Updated: Feb 1, 2019
16° 39.34 N, 051° 25.50 W
Distance to Finish: 593 NM
We're getting closer to the Grandchildren! With less than 600nm to go, Antigua is finally starting to feel within reach, although progress is painfully slow. The weather has been what we can only describe as 'random'. We can fly along at 2 knots with the wind behind us and then a northerly swell will throw us off course and stop us in our tracks. A particularly low pressure system stalled the whole fleet last week and in our case, broke an oar and nearly threw us overboard. There was no choice but to just wait and sit it out, which although frustrating, gave us some valuable time to rest, clean the boat and eat our first meal together! It was a delicious feast of rehydrated orzo pasta bolognese and the obligatory Toffee Crisp for dessert. To say we are bored of the rations is an understatement... we are dreaming of home-cooked fayre and chilled beverages!
Some of our family members have now arrived in Antigua and we are hearing reports of amazing welcomes into English Harbour for the teams that have finished so far. We'd like to offer our particular. congratulations to the wonderful Team Antigua, The Island Girls, who were very kind helping our families to find accommodation. Quite rightly, their homecoming was apparently spectacular, with half the island turning out and a huge flotilla of boats greeting them in. Huge well done girls - you have made history!
A sort-of repair to the autohelm has made steering much easier so our line is now 'less wiggly'. We have a fairly straight run west from now on so it's just a case of keeping calm and carrying on. Early on in our campaign, we sought advice from the legendary Sir Chay Blyth - a fellow paratrooper and the founder of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge after his own famous crossing in 1966. He gave us some great insights, the most obvious of which was 'just keep bloody rowing', which makes us giggle every time we think of him. He gave us a lovely endorsement, which we have reposted below, in case you didn't see it the first time:
We hear our fundraising total is climbing steadily but we have to admit to feeling a little deflated. We had high hopes of hitting at least £50k by our arrival in Antigua, so if there is anything you can do to spread the word and encourage others to donate it would be massively appreciated.
Donations can be made via our Virgin Money Giving page. The money goes directly to three amazing charities:
Royal British Legion Industries is a sister organisation to the better known Royal British Legion, but a separate organisation in its own right. Occupying a 'village' in Aylesford, Kent, RBLI village provides homes, employment, training, welfare and support for injured, elderly and struggling ex-service personnel and their families.
Dreams Come True is a small children's charity based locally to us in Hampshire, but providing a wonderful service across the UK to children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. By helping these young people to fulfil a personal goal or dream, they create wonderful experiences with lasting effects for entire families. They provide a chance for families to laugh together, create memories and take a break from the often gruelling regime of treatments, hospitals and medication.
Support Our Paras is our regimental charity and anyone that is currently watching The Paras: Men of War will know that this tough, elite fighting force is always on the front line of battle and consequently sustain a higher ratio of injuries - both mental and physical. These men are some of the bravest people we have ever met, so it's the very least we can do to repay their commitment by supporting them and their families in times of need.