Ross Johnson blog day 34
The daily routine is a well established affair now. As we close in on our final thousand miles our ability to manage our rowing, eating and sleeping has become much slicker. One key feature of your two hour rowing stint is the ‘watch glance’. The watch glance is a powerful mental tool, for good and bad, a morale boost when used correctly, if used foolishly it can utterly destroy you…. A standard ideal 2 hour stint goes like this: a cursory glance around the 1 hour mark, leaves you feeling good, you have broken the back of it and it’s downhill from here. Another glance about 40 mins later, good news, only 20 mins to push and the relief will be getting up soon, a further morale boost. From here it’s glances every 5 mins until relived, dive into your sleep routine before you repeat the whole process.
If however you fall outside these norms, then you are playing a very risky game my friend…. Leave it too late and the morale boost is immense. Thinking you are an hour in and seeing you only have 40 mins to push and you start pulling like a man possessed, convinced the finish line is in touching distance. Those 40 mins though become long and arduous, a false horizon if ever there were one. This however is much better than the worst possible scenario, the early glance. Expecting to be an hour in, misjudging it and seeing you have only done 40 mins literally saps your will to live. How can that be? My watch is wrong. It’s reset itself. It’s jumped a time zone. Was I relieved early? I’ve done more than 40 mins, this is bullshit. From there it’s a downward spiral of early checks that never ends, each one worse than the last. Aldo set a new record recently for glance misjudgment, he checked his watch after 12 minutes…. A look of horror filled his ginger bearded face as he realised the gravity of his error. I was 12 mins in and barely getting settled, blissfully unaware of the calamity he had just initiated. NOOOOO! He yelled out into the inky darkness of the cruel Atlantic, WHAT HAVE I DONE??? I obviously laughed my ass off and sailed through the remaining 108 mins in double time, knowing Aldo was 4 decades behind me, interstellar style. He’s still rowing that shift I believe.
The other time related process we are going through is our finish point. 40,30,20 days seems so far away, we each deal with it in our own way. Personally I believe we are getting relief troops in 7 days time. This is what I count down to. On the last day I will be told the helicopter has been delayed a week due to logistics, and to hang in there another 7 days. This is easy to process, it happened all the time in the Marines. After that it will be the last few days so sod it, we will be counting down in hours by then.
Day to day boat wise our water maker pretty much choked it’s last breath, the compressor pump was not happy and kept refusing to operate. A swift phone call back to the manufacturer via our Inmarsat sat phone (absolute godsend and neccessity) and we established the fault, broke out the tools and it now operates as if it was day 1 again. The sun is out, the wind has slightly picked up in our favour and we are back on track. Midday sessions have become unbearable due to the heat, even the early hours sessions in the pitch black are now topless affairs.
18 days left, we don’t count today tomorrow or the last 36 hours obviously, we are asleep for half of that so can take off 50%, another 15% for eating and changeovers, which means we should arrive last Tuesday. See you there!