I ended the last blog saying Saturday was very uneventful, well I will wait to the end of the day in the future.  Shortly after that blog we did an inspection of the Auto Helm because it started to play up again.  Niall noticed that the bolt that secures the rudder to the arm and retains it from falling out of the bottom of the boat had sheared (I think this is Rose's idea of an April fools day prank) We we still in a relatively big swell so getting off the boat to secure the rudder was not possible.  I decided to take responsibility for this task of removing the broken bolt and inserting a replacement.  You may remember my earlier Facebook post during prep week where something similar happened before we put the boat in the water.  Replacement of the arm and bolt then on land was tricky enough and that's without the ocean moving the rudder back and forth whilst you are working on it.  I also took the opportunity to fit some additional strengthening brackets that Ben from Bluewater Algarve made us (Thanks Ben the spares came in very handy).  During the time to do the repairs I was thinking, if I messed up and the rudder fell into the ocean, how would I break the news to the crew?! All I can say is it was nerve racking but turned out okay in the end.

Once this was completed we were straight back onto the oars for another 2hr watch.  I can say that after rowing for 2hrs, then fixing the rudder and rowing again with no sleep was exhausting during the peak heat of the day.

During our off watch Ralph spotted a fin in the water about 50m away there was a 4m shark.  So happy that we did not go in the water to fix the rudder.  He kept trying to reassure me of the odds of getting bitten in the open ocean but I was not convinced.

Throughout the last 4 days we had really struggled to do more 1.5 - 2.2knts which was getting extremely frustrating.  During the peak hours of the day 11:00-16:00 the sun was blistering hot and we had very little breeze.
We were becoming more exhausted from trying to make the boat go faster and I hit a mental wall in the same way marathon runners do.  To add to the pain my iPhone started to play up and the new apple controversial headphone adapter had failed, meaning that my headphones no longer work.  I was prepared for my Spotify account to stop in about 12 days and prevent playing offline music but not for me to lose access to music with 16 days to go.

During the night watch I fell asleep due to the natural rocking motion, darkness and silence.  A flying fish hit Niall in the face and another landed inside a plastic bottle.

On Sunday we continued to row at slow speeds and discussed how we could see the record chances slipping away.  The conditions should be perfect to achieve much higher speeds but we could not work out why we were so slow despite put bags of effort into the rowing sessions.

On Monday with the shark now a distant memory we decided to check the hull of Rose with a go pro.  In inspection there was a significant amount of barnacle growth attached to the hull.  So Niall and Clément stripped off, attached safety lines and dived into the ocean to clean barnacles from Roses bottom.  It seems that I am currently the only member on this trip that is not suffering in that area.

With Boat speed back to 3.5 -4knts the morale was on a high again and we feel like there is still a chance to break the record.  Wish us luck!!!!


Shocking fact I learnt today

- 14 people in the UK die from a brain tumour every day, over 5,000 every year

Please remember whilst I am taking the time to update you on our Adventure there are others that need our support.  Please can you find the time to spread the word and show your support by making a donation to one of the charities I have chosen to support.

How the funds make a difference to @BrainTumourOrg :
£250 could cover a day of research for one of our leading brain tumour researchers to further the understanding of a particular type of brain tumour to provide more targeted treatments.

£2000 allows a clinical trials nurse to spend a month managing essential research to launch safe, effective new treatments.

£5000 could fund one Family Day, giving 60 children with brain tumours and their families a fun and supportive day out together.

https://colinblears.com/challenges/#atlanticrow

Also please can you follow me on twitter @Cblears so you can stay updated with this and future challenges.