MONMOUTH Rowing Club’s Elaine Theaker and Dingestow crew mate Huw Carden are still battling horrendous conditions in the Pacific with their Team FlyinFish boat.
While some boats in the ‘World’s Toughest Row Pacific’ have already finished the 2,800-mile California to Hawaii crossing, the five-man crew who set off on June 12 are still mid-ocean, having spent five days at para anchor without a rudder before managing to replace it.
Hampshire crew mate Andy Warner – like retired Abergavenny solicitor Elaine a veteran of crossing the Atlantic – posted on Sunday: “I wish you all could just experience the crazy two hours me and Neil (Blackeby)_ just had on the oars on the 11pm to 1am stint...
“Toughest row? OMG yes! We’ve had it all in the last two hours’ assault on the senses. We are in converging currents, which means messy seas coupled with a fierce wind.
“We are trying to keep a 250 degree course, with the wind behind us, then for no reason the boat goes it’s own way on Gulliver’s Travels to 270 degrees, leaving us beam on to some pretty big freight trains known as waves.
“We handed over from skip Ali (Wannell) and Elaine who had done an excellent job with the conditions and got 5.5 nautical miles on their two hours, so me and Neil jump on the oars and before you know it were doing up to 4.2 knots when it’s pitch black.
“No point of reference, it looks like you are doing warp speed to the point of being quite scary, then one of those dirty side winders came through the deck and give Neil a taste of salt water by the ton.
“The madness some time subsided to a pedestrian 3 knots which allowed a breather before the wind picked up and once again we were off like a bat of hell to a top speed of 4.7 knots, straight into a heavy squall, now blinded by rain and still going at a fair lick.
“This was some wild ride, with a sting in the tail when another side winder wave bashed the side of the boat whipping the oar with it, throwing me off the seat (again) and pinning me against the safety lines.
“That was the wildest sesh on this trip so far... it’s (also) getting hotter than hell during the day now we are in more southern latitudes.”
You can keep up to speed with Team FlyinFish’s progress at www.worldstoughestrow.com, on their YouTube channel and www.facebook.com/TeamFlyinFish/
To support their charities, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/flyin-fish1 – Air Ambulance – and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rowflyinfish – SSAFA.