Day 12 – Supporting the man behind (or in front)

The crews continue to exemplify toughness by maintaining their excellent pace and at the time of posting there is less than one nautical mile in the difference between the crews distance to Barbados. Cockleshell Endeavour continue to take the slightly more northerly (and direct) route. Atlantic Dagger are a little further to the south. Common wisdom would suggest that this puts Atlantic Dagger is a slightly better position as the stronger following weather is normally present further to the south. Also the impact of any low pressure systems blowing past the crews would be less if they were further south. This year has been anything but normal though with the trade winds significantly lighter than average. Of course weather and route selection isn’t the only factor the crews are managing.

We’ve already spoken about the boat design and highlighted that the boats are of identical hull shape; the bit that goes in the water. They also have nearly identical cabin shapes; the bit that goes above the water. The boats also carry identical equipment, food and water. So any difference in boat speed is down to the crew’s ability, strength and skill at maximising the weather conditions. This can be making the best of the good, but also making the best of the bad.

It is obviously physically tough and demanding to row for 12 hours a day, taking moments to rest and sleep when you can. Imagine the mental toll taken on the individuals in each crew. Being hundreds of miles from land. Thousands of miles from loved ones and family, which can be especially tough at this time of year. I know I get a bit cranky if I have a bad night sleep but never having the option to hit snooze and roll over makes it all the worse. The thing which will get the crews through the challenge will undoubtedly be the thought of letting down their team. Of not fully supporting and backing up the man next to them (on more accurately in ocean rowing it’s about the man in front of or behind them). This is what makes a crew or a team strong. It’s not in the individual capacity of their captain but in the willingness of every member of the crew to dig out blind to help their fellow crewmates. This is why we do not have any concerns with in this regard for the crews of the Mission Atlantic 2021. To a man they are exceptional and will look after each other at every opportunity.

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