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Day 102 - Is that land we see?

July 30th, 2009

Hello from Mauritius [yee haa], well what a day awaits us all.  Andrew and Guy continue to row Flying Ferkins towards the finish line.  Presently 30nm from the official Woodvale finish line they have reported they can see land.  Spirit on board is high and mood fantastic with the finish line in site.

Bloggers keep those positive comments coming!

John Plank, part of the team who created and maintain this website wrote to the Prime Minister recently to make him aware of the race and the charities that are supported by the rowers.

This is his reply:

Claire, Tina, Nigel, John, Tom, Sarah, Gem, Dione & Mose 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 101 - Title sponsor MSS - Guest Blog

July 29th, 2009

As the boys draw closer to their ultimate goal, I look back at our experience as Team MSS main sponsor and what it means to us.

Guy and Andrew approached us by chance at IMPA shipping conference only in September last year, where MSS exhibit their trade of ship supplies to the marine industry. They were in desperate need of sponsorship for all the equipment for the Flying Ferkins. They saw that we supplied a lot of equipment to commercial shipping and by chance that sort of product crossed over to what they required.

After some smooth talking from them to our director Ricki, she came back and told me about the project. At first it went in one ear and out of the other, that was that, but as I would later find out, Guy and Andrew are persistent buggers ! After telling them to send through a list and I’ll see what we could do, the guy’s sent through everything including the kitchen sink, but, because they were so infectious with their passion and commitment for the project, how could anyone really refuse ?

So, Team MSS was born and I can honestly say that it has been one of the most valued and exciting events I have been involved in. Thankfully only some of the equipment has been used, why, because most of it is the safety items that the boys need to carry in case of any emergency, ensuring that they return safely! On the up side, knowing that we supplied things such as the Sat phone mean the boys can give us all the update which everyone has enjoyed so much.

I have only known the guys for a short space of time compared to most of the other bloggers, but I’m sure we will be lifelong friends, hopefully finding another challenge for them to do in the future, as can anyone see them pen pushing for the next few years….I think not !!!!!

Mike 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 100 - Greg Searle MBE

July 28th, 2009

Wow Andrew and Guy have been 100 days at sea! They have made some amazing progress over the last few days as can be clearly seen from the Woodvale news. Flying Ferkins managed a 449 distance from finish over the 7 days between 19th and 26th July. An average daily distance from finish of 64nm [wooohooo]. Conditions ok and boys remain in confident mood. Eating well and maintaining good sleep patterns.

Andrew witnessed a smaller whale whilst rowing yesterday. The whale circled Flying Ferkins and then headed off towards Mauritius from the bow.

Fantastic to receive the following message from Greg Searle MBE. Greg Searle is an Olympic gold medalist, winning the coxed pairs event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

“To Guy and Andrew, Good luck with your race across the Indian Ocean. It sounds like an amazing challenge and something that will make you very proud if you can do it. I hope it goes well!” Greg Searle

Distance made West:

Monday 20th July 49nm
Tuesday 21st 50nm
Wednesday 22nd 65nm
Thursday 23rd 66nm
Friday 24th 70nm
Saturday 25th 55nm
Sunday 26th 50 nm
Monday 27th 33nm

Please keep those comments coming fellow blog friends. We have to beat our own record of 36 comments!

Tom (flying to Mauritius today) 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 99 - Live from the Grand Baie Yacht Club

July 27th, 2009

Well we have arrived - Tina, Nigel, Claire and John!!¬† The flight was good, it’s a long way here and we could say we feel we’ve rowed it at the moment……….but unlike Guy and Andrew we have lagers in our hands and are starting to feel quite chilled!¬† It has absolutely chucked it down since John and I arrived this lunchtime but we now sit at the Yacht club watching a flat calm see feeling the suns efforts on our backs - it’s warm and humid.

It’s quite a poignant site seeing Boats Nos 3, 5 and 13 bobbing around on the shoreline and really strange since we last saw them in Australia.

We believe the boys have slowed down a bit today due to a change in the wind conditions but all is well on board and they are really looking forward to the end.

Advanced welcoming party 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 98 - Rossiters & Flying Ferkins Guest Blog

July 26th, 2009

Greetings dot-watchers!

We were delighted to be asked to do a guest blog spot for Flying Ferkins.

Earlier blogs have already told you a bit about the boat. It is a Phil Morrison design. Phil is a top notch sailing boat designer, as well as a top notch bloke. He has been responsible for a large proportion of the ocean rowing boats and Flying Ferkins is built to the design that he generously place in the public domain.

The boat is a bit shorter than the original Chay Blyth plywood boats. It is 7.3metres long by 1.85metres beam and draws about 300mm. The rudder increases draft to 600mm and is quite the most vulnerable part of the boat when close to the shore. The rudder on Flying Ferkins is controlled by ropes connected to one of the foot plates of the forward rowing position.

The all up weight of the boat can be up to a tonne when fully loaded - depending on the provisions. So you eat as well as row your way across the ocean.

There is a cabin at each end - the aft cabin is just about long enough for Andrew & Guy to stretch out, even at their great heights. I suppose it is about the same size as a small 2 man tent. The forward cabin is much smaller and intended for stores, though I have heard reports of smaller rowers sleeping in it. The cabins are also key to the boat’s self righting capabilities. When capsized the boat floats on the cabins, but unstably so that any movement will cause the boat to flip back the right way up.

The project started for us in January last year when Andrew & Guy first contacted us by email. It really got going on the 9th February when the dynamic duo came down to the yard and against my better judgement I posed for some cheesy photographs with them in front of the mould, a set of drawings etc. While we were getting started on Flying Ferkins they saw quite a bit of ‘Shackleton’ the boat we were building at the time for Lorenzo - this ‘ocean rowing boat’ has an engine and sails as well as oars and is currently enjoying the Songefjord in Norway. They were able to resist the temptation of alternative means of propulsion - though I wonder how often they might have wished for them during this phenomenal row?

While we will of course be very pleased when Guy & Andrew reach Mauritius, it will be a strange sensation not to have a dot to follow across the Indian Ocean after all this time!

Charlie & the team at Rossiters 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 97 - Staying Focused

July 25th, 2009

Hey Guys,

With under 300 miles to go Andy and I are in high spirits as we are starting to allow ourselves to think about how nice it will be seeing everyone on dry land.  It seems strange that our plans for this voyage began over 2 years ago and only now are we starting to realise just how far we have come.  We remain focused however and we do not intend to back off during these final few days, after all there is a World Record at stake!

We are both very proud to have contributed towards the work of Orchid and their efforts in the fight against male cancers.  Our thanks go out to everyone who has sponsored us but remember its still not too late and you will find the link below sends you to our sponsorship pages.  We have realised that anything is possible and together we can all help improve the lives of others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

I had a strange experience this morning which was a definite sign that we are approaching land.  Whilst rowing a strange white parrot like bird flew over head and it was really nice to see some exotic wildlife.

As ever thanks to everyone, the hammer is down and we’re coming home!

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 96 - Architectural Plants Guest Blog

July 24th, 2009

Guy’s brother Tom¬†has asked me to write something about Guy, our relationship with him and his precocious propensity for extreme physical exertion…

Guy used to visit our nursery in Nuthurst with his parents Tina and Nigel and by the age of 16 had approached us for some holiday work on the nursery. Such a pleasant and fresh faced youth had to be given a chance but nothing had prepared us for the sheer gusto with which he threw himself into his work. Whether it was potting on plants, tidying the nursery, making observations about the business or just being incredibly friendly, everything was done with extra extra enthusiasm. Needless to say, everyone adored him and the question “Is Guy coming back this year?” was on many people’s lips. He came and went through school holidays, gap years and university vacations but eventually, after his graduation from Bournemouth, tearful and final good-byes were made as Guy went off to start his ‘proper job’ in London. Final good-byes, my eye! He was back three weeks later mouthing oaths about how awful it had been in the city and demanding a permanent position at Architectural Plants. It took about a minute and a half to negotiate terms and conditions. I just said yes to everything.

Guy’s infectious enthusiasm and tendency to be highly productive was great but it was his interest and grasp of business that attracted me most. Often we used to meet up on the nursery and have our little philosophical chats about life, the universe and everything but there was one particular observation he made, aged about 18, that intrigued me. “Angus, maybe you could explain something to me. You seem to be incredibly well organised here and do everything well but almost every other job I’ve ever had has been at places that seem incredibly inefficient and badly organised. How come they manage to survive?” I answered him then and I’d answer him now : “Guy, I’m 40 years older than you and I haven’t got the faintest idea”. Only an exceptional young person would have noticed such a thing and would have asked such a question. The boy will go far.

Back to extreme physical stuff. I fear that Guy and Andy’s current predicament of being stuck in uncooperative currents in the middle of the Indian Ocean could be partly my fault. When he was working here full time after abandoning his first proper job in London and knowing that he ‘quite liked going for runs and bike rides’, I told him about a rather unlikely sponsorship deal I’d agreed with a chap called Stuart Turnbull. Stuart and his friend Ed Baylis, for reasons best known to themselves, wanted to buy a boat and row it from La Gomera in the Canaries to Antigua in the Caribbean and they needed some dosh to do it. Sponsorship is just another way of advertising one’s company and we’d often been asked to sponsor under 14 football teams which I’d always rejected due to an absence of interest in football but two loonies who wanted to row across the Atlantic Ocean with ‘Architectural Plants’ plastered down one side of their little boat? Irresistible. Right up my street. But it was Guy’s reaction to this news (that I thought might be of a mere, fleeting interest to him) that caught me out. His eyes became wider than I’d ever seen them before, there was a massive in-take of breath and all of you who know Guy can imagine his retort - “Oh God I’d absolutely LOVE to do something like that!”. Oh no, what had I done? His poor parents! It seems that mad look in his eyes never left.

That was in 2005. It wasn’t long after that, that I was made aware of the fact that there were stirrings in the rowing department. Guy had even found a friend called Andy who apparently shared his ambition to do something balmy in a rowing boat. In the meantime, further evidence of Guy’s desire to push himself to the edge came in the build-up to the Iron Man competition - preparations for which we were always kept closely abreast of - and an incident in Tuscany on a plant buying trip in 2006. It was just before Christmas and dark when we checked into our hotel in Montecatini Terme. We pointed out some of the sites including the original little medieval hill town - Montecatini Alto - that hovers over 1,000 ft above the spa town where we stayed. “Cor, I’d really like to run up there”. “Don’t be silly Guy - it’s over a thousand feet up, pitch dark and pouring with rain. You’d never find your way up or down and you’d probably die anyway” we all said in a vain attempt to dissuade him. “Go and have a nice bath in your room and we’ll all meet in the foyer for supper at 7.30″. He was there in the foyer at 7.30 all right. A little pinker than usual but full of beans and bursting to tell us about¬†scrabbling up and then down a mountain in the dark and wet and back to the hotel in time for tea and how much fun it was. We sat listening with our mouths open. At last, the penny had dropped. Guy’s nuts. Then he did it again the following evening before supper. Took the road this time - a steep series of hairpins making a round trip to the village and back of about 12 miles. Before tea. You can imagine after reading this how I was going to react when the inevitable question came. I had no choice. “Angus….. we think we’ve found a boat and think we’d quite like to row it across the Indian Ocean through 40 ft waves and hurricane force winds. Can we have some money please?” Rarely have I handed over several thousand quid to anyone with such alacrity. I’d built up an enormous affection and admiration for Guy over the years and I hope I’d always encouraged him in his deranged enterprises. Did I really mean it when I tried to talk him out of running up to Montecatini Alto on a horrible wet night? Of course not - I’d have been bloody furious if he hadn’t. Adventure, whether physical or mental must be encouraged and I’m very proud to have played a little bit in assisting these two in their’s. To some lesser mortals, I might point out - “It doesn’t all end in Mauritius you know”. These two know that, so I wouldn’t bother.

Angus White, Owner

Architectural Plants Ltd

Day 95 - Keeping up the pressure!

July 23rd, 2009

We’re really so pleased to be making such fast progress all spirits are high on Flying Ferkins.¬† The mileage not as good today as we were caught in a current that tried to send us south, but we’re back on track and we are still ahead of Southern Cross which is the main thing.

No we can’t smell food on land yet! But the closer we get to land the more bird life is appearing¬† - I believe there are lots of birds on Mauritius - an Albatross would be good to see -¬† so if we get time we could do a bit of twitching!!

We both keep thinking of all the things we need bought out to Mauritius - it’s struck us how little we’ve got on board especially clothes!

Thank you again to everyone who has given so generously to Orchid, we are amazed at the total - nearly ¬£5,000 that’s fantastic.¬† Looking forward to thanking everyone personally for all the amazing support we’re getting it really has helped to keep us going.

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 94 - The Home Stretch!

July 22nd, 2009

Hey Guys,

Hope all you bloggers are well. As you know we are now under the 450nm mile mark and absolutely thrilled to be on the home stretch.  Andy and I are enjoying the rowing conditions which are relatively calm with the weather a big improvement on the storms we have experienced over the last 3 months.

Andy and I have now broken into our last pack of Haribo and have some meals coming up which we have been saving as special treats.¬† Can’t tell you how much we are looking forward to standing on dry land although we both have some strange feelings and are coming to terms with the journey’s end being in sight.

As ever thank you for the messages of support which keep rolling in.¬† Particularly of late I would like to mention Gareth [looking forward to meeting Max!]¬†Evans, I’m sure I’ll be popping into Paragon to say hello to you guys. Also, a big thank you to everyone¬†making generous Orchid donations¬†Patricia Law, Mary Pascoe, Michael Fillery, John Leiper, Deirdre Pope, Dione Calnan and Frances Bryan to name a few.¬† I have asked Mum and Dad¬†to bring my laptop out with them so I hope to be e-mailing as soon as I have it set up.

Better get back to it, although these long stints are not helping our sore bots!

Thanks again and keep the comments coming.

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 93 - 500nm push is on!

July 21st, 2009

Hello it’s me thought I’d do my bit of the blog today together with my list of things to bring out!

All is good on Flying Ferkins, we’ve been making good ground putting in the hours rowing, we’re burning the miles rowing to the 500 mark as quick as we can and ready to push from there.¬† The food consumption is around 6000 calories a day and the rations are looking good¬† and we’ve had some good sleep.¬† The weather is looking good for the week and our spirits are high.

We heard a whale last night blowing through his blow hole couldn’t see him though but he was very close,¬† quite eerie it was very calm last night light and variable conditions - so that was quite exciting.¬† At first we couldn’t work out where he was coming from.

Chorlty I blundered Alan Partridge is not on the iPod - I will make up for it by watching him when I get back!!¬† Is it really Cowes week soon……………….!

Thank you everyone for all your support it’s really keeping us going especially when the conditions have been awful.¬† Not a lot else to report so I will give you my list of things to bring - Mum Angel cake please, family size of course, in your hand at the finishing line!!

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.