Day 2 – Running on rails

After all the excitement and adrenaline of the first day at sea it’s only natural that the crews start to bed down into the serious job of rowing the Atlantic. The minor aches, pains and blistered hands will start to make apparent the scale of the task being undertaken. As long as they open up their chart from the eastern side of things they’ll be okay. Seeing the huge swath of ocean already crossed it incredibly inspirational. But open the chart from the West Indian side of things and the emotional roller coaster can derail the most determined individual.

The crews continue to enjoy lighter than average winds and remain on their course for their first waypoints. The crews have marked on their charts a number of waypoints to head towards on their journey. As soon as they get within a hundred or so miles of a waypoint they will then turn their focus to the next point in line. Always looking forwards but not too far. Despite rowing in two identical boats the crews do appear to have a slightly different steering style. Some boats (not the ones the crews are racing in) use an autohelm to keep the crew on course. This is a GPS / compass steered engine which moves the rudder every few seconds to ensure that the boat in pointing in the right direction. Both our crews rely on foot steering. The rower nearest the front of the boat (bow) uses their pivoting right foot to steer the boat using two thin ropes / lines which run the length of the boat and are attached to the rudder. Pull the line on the port side of the rudder and the boat will move to port . Pull on the starboard side and the boat moves to starboard. This simple system saves the challenge of the fragile autohelm breaking or overheating and the huge power drain on the boat’s electrical system which having an electrical motor active all day and night has on the system.

Looking at the track generated by Cockleshell Endeavour it is dead straight. We’re beginning to wonder if they’re not running on rails. We have no idea of how they’re achieving such an accurate course but it can’t hurt their speed, and thus far it certainly seems to be doing anything but as they have, so far, been going a little bit further in each 24 hour period than Atlantic Dagger….so far.

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