Dawn Wood's

solo atlantic challenge 2019

DAY 4 (5)

Rowing through treacle

Sorry it’s been so long to blog. I feel like I have been dragging the boat through treacle the past few days. If I stop rowing I go backwards so every moment on the oars has to count. Anyway…. where were we?

12th January 2019

I left you at 3am… it didn’t get any easier. The wind had shifted during the night and was now coming from the south south east. This means it was on the port (left) side of the boat trying to push me northwards whereas I needed to go south. It was not a gentle breeze either. 

So on the oars it was. I was cold tired and not happy about the whole situation. However, I knew I had to do it as nobody was going to do it for me. Giving up and going to sleep was not an option, well it was, but that would mean going way off course and I was determined to keep the boat going in the right direction. I have not come all this way to give up at the first hurdle. 

What made it even harder going was knowing the future forecast – I was not likely to have favourable winds until Tuesday!! Tuesday, it’s Saturday today!!

Anyway, crack on with it I did and decided to keep with the 2hrs on, 15mins off pattern. It was hard graft but would get the job done. I worked out that by breaking the day down into smaller goals made the whole thing much easier to cope with rather than thinking “I have to row like this till Tuesday.”

You can see from my tracker that I had to take a much more westerly route than I wanted, it was just too much throw into the wind.

As the day went on the wind direction remained, but dropped in strength so I was able to start coming a bit more south again. Problem was, as soon as I stopped rowing the boat would be blown west again, I was still rowing through treacle so I could only have short breaks or risk going way off course. 

I reckon I rowed about 19hrs of that 24hr period!! That’s not dipping your oar in rowing either, that’s hard core, get-your-back-into-it rowing. All this and I was making hardly any ground, I had a few moments during the hours of darkness I will admit. “What in earth am I doing here? How am I going to keep this up for 49 days? I will be out here all year if things don’t improve.” 

I have found something out about myself that I never knew! I am actually a morning person?!? Who would have thought it?

No matter what hours I have been doing during the night, my morning routine is now: 

  • Straight on the oars at 06.30 for a two hour shift, 
  • Stop for 15mins to get washed and changed into whatever I need for the day, 
  • Then start the next two hour shift feeling sorted and ready for the day. 

Sunrise is about 8am so I get to experience the whole thing on my first shift.

It’s amazing watching the sky turn from twinkling white lights to a lighter blue, as the stars start to switch off you can see where the sun will come up as the sky around turns pink. There are always a couple of stars that wait till the very last minute before switching off. Then when you think you must have missed it, pop, up it pokes from the horizon. I can immediately feel my shoulders loosen, my head clear and the whole epic task does not seem so daunting. 

I save a special treat for my afternoon break. My lovely friends Molly and Rosie have written me a letter for every one week I am at sea. Today is my one week anniversary, and it really was brilliant to open something from home. This one contains a song which I am recording for your entertainment!! Thank you so much girls you are amazing young ladies. Xxx

As the night set in I can see clouds forming all around me, and a few hundred miles to the north I can see flashes of lightning lighting the night sky. Thank god I not there, I think!! 

Oh yeah, nearly forgot – started listening to Gary Barlow audio book. It’s really good.

  1. Sonia Harding on January 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Keep going Dawn you are an inspiration to us Love Sonia & Clive Harding

  2. Paul Fisk on January 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Keep it going Dawny. Think of the bigger picture at the end and what you will have achieved both for your cause and more importantly for you !!! Maybe the dolphins will keep you company all the way to Barbados? ??????

  3. Bob tebby on January 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Let’s hope the wind gods turn in your favor.we as a family that now includes our daughter s and granddaughters are now following your every stroke .be lucky

  4. Christine Browne on January 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Dawn that must be really tough rowing like mad just to stay still but wind looks like it is more in your favour hopefully that will help you on your way . Must be wonderful to have the dolphins keeping you company . Keep up the good work xx

  5. Moonie. on January 15, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Dig in Dawny. Look how far you’ve come already. Amazing! We are right behind you willing you on. Keep on rowing ?? you’ve got this ????

  6. Trevor Pullum on January 15, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Love reading your blogs Dawn, keep them coming, keep up the great work, don’t forget to tale it all in and enjoy x

  7. Barbara Holmes on January 15, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Stay strong, stay focused and be lucky. May the wind gods be on your side. X

  8. Stacey C on January 16, 2019 at 8:10 am

    You went to do a talk about your row at my kids school St Joseph’s and ever since you have totally inspired my 5 year old son he now watches hours of you tube videos on the ocean and damage plastic is doing. He follows your blog and loves reading with me about your adventures. Keep strong you are inspiring many a young mind x

  9. Georgina Morlham on January 16, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Well done Dawn your determination and skill will get you there. So many people following you now more famous than Brexit !

Leave a Comment