Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Back home

Hi everyone,

Sorry it's taken so long for me to reply but yes, i am back at home now. After reaching dry land on the 25th June, I stayed in Mauritius for a week and then flew back to the UK. I have slowly been adjusting to being back on dry land, walking and generally being around people again. The change has been tougher than i thought as life is totally different to on the boat!

Apart from being physically and mentally exhausted, i also lost quite a bit weight so have been enjoying eating non-dehydrated food and have put it all back on very quickly. As i had put a lot on before i went i lost around 20kgs in weight. I am now back to normal and regaining some fitness and strength. Most people don't realise how weak you are when you finish and think you should be very fit but it's the opposite. You're fitness increases for the first few weeks but after that the 12 hours of rowing and the conditions slowly break your body down and there is huge muscle wastage. Thankfully the rowing muscles are still kind of there and i have already had my first race of the sprint season! You can't keep me out of a boat for long. I still have a few issues with ligament and nerve damage in my fingers and hands and my bum hasn't fully recovered either but generally i am in good health. In fact, everyone was surprised how well i looked when we finished (excluding the weight loss which was soon sorted out by the hotel's breakfast buffet!).

I kept a diary whilst on the boat and in due course will post more about the row and all the drama but until then can i just say thank you for all the support over the last 4 months, not only for me but also for the people left behind. Adventures like this are often harder on family and friends than the actual competitors with the constant worry and fear - we just get on with it!

Thank you again


Thursday, 25 June 2009


We are delighted to say that Helen will be arriving in Mauritius around 7pm local time which is approx 4pm GMT. They are at present 28 miles out and rowing like madmen/women to make it back before dark and to celebrate Simon girlfriend's Charlie's 21st birthday which is today. Happy birthday Charlie!!!
Last minute preparations are now being made at the local yacht club to celebrate their arrival. TV crews are on standby and boats being ordered to go and greet them once they have passed the finish line.
EXCITING OR WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All friends and relatives are frantically buying goodies for the crew to enjoy and we have champagne on ice.
This will be the last blog from us and we will hand back to Helen to update you further.
We personally would like to thank all friends, family and all for their fantastic support over the past few months. It has been a comfort to know so many people have been looking out for her.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
PS Happy 50th birthday Lynda - have a drink when we get back.

Mum & Dad signing off xxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 20 June 2009


We will be leaving on Monday from Heathrow to fly to Mauritius. Arrival should be around 9.30am on 23rd which will be approx 5.30GMT. We are enhoping Helen will be arriving somewhere around 26th/27th June.
We had a call from her this morning and she seemed very down as the combination of wind and waves had been soaking the crew every 15 seconds for approx 2 days. With no dry clothes, cabin floor wet, the Indian Ocean is not a very nce place to be! Only 350nm to go and these last few miles are obviously going to be as tough and demanding as the previous 2,800 miles. All the crew are now calling on their last reserves of energy and it's only sheer determination and bloody mindedness that is keeping them going. They will fight to the end to achieve their ambition.
Helen told us this morning that they are now rowing 3 up again with 1 steering to try and get some rest and sleep to refresh them for the last few days push to the finish.
Please keep your messages coming through. Thank you to everyone who has given us cards, letters to take out to her.
Now that this extradordinary journey is nearly over please don't forget that Helen is trying to raise vital funds for Scope Short Breaks in Bury St Edmunds. It is a respite unit for children with cerebral palsy. Please visit www.justgiving.com/indianoceanrow to donate.
The next post will be from Mauritius where instead of dot watching we will be standing on the beach surveying the horizon waiting for that dot to turn into the welcome of No. 88 Audeamus.
Any comments about these blogs would be appreciated so that we know that people are reading them. Thank you and goodnight!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

90% THERE!!

Well, what a week, we've seen the speedometer in the red and they have been flying. They have completed quite a few miles this week with approx 450nm to go. They are gradually catching Bexhill and now it looks like a race to the line although don't forget Audeamus started 9 days behind and are not actually racing but the crew's pride and determination means they are going flat out to cross the line first, in doing so achieving their ambition and all the records that they set out to achieve.
So everyone, keep fingers and toes crossed as it looks like it's going right to the wire.
We spoke to Helen on Wednesday am - now she can see the end in sight spirits of all the crew are lifting, the weather is improving and hopefully all is well in the Indian Ocean.
They even had a visit of a 6 ft manta ray circling the boat and the other night saw space debris falling into the ocean. Some of the other boats have reported that they have seen a moonbow - a very rare occurance especially in the Indian Ocean. So it looks like there is more to see than the sea!!!!!!!!
We will probably post only a couple more blogs before we hand the task back to Helen - can I hear you shouting HURRAY!!! but we have done the best we can but unsure what Helen will say!
All for now - speak soon

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Satelite phone call from Helen on Saturday am, she sounded in good spirits although she reckons her body is now shot to pieces. With sore feet, ankles, knees,backside, hands and arms (not much else left although her ear infection has cleared up). With under 700nm to go the crew can now see the finish line looming although the auto helm has been giving problems and has been draining all the boats batteries resulting in water rations. To rectify this they have had to rig up a manual tiller using one of the broken oars and a series of ropes. The downside of this is that they have lost a rowing position as someone has to sit there to manually steer Audeamus.
Although the winds have finally turned in their favour the waves and current are still against them and with one less rower progress has slowed. They are predicting that they should arrive in 12-16 days but could be quicker if they can break out of this current.
Our tickets are booked and we are looking forward to seeing Helen at the finish line.
Don't forget Helen is still looking for sponsorship and your very valuable message,s of support to Helen and the crew.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Firstly, we had a call from Helen this morning and she wants to thank each and everyone of you for all the messages that you have been sending. She really appreciates the support she has been receiving and she asks that you continue to send them as she and the rest of the crew find them uplifting especially at times when spirits are low. She has been overwhelmed by all the support and hopes it will not be long before she will be able to thank you all in person.
It's been a week of high's and low's - earlier in the week Audeamus had completed 2000nm "FANTASTIC" but then we were very concerned that according to the tracker the boat speed had dropped and were not making very good progress. Nobody could find out the reason! We were relieved to hear her voice this morning saying that they had been battling against southerly winds and easterly currents. That resulted in very slow progress. Coupled with this Angela had not been rowing for a couple of days due to "sore butt problems" so the crew had to row 3 up for this period. 
Helen also reports that all 4 sliding seat positions are giving problems and they are rapidly becoming fixed as the runners keep breaking down. She reckons that by the time they reach Mauritius they will be out of stock of sliding seats. 
We have decided that when we go to Mauritius we are taking t-sheets with the slogan "Parents of an ocean rower - the toughest job in the world!" - believe us, it's hard being at home not knowing whats happening on the boat. 
All the crew are absolutley DETERMINED to be first over the line and with Angela back they will be at full strength and hopefully the wind and currents will turn in their favour. It would be great for the crew to have a bit of good luck as so far this has been in short supply.
There is a new number for the satelite phone - 881631522893 - www.iridium.com, please keep sending your messages. If you wish you can make a donation to Helen's chosen charity Scope Short Breaks which is a respite unit for young people aged 8 to 18 years of age with cerebral palsy- visit www.justgiving.com/indianoceanrow
xxxxxxxx from Helen to all xxxxxxxx

Thursday, 28 May 2009


Neill & Hazel reporting - Well, they are over the half way mark and in 2nd place. Now they are catching up on Bexhill and Neill has been using pen and paper to calculate when they will arrive in Mauritius. There is a site with a prediction that they will arrive on 23rd June - Neill has been beavering away, calculator in hand and has come up with the date of arrival as "19th/20th June" Anyone who knows Neill knows that he is normally spot on with timings, so it's worth a bet!!!!!!!! 
We have spoken to Helen twice this week - once to give us a new satelite telephone number, as messages were not getting through as they had run out of minutes. So if any family or friend's would like to send her a sat message please go to www.iridium.com, go to send a satelite message and fill in the details - you will need the number 881631522893. It's that simple and it is free. So please, continue to send her messages of support as we know she does look for them.
The second call was on my birthday, the crew of Audeamus sang "Happy Birthday" to me, there are not many people (if any) who can say that they have been sung to by 8 people in a rowing boat on the Indian Ocean from a position almost exactly half way between Australia and Mauritius. That is something I will always remember and it made my day. 
So just under 1500nm to go!!!! 
Helen would like to wish all Teddy Hall crews the best of luck for the Oxford Summer Eights, which is this week and she said "Go Girls" and retain the headship - she will be thinking of you and will phone us on Sunday for the results.
She is still upbeat and pleased with their position. She has the rowers "claw hands" and a sore backside but apart from that she sounds fine. 
Please send her your support