Home The Race The Boat The Crew Sponsors Charity Support Events Blog & News Gallery Contact

Archive for June, 2009

Day 72 - Beaufort Scale

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Guy and Andrew have experienced a variety of wind strengths on their trip across the Indian Ocean. The measurement of these wind forces were made into an objective scale created in 1805 by Sir Francis Beaufort, an Irish-born British admiral.  Before this there was no standard scale, so naval weather reports were subjective.  The scale was made standard for ship’s log entries on Royal Navy vessels in the late 1830’s and adapted to non-naval use from the 1850’s.  In 1906 to accommodate the growth of steam power the descriptions changed to how the sea, not the sails, behaved.  The scale runs up to force 12, a hurricane.  

Guy and Andrew faced force 9 gusting 10, in the storm of May, which in the open ocean is seriously intense. ¬†These winds hit over 50 mph (45 knots) classified as a ‚Äústrong gale‚ÄĚ with wave heights over the top of a chimney on a two storey house. That storm created extensive damage when it hit land and meanwhile it had turned Southern Cross over for seven minutes on it‚Äôs path through the fleet. ¬†The trend for the wind at this point will be more with them than against, more commonly being under ¬†force 3-4 which is just about rowable depending on which direction that it comes from. However, the possibility of a severe storm does still exist, either coming up from the Southern ocean or a tropical cyclone down from the equator. ¬†Lets hope that all the crews continue to face calmer seas with favourable winds and currents for the remainder of their row to Mauritius. ¬†If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below, we’ll endeavour to get back to you directly.

Flying Ferkins Support Crew out.

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 71 - Rolling over 2000 nm

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Good positive attitude onboard Flying Ferkins for the start of a new week as the boys¬†approach the¬†big 2000nm.¬†Presently in a South Easterly wind giving them a good rolling sea. Due to these favourable conditions Andrew and Guy have driven some good mileage Sunday. If conditions hold we should get another good day today! The boys beaten the 80 longitude mark and continue to count down the degree’s [77¬†longitude as I write this]. Each degree is one step towards Mauritius and remains a great motivational tool.

Some lovely comments and a few very, very funny comments! Please, please keep them coming bloggers. If you haven’t blogged for a while then get busy with the comments.

Distance made west:

Fri 26th        23nm

Sat 27th        45nm

Sun 28th 39nm

Mon 29th 42nm

Tom out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 70 - Gone But Remembered Forever!

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Hi everyone,Strange mix of weather we are experiencing at the moment.¬† We can go from small seas with the sun out to stormy conditions and really strong wind requiring the para anchor, which is frustrating.¬† The sun is out at the moment which makes a nice change.Both Andy and myself have been saddened to learn of the death of Jackson.¬† We took a fair bit of his stuff on the i-Pods and have been playing it today which has been strange.¬† My favourite song is Dirty Diana which I reckon is a classic, he will be missed but his music will last forever.Thank you again to everyone for your messages of support particularly of late¬†Mark C, Moses and Neil Tutton.¬† The have lifted our mood lately and¬†remind us¬†that we are doing the right thing.Also whilst writing I would like to encourage everyone back home following our progress to get involved in this year’s Barns Green half marathon which is becoming something of a tradition in the Watts household and both Andy and myself have done it in recent years, even carrying an inflatable boat to raise money for the cause.¬† We would love as many people as possible to have a go at it later this year and hope to get a good turnout with a big meal to follow as usual.Andy and¬†I did a food stock take earlier only to¬†discover that our supply of flap jacks have gone mouldy early today which we are both upset about as they are a rare treat.That’s about all for now, but thank you all as ever we appreciate your thoughts and messages of support - they are very much keeping us going.See you all soon

Guy out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 69 - The Story of the Ferkin

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Hi Guys,

We continue to make steady progress and are both in good spirits.  I thought I would take the chance to let people know a bit more about the Ferkin and the all important team who built her.  When we first decided to undertake this crazy challenge the Ocean Rowing Club suggested we speak to Charlie at Rossiters Yachts of Christchurch.  We made an appointment and went along to meet Charlie and the other members of the very friendly family run business.  Andy and I were amazed by what we saw and Charlie showed us other yachts built for ocean rowing.  The Ferkin is made from a Carbon Kevlar mix which has the all important qualities of being both strong and light, both critical for the high seas expected during the challenge.

So far the Ferkin has not let us down and despite some initial teething problems she is our trusted friend in which we have placed our faith.  She may even be in a good enough state to undertake another challenge, although not by us!

To find out more about Rossiters and even see some pictures of the Ferkin please visit the website:

www.rossiteryachts.co.uk

Back to the rowing then and from both of us thank you to Rossiters - you know how to build a boat.

Guy out.

As today’s blog has been about the history of Flying Ferkins I thought it might be an opportune moment to tell you where her name comes from.¬† Andrew’s Dad had a speed boat when Andrew was quite young,¬† and he called it The Flying Ferkins.¬† Andrew has given the name Flying Ferkins, with the generous support of Guy, to this amazing boat in memory of his father.

Claire out.

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 68 - ‘We’ve got a good thing going…..’

Friday, June 26th, 2009

We’re both chilled and mileage is picking up - looks good for the next few days and we are looking forward to the south easterlys taking us north west.

We’ve seen a few ships on the horizon recently so we know we’re not entirely alone,¬† and it’s been great to talk to Simon Prior who’s on board Desiderata.

We have received the shock news that the legend Michael Jackson is no longer……………………………all tributes and jokes to the blog please!!

Andrew out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 67 - Off the Para Anchor

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Another frustrating day on board Flying Ferkins. Although good news is that they¬†came off the para anchor this morning [Woo hooo]. Surface wind and swell making it hard for¬†Andrew & Guy to row. Nothing the boys can do but be patient and sit it out. Hopefully good progress will start up again tomorrow. Congratulations to boat 88 Aud Eamus on reaching the shores of Mauritius! Also, a big thank you to Simon Prior’s dad for emailing some very kind words across to the boys. Although this is a race everyone has been so supportive of each other.

Please keep your comments coming. If you are reading this blog and haven’t commented yet then please register. Every single message makes a difference to¬†Andrew and Guy !

Distance made West:

Thurs 3nm

Tom out.

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 66 - Chatting to Simon Prior

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Conditions light at present although still a strong swell which is stopping Flying Ferkins going West. Winds South Westerley. Andrew & Guy presently sitting on the para anchor holding position. They will head West when they can. Boys have called and spoken to Simon Prior onboard the¬†Woodvale support vessel Desiderata. By all accounts they enjoyed speaking to each other.¬†More excitement onboard Flying Ferkins as they saw a ship last night. The ship was 4 miles away. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) proximity alarm worked well to notify them along with their ’see me’ active radar reflector. They had a brief radio conversation with the boat and then watched the boat disappear into the distance.

Distance made West:

Tue 49nm

Wed 27nm

Tom out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 65 - The Para Anchor

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The para (parachute) anchor is a vital piece of equipment for trans oceanic passages. It is a large drogue deployed at varying depths to hold you in the current either assisting with the current or stopping you being blown in the wrong direction by your windage. A typical one is here, for sale in a chandlery.You use it on the end of a very long line, which itself has some slight spring to it, and it sits two or three sets of waves to windward of you. At your end it’s attached to a bridal, a piece of rope which comes from a couple of places either side of the boat to spread the load rather than forcing a lot of load on one point and holding the boat evenly. It was this bridal that broke on ‘Doing Time’ earlier in the race, which led to their para anchor being lost.

You can change the angle of deployment by tweaking the lines, to anchor in an area of water below the surface current, which can move at about 1:25 - 1:50 of the wind speed and combined with the windage this is something that Flying Ferkins may want to avoid. However, if the wind is pushing them in a favourable direction, Flying Ferkins can simply drift with it, and in more extreme conditions, they use a very small drogue off the back end so that they do not go down face of the waves, which can be quite dangerous.

The para anchor is so efficient that it is very difficult to retrieve, so a trip line is fitted, and when you pull it in by one corner it becomes deflated. When the boys use the para anchor they will check their direction of drift hourly, have all rope points and knots taped up so that they do not wear in the friction and be ready to row again when ever they can!

Flying Ferkins Support Crew out.

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 64 - Minimising Drift

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Andrew & Guy continue to make progress having been on the para anchor for a day. They are using the para anchor to minimise drifting in the wrong direction. The boys have been making a North-West direction under heavy Southerly winds. Both the wind and heavy swell are dictating the North West direction! Mood remains positive onboard.

The boys managed to get a mention on EAGLE radio’s breakfast show (96.4 fm)¬†this morning.Thank you to DJ’s Peter Gordon & Posh Al and Amanda and staff at Christopher Robins nursery.

Distance made West:

Fri 51nm
Sat 43nm
Sun -2nm
Mon 23nm

Tom out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.

Day 63 - Eye of the Storm

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Hi Guys

Interesting day struggling with big seas.  We spent the morning watching ships and waiting to see what the weather did.  We had to get the drove out (giant sock) to hold the boat in line with the waves rather than allow them to hit us side on which is very dangerous in deep seas.  We are experiencing pretty strong winds which is forcing us south, in fact the conditions are such that we have had the para anchor out and are using the time to get some sleep.  I went out of the cabin earlier to check the weather and got very wet.  We have been close to the eye of the storm and its been a strange sky with one side of us clear and the other full of intense clouds.

It’s fairly none-eventful waiting for the wind to change and the storm to pass but we have got signs that it is finally shifting direction and in fact I did a rowing set earlier which was nice as we got moving.¬† Andy is currently rowing and enjoying surfing the waves!¬† We are going to keep an eye on the weather but is looks unlikely that we will be rowing tonight as it will be too dangerous.¬† Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

Cheers guys.

Guy out

Click here to donate money for the fight against the spread of male cancers and support Orchid, the boys chosen charity.

To follow our progress please go to the official Woodvale Challenge site.