Dawn Wood's

solo atlantic challenge 2019

Copy of GRAMMAR (2)

Day 3 at sea

Hi from the Ocean!!

Sorry it’s taken a while to write, but I have been pushing hard and getting my sea legs the last few days. Everything is twice as much work at sea! 

So where were we….?

5th January – the day is here!!

I managed to get a reasonable nights sleep last night. Off to the marina for 8am to put the last of my kit on board, including fresh bananas and pasta for the first few days. It was wonderful to be met by lots of smiling faces who had come to wave me off.

I gave everyone a hug and said my goodbyes. For me I did not really say a lot! I got in the boat and for the first time started to feel a bit nervous.

I was not really sure it was really happening. As Angus untied my lines and pushed me off I whispered to him “oh, I am actually doing this then?!?!”

I rowed out of the marina and headed straight onto a course of 200. I could see Jaime for about half an hour (he didn’t wave the whole time) until eventually the features of the land began to disappear. 

I had a pretty uneventful day’s row, it was quite tough with the wind and waves coming from the east and I kept going for 8hrs solid before stopping for a break.

In 16 years at sea I have never suffered from sea sickness, but I definitely started to feel the effects today. Nothing serious, just a little queasy. 

By night fall the island of Gran Canaria was just a silhouette in the distance with a few twinkling lights to light the restaurants on the sea front. 

I plodded on into the night taking a couple of hours sleep here and there. The night sky was incredible. What a treat! 

At about 11pm my ship’s radio crackled into life with my name “True Blue.” it was a sailboat coming from my starboard side. I made contact and once established our courses were safe I continued on into the night. 

6th January 

I survived my first night at sea. I still don’t really feel like eating, so I managed a banana, energy drink and a couple of ginger nut biscuits to keep me going. 

At day break I could no longer see land. This is it, I am on my way to Barbados!!! 

The day saw the wind starting to turn very slightly, this made for a tough row. I was trying to keep a course of 220 degrees. However, my auto helm could not hold the rudder against the wind. This meant I spent most of the day rowing with one oar to hold the boat into the wind. I could not stop rowing or the boat would just blow onto a course of about 280 which was way off. I just had to keep going one handed rowing for about 10hrs just to keep the boat moving in the right direction. If you look on my tracker you can see I was only making about 0.7knots all day! It was hard! 

By nightfall the wind had mercy on me. It turned back a little, not a lot, but enough to be able to set my auto helm and set a course while I got a couple of hours well needed sleep! 

During the night I made radio contact with a passing ship I picked up on my AIS system. They confirmed that the CPA (closest point of approach) was 1.5miles and wished me a safe passage. 

7th January 

Still feel a bit fuzzy headed, but much better than yesterday. 

After a wash and teeth brush it was back to the oars. Thankfully I am now steering a course of 240 and the wind is more behind me, so it will be a much less stressful day’s row. There are some big rolling waves out here, surfs up!! Clocked 11kts down one beast! Look forward to showing you the footage when I get back. 

Well, better get back to it. 

Hopefully check in again tomorrow. 


  1. Bill S (ex EP press officer, retired) on January 7, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Dawn

    Fantastic report and wonderful to hear from you. I guess you are using a satellite link to send and receive messages but are you also using satellite AIS to spot other vessels in your area who you can call on VHF? It would be great to hear more from you about your comms and navigation systems, if you get time of course! I know it sounds a bit of an anoraky request but I want to get as many as my East Coast sailing pals to follow your progress and I know they will like to hear the nav news as well as how you are coping with big waves and seasickness.
    Keep up the great work. Good luck and best wishes

  2. Wafty lofty on January 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Lovely to hear you are safe, are you sure it’s sea sickness and not tequila?

  3. Jo & Gareth on January 7, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Great to hear from you Smiffy! We are so proud of you xx keep rowing girl xx

  4. Kerry Clark on January 7, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Well done Dawn, amazing stuff.

  5. Becky Barnett on January 7, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    So proud of you! You are amazing. I know that you can’t see this right now but you have got this. Getting a little bit addicted to checking where you are! xx

  6. Chevy on January 7, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Great to hear from you I think about u out there all alone every night I so admire your courage and determination!! Keep going your amazing xxxx

  7. Toni johnson on January 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Great to hear from you smiffy. Sounds amazing already. We are all so very proud of you missy. You’ve got this in the bag!!

    Lots of love Toni and Simon xxx

  8. Simon Gray on January 7, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    Well done dawn we are all following your progress. ?‍♀️?‍♀️?‍♀️

  9. Graham Mackeen on January 7, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    The beginning of a great adventure

  10. Nick B on January 7, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Great to see your updates, wish you continued success. Very disappointing response (nil) so far from all concerned regarding the ‘row_aurora’ t-shirts. Come one guys if you’re reading this at least reply to your email so we can get them on sale and raise much needed funds.

  11. Sarah on January 7, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    You’re amazing!! Love reading your journey x

  12. Brad Dickel on January 7, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Keep it up matey, so incredibly proud of you!!

  13. Kelly on January 7, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Well done dawn. You are doing fab.x take care.x

  14. Cindy Robertson on January 8, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Sounds like you are having a whale of a time so far Dawn. Watching your progress from Cape Town, South Africa.

  15. Billy james on January 8, 2019 at 6:09 am

    I’m loving hearing your progress you star..

  16. Lisa Faircloth on January 8, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Thinking of you and loving the tale of your journey so far, stay safe x

  17. Sam C on January 8, 2019 at 6:52 am

    So proud Dawn, keep up the great work!!

    Enjoying the updates and glad to see you’re in high spirits

  18. Karen Farrant on January 8, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Well done Dawn . Hope you are getting your sealegs and the nausea has subsided !! We missed you on Sunday at the racing . Your guys did really well . Lots of smiles all round . We all thought of you and wished you well . Keep rowing , keep going and be safe .

  19. Aaron on January 8, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Awesome lady….keep it up Dawn x

  20. Teresa Sanders on January 8, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Well done Dawn you are truly amazing xx

  21. Sarah & Bob on January 8, 2019 at 9:13 am

    First thing we do each morning is check your progress. It sounds hard work but you are amazing. Keep going! Xx

  22. Bob&jackie on January 8, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Hi Dawn we are watching your
    red line race away from us. Very well done,

  23. Debbie Jones on January 8, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Keep going Smiffy what a brave and wonderful thing you’re doing xx

  24. Nicholas Poole on January 8, 2019 at 9:21 am

    I have no words to describe my admiration for you. Stay strong and don’t go too hard too soon

  25. Shaun Heckles on January 8, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Brilliant blog Dawn. We are following your progress. Great start – keep it going ??X

  26. Stanway B Team on January 8, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Well done Dawn. You’re doing so well and we are all so proud of you. We have been logging in daily to keep up to date on you as part of our daily briefing.

    • Liz on January 8, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      So proud of you Dawn. Your writing is fantastic. Enthralling. Take care Lovely. Keep strong mentally and physically Girl. You will do this xxxxx

  27. Rosie on January 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Your doing good girl nothing but admiration for you xx

  28. Ryan Mitcham on January 8, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Go Dawny,
    Following your every move and your doing an awesome job! Keep it up!
    From someone who is sh*t scared of boats and the ocean, just reading about the waves and harsh conditions your getting makes me wanna throw up.
    look forward to hearing more from you.

  29. Sonia Harding on January 8, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Great blog Dawn, Awesome, will be following your every move, Love from Sonia & Clive in Bonnie Scotland x

  30. Paul Ablitt on January 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Dawn,
    I still think you’re mad, but you are an inspiration to me and I’m sure I can speak for many other’s, an inspiration to the Dengie. YOU ARE DOING AMAZING..xx

  31. Wendy McLaren-Morris. on January 8, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Go Dawn, you are doing amazing.
    I never suffered with sea sickness until the last week at sea when the waves got up. The first 2 weeks of our sailing was flat calm, no wind, the 3rd week the waves were messy hence the sea sickness..
    Keep popping those ginger biscuits and I found coke to be good for settling the stomach….
    Love Watching you every day and your progress, that rum punch in Barbados is just on the horizon and a well needed lovely bath to look forward to and big comfy bed…Keep

  32. Sharon Baker on January 8, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Well done Dawn sounds amazing and hard work.
    Keep going
    Best wishes Sharon Baker

  33. Simon Driver on January 8, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Always checking your progress it seems nowI have time on my hands Thought of you today as I looked out at the high tides and rough seas in Walton today. Your live feeds seems to show you’re bang on course and smashing it. But what do I know!! You’re a tough cookie for sure. Keep smashing you nutter!

  34. Emma Moat on January 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Super proud of you! I Keep checking where you are and how that compares to the previous record! I don’t have the slightest clue though ? xx

  35. Andy Barnes on January 8, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Dawny – amazing stuff. Absolutely incredible. An inspiration to us all! Keep it going and look forward to keeping tabs on your journey. Good luck, dig deep and keep going! Xx

  36. Lynne May on January 8, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    You are one amazing lady x
    Following your Red Line. Stay safe Dawn xx

  37. Gayla Trice on January 9, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Sending prayers for my adopted UK “Ocean Girl.”

  38. Mim on January 9, 2019 at 5:16 am

    Keep going Dawny, you’re an inspiration and very brave. I’m looking forward to your next blog installment xx

  39. Duncan ward on January 9, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Good start Dawn, tracking your red line. Each stroke is Nearer that big Caribbean cocktail waiting for you.

  40. Specks on January 9, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Go Smithy – you are incredible, thinking of you! Loads of love xxxx

  41. Jay Samouelle on January 9, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Amazing what your doing.
    Your now being followed by the year 4 kids in my daughters school at St michaels galleywood.
    Smash that record girl

  42. Sheila on January 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Well done I am a fellow rower and also a member of surfers against sewage keep up the great work and keep rowing fantastic cause

  43. Gayla Trice on January 13, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Row on “my girl.” Love you. <3

  44. Suzanne Wood on January 14, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I am truly astounded by what you are taking on, I’m loving the blog and wait for each update with anticipation and excitement and I track your progress daily. The tutle encounter had me stitches and the Dolphins must have been thrilling. I’m hoping the whales will appear for you too, especially the humpbacks. Keep focused, go girl, you are what they call a Legend!!!

  45. Bill S (former EP Press Officer) on January 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Hi again Dawn. Rowing into those headwinds over the past couple of days must have been tough going. But the site (which is normally pretty accurate on the East Coast) is showing North East Trades blowing in tomorrow and through the week!

    The record is still in sight. Go for it!!

    Bill S

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