaining and at the moment trying to fix our lights which have all gone off.  At the time of sending this message they were still off.  What we have realised is that although you know communications with the UK is important, you don’t realise how much it actually is.  For any future Rowers, ensure your communications are good, cheap as possible to send messages and phone calls, and tested before leaving the UK.  Our original phone became defective three days before we set off and with this new phone we didn’t really get a chance to familiarise ourselves.  Apparently sending e mails is more efficient than sending texts. 

So, the wind and waves have all been in our favour, high winds and big seas 2-3m constantly with the odd 4m one coming in, the sea is quite choppy at the moment.  We have had a bit of rain and it has been a bit overcast which makes charging the battery a bit slower.  Therefore we have to be careful what electric we use, so still navigating by the stars at night.  Generally, apart from the lights, everything is going well. We’ve been having a great laugh talking about when we were young and what we did, holidays visiting family and stuff like that. We spotted a ship in the distance and called her up on the VHF radio, spoke to whoever was on the bridge telling them what we were up to and they departed wishing us luck as they disappeared over the horizon.  As the water was fairly calm we went for a swim, tethered on, of course, and cleaned the bottom of the boat (it looks better than ours at the moment). The boat looks huge when you’re in the water looking at it at sea level!!  A bird decided to follow us just as we caught a Dorado fish, which we made a nice meal out of.  At the moment it is really hot, we’ve just spoken to home and told them we’re going slow in order to maintain some energy, really hot.  

Everything is still good for us, we are missing our wives and Kris is missing his two little girls.  Obviously we are at the point when you hear of Teams arriving in Antigua and we still have about three weeks to go and spirits can drop a bit.  However, it is great news to hear about the Four Oarsmen, Team Antigua, Swiss Mocean and Row 4 Cancer.  That must have been a brilliant feeling and congratulations to all of them, our turn soon.  With the wind and waves helping us big style we could get in a lot sooner than we originally thought , “wind and tide waits for no man”.

We did receive this observation though which was good to hear.

A quote from the Duty Officers with Atlantic Campaigns  Day21

“Team Noble are 1700 miles from the end. Every conversation with them is calm and relaxed. They clearly have a steady routine and are looking after the boat, each other and themselves. They are picking up speed and have no significant issues”.

(We now have 1083 nm to go).

That’s about all, we still have a bird following us, probably laughing at the fact that our meals are a bit predictable, curry, curry or curry!  Thank you all for following our progress and a big shout out to our Wall of Heroes and our sponsors

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Week Five Update

Update No.5 (From 1st January 2018 Onwards)

Happy New Year Everyone and we hope you had a good one.  Ours was quiet, cold but nice.  We have to layer up and put waterproofs on as the temperature drops a bit and the waves have a tendency to hit you.  New Years day was quite nice, the weather was good which was handy as our auto helm broke and we had to fix it.  A handy piece of equipment as it keeps us on the straight and narrow, so to speak.  Hunger is still a problem and we are always starving.  Blair has lost a lot of weight so far, he needs to get stuck into rehydrated curry, mmmmmmm. (we think he's suffering from burger deprivation)

Well, we spoke too soon there as the weather has changed. We are getting 4 metre waves crashing over the cabin, everything is soaked and it makes for an uncomfortable ride at night.  We know how a fish feels. A fish also knows how Kris feels as one flew out of the sea and hit him in the face, we're not sure who got the biggest fright but oh how we laughed!! especially Blair!  We will now need to get dried out as our blisters are not getting a chance to dry and repair.  A spot of naked rowing is required to try and dry out.  We'll also do a bit of ship husbandry and re-stow items that the sea conditions moved. So far Blair is feeling cheery and Kris happy, though hands and other parts of the anatomy are blistered and sore.  We have reached speeds of 2.6 knots, all heading in the correct direction and we have made lots of good ground, about 56 nm every 24 hours.  We have been asked what our daily routine is so we have sent this text to tell you.

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"Daily Life. We row for 1 hour then rest for 1 hour during the day, alternately, until night time.  At 1am Kris starts his 4 hour row and Blair sleeps.  At 5am Blair takes over rowing and Kris sleeps, at 9am the daytime shift starts again.  It's too hot to sleep in the cabin so we rest on deck, but get soaked at least once per hour by waves.  Salt water is not our friend and our skin chafes and blisters.  We pump out the bilge after every shift and make water every 3 days.  Charts are updated every 2nd day.  Solar panels are cleaned with fresh water 2-3 times a day.  We eat as and when we are hungry except the evening meal which we eat together before sundown and then we sing a hymn which we are learning, "Eternal Father Strong to Save" (Mariners amongst you will know that as the Sailors Hymn).  Then into the night, we turn the GPS off and navigate by the stars, Ursa Major and the North Star, this is something our Grandad would have done navigating across the Atlantic years ago.  And while doing this we avoid flying fish which are like trout with wings.  Night finishes then we repeat. 

We realise we are very lucky to be able to do this row and we are very grateful to our sponsors and everyone who helped.  We do hope our main aim of raising awareness for the Firefighters Charity is working.  If you have time check out their website www.firefighterscharity.org.uk and see what they do.  Thank you once again Team Noble.

Week Four Update

 Update No. 4 (from 25th December onwards)

Merry Christmas everyone and if you are reading this today Happy NewYear. We hope you all had a great day and Santa was good to you.  For us the wind was nice and low, the temperature very pleasing and the waves were 2-3m all blowing in a good direction for us.  We thought we would take it easy today and regroup both our strength and food intake.  Blair has found a liking for supernoodles, any flavour.  He has not got a great appetite at the moment but needs to eat.  We caught a fish, a Dorado which, after talking to home, made into sushi.  So our Christmas Lunch was sushi, tinned turkey washed down with a small dram. Blair spoke to his Wife and I, Kris, spoke to my Wife and two young Daughters.   It was a hard conversation as we miss them all( just need to row faster then). We have settled into a good routine which works well for us, during the day it's 1 hour row while the other rests. Then we change around. In the evening we do 3 hour stints as this gives us a good sleep. This works at the moment but no doubt will change and we'll take it as it comes. Winds have started to pick up but it is sunny and we listened to our music.......however to ease on the boredom, the speaker we were charging up overheated and we had to deal with a small fire, all safely done.  Good job it was "Test it Tuesday" and the smoke alarm had been tested.  As it happens we were watching the speaker when it went awry.  After hearing about various capsizes and fires we have made a few changes to things to try and ensure our safety better.  We seem to be making good progress but it is necessary to head South and get into the trade winds.  Plus the forecast and the Race Organisers have said that the weather approaching will push us up North and that's not good.  

Turning South is a problem though as the waves are coming from the East which means if we turn sideways we may capsize, which we have came close to twice, so for the time being we'll wait until the wind and waves calm down a bit. We did try to head South but rowed for 3 hours and got nowhere.  However we did get that time to watch a turtle swim up to us, rather large it was! We receive forecasts at 0800 every day from Scotland which are very valuable.  We also heard that their internet crashed just as we requested information from Dunblane.  Thankfully BT Openreach pulled all the stops out and going above and beyond sorted the problem, thanks BT Openreach.

On a technical note our watermaker is great and working ok.  It has been overcast more than sunny and charging our batteries takes some time, we have adapted and turn electrical equipment off whilst recharging which is working well. We had to repair the sliding seat as it stopped sliding, all fixed now and we're off.  Blisters have started to appear on our hands and bum so they need to be cared for properly to prevent infection setting in. Before anyone asks, we apply our own cream!! 

Saturday 30th Dec saw strange weather conditions with waves and wind coming in different directions for us but mainly pushing us North, not good.  A bird hitched a ride, it was funny watching a single bird on the boat obviously it too was being messed about with the weather.  Sunday was much better and  allowed us to head South.  At 0900 on Sunday we were visited by one of the support yachts who took photo's of us and will send them home. In the distance we also saw a ship, obviously going faster.    

 Photo of Blair taken at the start

Photo of Blair taken at the start

It's been an interesting week.  As days turn into weeks you realise the size of the task ahead of us.  We miss our families back home but time spent here thinking brings all the good memories flooding back.  Thank you, everyone, for supporting Team Noble and our Charity. We'd also like to thank John Nobles family for allowing us to use his name, a gentleman, and we hope we don't let him down.  We hope 2018 brings Health Wealth and Happiness to you all.  I think we'll do a bit more rowing.

Week Three Update

24th December 2017

Update No 3. (Monday 18th Dec onwards)

After a tough start they thought conditions would settle….wrong.  Weather and sea conditions have been rough and the organisers have confirmed this.  Team Noble where overtaken by the other boats and it was necessary to deploy the para anchor to steady the boat throughout the night.  Tiredness was affecting the Team, rowing for 1 hour then having a 45 minute sleep, both taking turn- about.  They have had to go with the wind basically as it would be too dangerous to turn South, ideally they want to be in the trade winds in order to make it easier on them, they’re about 300 miles away from that position.  Blair is back eating ok and they hope to get in a proper routine.

 Late Monday and early Tuesday, they actually overtook two boats, which confirmed the course they were on was a good one.  The other boats did have a few problems as well though.  There was a lot of cloud cover and the battery was not charging fast so they switched everything off and steered manually and, by hand compass calculated the course. For a few days we heard nothing from them other than what could be seen on YB Races.  The sea conditions were poor and all concentration was needed to keep safe.  They had to deploy their drogue, similar to the para anchor but just slows’ them down a bit and keeps them on an even keel.  They found they were reaching the top of a wave then racing down it at 6knots, not a comfy feeling, so the drogue was deployed.  Even this didn’t keep them safe as twice they nearly capsized.  They could not row after dark as the waves were too big and it was too risky, being unable to see what was coming. 

All boats in the race are having a tough time.  One boat activated their EPIRB (distress signal) and had to be rescued by a passing Merchant ship, they are now safe.  Whilst this rescue was happening a second boat capsized and this resulted in a fire and loss of all electrics, they had to abandon and have been safely rescued by a passing ship.  Team Nobles boat is a heavier boat and should be relatively stable, however concentration is needed by the boys all the time.  They can’t allow the waves to take them on the side as that could result in capsize. 

They have, though, been seeing some wildlife such as dolphins and sea birds.  But mostly they have seen winds up to 25 mph and waves between 2 and 4 metres.  They haven’t had the start they thought they would get.  The Organisers have been great and the boat crews are kept well informed of any weather coming their way.  With four boats having to withdraw, including one capsize and fire and one a capsize situation it highlights the fact that this is a serious event and so much is at stake.

Team Noble want to thank everyone supporting and following them.  What they don’t know is that people are still donating and buying their t shirts.  Since they started the row on 14th December they have received an extra £757.34p.  One donation came from The Covent Garden Tenants Association London, totally unexpected and thank you.  Another from an Oban pub Quiz night, absolutely amazing, thanks David and Lill  

                                                          Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

                                                         Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

At this time of year we think of all friends and family, past and present, this year is no exception, we just have a bit more quiet time.  We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2018.     

Week Two Update

Its been 75 hours and 13 minutes since they rowed out of La Gomera and here is what's has been happening.

During the afternoon on day 1 Blair was hit by sea sickness quite badly. The sea and winds were not helping either. They left an hour and half after the first boat and along with the other pairs and solo rowers they were affected by waves, currents and winds that made life difficult. Into their first night they contacted the Duty Officer who informed them that they were in a group at the back of the race and most of those boats were being affected. They decided, like the others to put out a para anchor (this holds them in place, hopefully, until the weather improves. It’s a large parachute on approx. 100m of rope that is placed in the sea and opens up slowing them down. A bit like putting the brakes on). Blair was still being seasick and Kris was having to put in a lot of effort to keep them in position.

A message received from them on Day 2 stated: Weather not great, temperature 23 degrees, dolphins were following them and they came within shouting distance of another rower. Blair was feeling a bit down with seasickness and Kris was feeling very determined. They made good progress albeit in some strange circles, if anyone is watching on yb race app.

On Day 3 Blair was feeling better and had started to eat, they were going to make their first proper meal, up to this point they were only snacking, well Kris was, Blair was sicking!!!! They felt good and made some good progress……….. until 19:30 hours on Saturday night. The weather turned again and the waves were 1-2m coming in one direction with the wind in the same direction all pushing them East towards Africa. It was too dangerous to try and row into the waves and so they chose to go with them. They held station for a few hours and at approx. 01:10hrs on Sunday morning they adjusted course and headed South West to get back on track.

They are still with a small group of rowers at the rear but there’s plenty of time to make up. They have another two weeks heading South West then they’ll head West . I’ve just spoke to Kris, Sunday 13:30hrs, the weather is still tough. 4m waves and they are just going along with them, thankfully they are being taken in a westerly direction. The downside of big waves is the speed you come down them which is a risky manoeuvre, too fast is bad. They knew it would be hard but it has really surprised them how hard doing even the simplest of tasks is. Once they stop rowing they just fall asleep.

So far they have travelled approx. 95 miles. Hopefully next week’s update will be more positive and less choppy.

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Week One Update

28th November 2017

As promised, here is the latest update from Team Noble and their challenge of rowing across the Atlantic, a distance of 3000nm.

On Monday 27th, a great deal of running around was done checking and double checking kit that was going out with them. The following day they said goodbye to their family and flew out to La Gomera.  Their boat, Pendovey Swift, was in the Port Authority yard waiting to get the ok to be released to them so they spent the day meeting the other teams and sharing stories.

The first thing they tested was the Satellite Phone, a very important piece of kit.  It worked one moment then stopped, a defective phone.  A bit worrying so close to the start, they are sending it back to the company and have had to buy a new phone, this one does work! They have only one other slight problem which is a leak in their water maker, Justin, the boat builder is there and he is going to replace a seal that’s causing the problem.  On further inspection it was decided to replace all the seals as a precaution.  A good job this was identified now, this would have been a major problem so soon into the trip.

The following couple of days were spent at meetings and briefings.  Reassessing the kit they need to take with them and removing any unwanted baggage is another task they are employed in.  They are receiving a lot of advice from previous entrants and are making the most of the information gleaned.  The organisers are, as you would imagine very safety conscious and every effort is made to ensure that the Teams get across safely.  All their kit had to be removed and checked by the organisers and they are glad to say they passed muster. There have been various lectures on safety and how to deploy their para-anchor should the sea conditions get rough.

The weather has been quite nice for working on land but the wind has been in the wrong direction for going into the water and rowing.  This, they will do soon as all teams need to test and check their boats.  They had a farewell party on Saturday night where Sir Chay Blyth gave them encouraging words about the attempt.  You can catch these moments on their Facebook page. 

The weather forecast for their first week:

20-30 mph winds

2-4 metre waves

22 degrees temperature