Hello everyone from the Atlantic at long last! We've survived our first day at sea!
After some emotional farewells to the rest of the fleet race start was quite surreal. We'd obviously been waiting for it for so long, and when it finally came it didn't feel real. There was a great atmosphere while we were all waiting for the countdown, lots of banter between the crews which is brilliant fun - and which will continue while we are at sea via our satellite phones. The flag was lowered and we were off, we had a good start towards the front and immediately headed away from the island and the tides. It felt amazing to be off after so many delays and straight away we got into a rhythm, all those hours training on the Bristol docks obviously paid off! Within an hour the fleet was totally scattered, some choosing to stay inland and others out with us, I knew we would all separate fairly quickly but I was amazed at quite how quickly it happened, considering there are 30 boats in the race. After an hour or so we saw some dolphins which was the icing on the cake, we jokingly said if everyday was like that we'd be laughing!
And as so often happens at sea things changed against us very quickly once night fell. There hadn't been much breeze but it suddenly got up to at least a force 5 from the West, not good when we were trying to head South West. It was creating a fairly big sea, also from the West, with some large breakers. A few of these caught us and soaked us to the skin while we desperately tried to battle on South, we were making painfully slow progress and being pushed East the whole time, was a very good lesson in the fact that you can't control the weather though! We battled on all night but at dawn when things hadn't improved we decided to put the para anchor out and have a bit of a rest. Almost as soon as we did that the wind changed again though and moved to the North, so we were back out there, the wind had died a bit and we had a following sea so conditions were good, boat speed was over 5 knots when surfing.
And things have continued to die down all day, there's very little wind now and the sea has calmed down, it's easier in some ways but I'd rather have more wind in the right direction. It has given us a chance to get into life on the boat though, we had lots of housework to do after soaking so much of our kit and we've already broken one of our footstraps which we've had to fix. Annie also cooked an amazing lunch of chicken and vegetable pasta! I feel a bit tired as I haven't slept yet and my back and hands hurt, but all that's to be expected and we just have to work through it. We've set ourselves a bit of a grueling watch system too, both of us will row 16 hours a day each rather than the usual 12, this is to get us as far down South as quickly as possible to avoid any more weather systems heading this way.
Well I'm off to get some rest before going back to the blades, will blog again v soon
P.S. We have been clipped on at all times, those of you who made us swear we would!