Rowers Ark – Atlantic Challenge

Follow Dedicated Daryl's Row Across the Atlantic.

 

We will post updates when we receive them from Daryl's partner Sabine.

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 23rd March 2017

22nd March 2017

A message from Daryl:

Just wanted to say a massive thank you for the incredible support that I was lucky and privileged to receive out there via Sabine. I feel totally humbled by the comments and donations and they had a huge effect on me during some pretty desperate times.

There is obviously a lot more to come and I will get round to thanking everyone personally, but it's all a bit of a whirlwind right now sorting Bo for shipping back home, drinking rum punch etc.

It was an incredible adventure, brutal, relentless, terrifying, painful, and amazing, everything a good adventure should be!

Like I said, loads more to come, but just wanted to say thank you for being a big part of something that I'll never forget, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

https://www.facebook.com/daryl.farmer.9/videos/10210587126128873/

21st March 2017 - 0nm to go!

Daryl arrives in Antigua after 96 days at sea - what a legend, what a super hero!

20th March 2017 - 17nm to go! (As of 2pm)

The messages are getting cooler!!!....

'i spy with my little eye something beginning with ANTIGUAAAAA! x x x x'

This is sooooo AMAZING!

19th March 2017 - 55nm to go!

UPDATE

Our next stop and the stop in Antigua that will see us at long last welcome Daryl back onto dry land!

It's funny to be unpacking his clothes and belongings ready for his arrival on Monday evening all being well!

How strange will it be for him to step on land?! For the ground to be firm and not moving, to have a different scenery than hundreds of miles of open ocean and to have space rather than the 23'x6' that has been his world for the last 3months!!

How will his muscle and joints feel to stand upright and weight bare properly rather than rowing, crouching and crawling in and out of his cabin.

How will his mind be, how do you comprehend the enormity of what you have achieved when it's something of that scale! As Ian mentioned in his update, Daryl was concerned he was inconveniencing people for being out there that long!! He's had days were he believes he isn't getting anywhere when in fact he's had a 30 odd mile day! Your perceptions become distorted and sometimes you want things so much you just can't believe they will ever happen!

How will it feel to actually wear clothes again! To sit on a toilet as oppose to a bucket! To have a shower!! To lie in a bed that doesn't move!!...and not have the ceiling of your boat two foot away from you!?

At the moment he truly cannot see what he has achieved! He set out from La Gomera on the 14th December with the intention of crossing an ocean and bringing Bojangles safe to shore in Antigua! As much as I want to hold back as its not over until Bo is tied up at Nelsons Dockyard and he steps on dry land, it is safe to say he is only 70nm away!

This is very real now and hopefully he will manage to get to 61degs tomorrow where he will officially have made an ocean crossing, but Daryl is not going to stop there, his aim is to row all the way in! This is not a straight forward mission as without his rudder and the sea conditions and currents it's a big ask! The support yacht will be at hand should he get into any difficulties! It was great to bump into the Atlantic Campaigns team this evening, the last time we saw them was in La Gomera, so that just made things very real again!

This truly has been an epic journey and one we will remember forever!

On our GoFundMe page we are so close to the £10000 mark!!...only another £1093 to go!! Please have a quick look at out Rowers Ark Fundraising Auction FB page it's not too late to place a bid and contribute to Rowers Ark and help support East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service!💖

18th March 2017

So this is probably the last official update from Duty Officer Ian Couch, who has been an amazing support for Daryl and has got him through some dark and desperate times!

The support from Atlantic Campaigns has been incredible and so reassuring for Daryl!

Not long now!😊😊😊😊😊😊

Blog from Duty officer Ian Couch, 18 March. Daryl has less than 95nm to go! Once the line of 61 degrees west is crossed it counts as an ocean crossing but more impressive is that Daryl is looking to make a full land to land crossing and row into Antigua. At his current speed it is expected he will arrive Monday. Through Saturday he will get pushed further south west before the winds change on Sunday and then they change to head north west into Antigua which should help his approach.

After speaking with him yesterday, discussing the conditions and the peace of mind of trying for that final push Daryl is going to do all he can to cross the race finish line too. For 100s of miles he has been making great progress without a rudder and now these final days will see him complete an incredibly challenging row. The Support Yacht is ready to go and shadow his approach should he need assistance and will be there to add to his safety. Meanwhile Atlantic Campaigns is in Antigua preparing the reception and coordinating with the National Parks, the authorities and ABSAR. Daryl will get a much deserved warm welcome.

Apart from the effort and adversity of the row it is worth noting that Daryl was concerned that by being last in he was in some way being a problem and he was worried about being an inconvenience! I do not think he realises just how pleased everyone is for him and how great his achievement is. Dot Watchers, followers and rowers please keep your eyes on the dot and your messages of support coming in!

12th March 2017

WOW well our own CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is under the 300nm mark!! This is so surreal we are actually talking flights and hotels now!!

Although it's all not over till he's standing on dry land and Bojangles is tied to the dock! They are certainly going to be limping in!

It seems Antigua is eagerly awaiting the arrival of 'the man without the rudder!' He's causing quite a stir! He said to me 'I hope they are not going to expect some Herculean God to step off the boat because they are going to be sorely disappointed when scrawny little me steps off!'

The messages I've been receiving are informing me of what bits are broken on both Daryl and Bo! Between them I think they need a holiday and truly deserve one!

Bo's large bow solar panel has burnt out and Daryls GPS repeater has died which is no big deal but all a sign of what the equipment has been through!...but to be honest I think everything has held together remarkably well! Bo has been incredible as she's kept Daryl safe through all their epic weather conditions! She's solid and that's all that matters when you are being battered and rolled by waves as big as houses and winds as fast as cars! We both knew 'she was the one' when we first met her in 2012!! This has been a long term relationship!

Daryl is hurting everywhere now, his back, his bum and particularly his left forearm at the moment! It's a good job he's got an Osteopath on hand the minute he steps off the boat! I'll have my work cut out this time though! Three months of sitting flexed, muscle groups waisting, chronic tendinitis, the list goes on!

My suitcase will be armed with arnica and kinesiotape as additional extras to my treatments! My suit case is also armed with hair clippers, scissors and beard trimmer!

We've discussed on numerous occasions how weird it's going to be seeing each other again! Daryl keeps saying 'I like the new me!' I asked how he looked and firstly he said 'I'm very skinny', so on average on ocean rower loses 20% of their body weight, but I have a feeling Daryl may have topped that! He said I'll love treating him as there's not an ounce of fat on him and all his muscles are defined!! (I'm thinking may be ocean rowing will become the new dieting craze!)

In addition to his new waif-like physique, his hair is lighter and has gone curly, his beard is long enough to plait, his body hair is bleach blond (arms and legs...just to clarify!) and his skin is a weathered brown!

He's watched some of his own video diaries and knows its himself but says 'I don't recognise myself! I look like some seasoned explorer from the 1800s and a pipe wouldn't look out of place! It makes me want to talk differently' he said, so I'm not quite sure what or who to expect in Antigua!

The hate for the beard has clearly settled as he declared he's keeping the beard, apparently it just needs a trim!

Daryl is so longing to be home, he's been missing the dogs terribly and can't wait to have his 'man time' with Charlie up on the forest! and to go back to his wildlife rescuing!

So let's spur him on some more, YOUR support has been so INCREDIBLE and I have passed on all your message! He keeps saying 'I don't get it I've not done anything yet!' It won't be until he's on dry land that he will comprehend the enormity of what he's achieved physically, psychologically and the impact 'Rowers Ark! has had!

6th March 2017

One man, one boat, one ocean! Let's show Daryl Farmer that he's not alone and send him some positive comments and likes - how many can we get?

LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE!

LATEST Race report from Duty Officer Ian Couch:

Our remaining rower has crossed the 500nm remaining mark. This is always a huge achievement and a significant milestone for any row but he has been at sea for over 80 days now and is still facing more days before he makes land. Not just the duration makes this a significant feat but Daryl has been without a rudder for a significant time and has faced poor conditions. For those of you who have not rowed take a moment to picture the enormity of what he is doing.
Alone, communications through sat phone only, tired - wanting to rest but knowing every rest means you are making less progress forward, facing emotional highs and lows (happiness at good progress, fear during storms, loneliness), self doubt- 'can I keep this going through the relentless routine?' 'Can I keep going through the physical discomfort?', guilt 'I should be with my family,' pride at what I am achieving and a thousand other conflicting emotions that can be experienced in just one hour.

This challenge is not just strength, stamina and physical robustness but technical and above all mental and emotional. It strips away a lot of unimportant things and shows you what basic needs are. It highlights to each rower their strengths and weaknesses and deepest fears. The achievement in getting through this race in 30 or 100 days can never be over estimated.

I am sure Daryl is unaware just how many people are watching him with nothing but admiration. It is not over until he steps safely onto land but there is no reason for Daryl not to complete a crossing and even without a rudder we will do all we can to guide him across the finish line. Keep watching the Dot!

 22nd February 2017
10 WEEKS Daryl has been out there today!! 70days!!

The longest we've ever been apart is 16days when I've gone to visit family in Germany! I feel like we've gone through a whole ocean rowing grieving process of being apart; Denial - 'it won't take long, i'll be back before you know it!'; Anger - 'you wanted to do it!'; Bargaining - 'I'd give anything to be back home'; Depression - 'I'm never going to get there' and Acceptance - 'oh well my f**king rudders come off i'll row without it'.

The change in Daryl has been remarkable since losing the rudder, pure focus and determination on the end goal to row Bojangles into the harbour (which ever harbour it may be)! The words 'I love it out here' have been uttered! I think 26 Minke whales helped there!

The sub 1000nm has been ticked and now he's heading towards sub 800nm! I update him on how 32 North are doing and it's truly like some sort of synchronised rowing! One day their updates on the tracker were identical speed and bearing despite being 500nm apart! It's a shame they are not closer together! They were our marina buddies in La Gomera, I reckon they should do a tandem boat row! A story of three men and two boats!

Daryl sent Elli a message the other day when he had to wrestle with another container ship called Pacific Mermaid! Elli is one true life mermaid who can't wait to use her Monofin mermaid tail in the destination that shall remain nameless until Daryl is truly there!

Rowers Ark's name and meaning of this whole row is truly coming to life out there! Not only is the Storm Petrel that has frequented his boat since the 29th December still very much part of the Ark, he's been joined by a spectacular Frigate bird who fishes extremely efficiently around the boat! He has a variety of fish of various sizes and colour join him during the day, and whilst the weather has been more friendly it's been possible to see them in the blue water.

When the weather has been bad the water just turns a darker shade of black accompanied by grey skies, the environment just becomes menacing!

But what was more menacing was the other night when he rung and with a hint of laughter in his voice and said 'I just thought I'd call you before I get eaten by a shark!' I laughed and asked if he'd like to explain!...he said something was scratching itself on the bottom of his boat!! Daryl said it would be cool and awesome except it's dark so he can't see! He explained it was the same noise as we heard on a video we had watched from a previous solo rower who had a shark repeatedly whizz past and scratch itself on the bottom of her boat, so he was 100% sure it was that! It had stopped by the time we finished talking about it so I think he was safe!

The flying fish rescues are increasing daily! He said he wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact they do it from about 3am and that they stink!! but he'll still get up and save them!

The early rescue shifts and the continuos rowing is clearly starting to show and clearly affecting the fatigue he suffers with because of the Ankylosing Spondylitis. Daryl said he came in for some lunch and stretched out in his cabin with his pouch of food on his belly and was munching away, then the next thing he nows he's woken up 2hrs later with the food pouch still on his belly and the spoon in it, the scary thing was he had both hatches open as he was only coming in for a quick bite to eat, it was a particularly calm day so he was very lucky!

Daryl has asked me to apologise to everyone for staying out there for a 'bit extra', he said it's got nothing to do with the rudder, he just felt his beard wasn't quite there yet!!

 

13th February 2017

So Dr 'Daz' Dolittle ('who talks to the animals') has had an official apology from Mother Ocean today for breaking his boat!

She's presented him with a flat calm ocean and incredible sunrise and the opportunity to take a dip! But not only that, I get a message to say he's safe back on the boat after his swim and that he's just seen 5 whales, this has since gone up to 11, no sorry 19!!! NINETEEN WHALES! no sorry my mistake 21 yes TWENTY ONE WHALES!!!...and counting!

He did say before the whales came along something large and white bellied came up but whilst he rushed to grab the camera it disappeared he thinks it was a shark! His shark identification is much better than whales as he's always had a love for sharks!

I know exactly how happy Daryl is right now and I am so pleased he is experiencing such an amazing sight!

He said he thinks they are possibly Minke Whales and said he's obviously smack in the middle of their M25

The last five went directly 6 inches under his boat and he's managed to film it all! I'm soooo excited! He described them to be as long as the boat and they came up like torpedoes! He said he thinks they are just the calves!

Whilst we were on the phone he suddenly started saying 'oh my god oh my god' and then he managed to say 'hold on' there was a silent pause! He came back and said 'that was incredible' a whale twice the length of his boat just came up under his boat and swam stern to bow under Bo!

The smaller ones went on their side before passing under the boat so they could have a good look at the boat first!

It was hilarious he said 'I literally can't row! I can't row and whale watch at the same time!' So he's forgotten the desire for mileage and took to whale watching for the day!

But this is what it's all about I told him to enjoy it, there are plenty of 'ordinary' days at home, it's not often you get amazing experiences like this! Considering all the incidences Daryl has endured a day like this was long overdue!

He spoke with Duty Officer Ian Couch on Sunday and said he feels confident to continue and that he didn't feel it was necessary for the support yacht to come all that way out! Atlantic Campaigns have confirmed they will support him all the way as and when he needs it, which is so reassuring to know.

So for now he is continuing unassisted. He may have to divert to another island but this is all dependant on how the weather unfolds over the next few weeks!

On Saturday he came within 0.5nm of a container ship, the 'Maersk Vilnius' who deliberately cruised by to see who he was! He said it was a 'bit close' but he's got some great footage!

He had been busy rowing and suddenly noticed what looked like a mast bobbing up in front in the swell, on the second visual he realised it was a container ship, bow on, on direct collision course with him! He immediately went in the cabin and his AIS was on red! Pretty much meaning imminent collision!

He used the VHF to contact the ship who immediately responded that they had been aware of him for 4.5 miles and were literally coming to have a look!! He saw that they had obviously 'put the breaks on' as the container ship almost listed as it slowed and then casually cruised past so not to cause too much of a swell from their ship.

He said he could read the writing on the side of the containers and he could see everyone had gone on deck at the side looking and waving at the mad English man in his little rowing boat in the Atlantic! But how cool is that!

All in all at the moment things are good, but there is a long way to go yet so fingers crossed for favourable seas!

FINAL WHALE COUNT 26

11th February 2017

What a week of emotions!

So Daryl has been ploughing along the homeward stretch consistently leading me to a panic of 'I must book flights soon!' as I watch the miles getting ticked off!

Although we have always been advised to wait until 10days before the estimated date of arrival I was starting to feel I need to get a little organised! But both Daryl and I had said 'hold fire' we don't want to jinx anything!

Hmmm despite my best efforts to 'hold fire' I made a call to Atlantic Campaigns and had a really positive conversation and reassurance it's best to wait till 10 days before the estimated date, which at that point was 9th March, as you never know what might happen!!

I came off the phone all excited...it really won't be long before we see each other again! Then randomly my phone rang and I was surprised to see it was Daryl's SatPhone number, he normally messages first to see if I'm home!

I answered to hear a distressed Daryl at the end of the phone! with the bad connection all I heard was 'I've lost my rudder!' My heart sunk I could hear the despair in Daryl's voice! what motivational words could I say to make a situation like that feel any better!

He began to explain; that the rudder had managed to rip apart the solid aluminium bracket it was attached to, which only leaves you appreciating what forces these boats are dealing with out there!!

The one thing Daryl is striving to protect can be so destructive, we stand no chance against Mother Nature!

Rudder failure is one of the main fears of most ocean rowers, this obviously gives you directional stability. A boat without a rudder is extremely vulnerable to capsize and going off course. This can end an ocean row!

But with the amazing calm and valuable advice from duty officer Ian Couch who advised Daryl to trail a line out the back to offer some directional stability a plan was put in place. They discussed the options and Atlantic Campaigns have assigned the support yacht Skye to come out from Antigua to Daryl when it is safe to do so for the yacht. Whilst part of our shore crew, Mike Watson, has been putting a plan together for a potential fix if needed.

Luckily although the rudder had sheered off it was still attached by the foot steering cables so Daryl was able to save the actual rudder!

It will take the support yacht 7-10days to reach Daryl once it has a weather window to leave, but in the mean time after the initial shock Daryl has done what he does best, he's put his thoughts together and is attempting to row without a rudder at present!

The determination to get to Antigua is immense and we can only hope that the weather stays on his side and allows him a direct path to Antigua! I have stated 'so long as he ends up safe in the Caribbean I don't mind which island he lands at!'☀️

Daryl has asked me to thank Ian Couch for his calming help and for believing in him and Mike for his philosophical approach to finding solutions and reasons for these events! (Apparently I'm meant to thank myself on his behalf too but that's just weird!)

All I can do is be there at the end of the phone! Which might involve us taking out a second mortgage! but love conquers all even horrendous SatPhone bills, if it helps him get across I'll talk him to Antigua regardless of cost!

I think now more than ever all the donations and support will MOTIVATE Daryl to get across! He needs all the support he can get! It's been a lonely 8.5weeks out there!

We are so close to the £3000 match funding target we need £520 and we've maximised our friends kind match funding offer!!
...and then we can just keep going!!

He's becoming quite the local celeb and doesn't even realise it! He says to me 'but I haven't achieved anything yet!' So I politely remind him he's travelled 1764nm so far across the Atlantic SOLO, he's had near over board situations, a capsize, head injuries and concussion to name a few and he's carried on! He's been lower than he's ever been but he's got himself up and out again so to me he has achieved something totally IMMENSE!...and if he limps into Antigua rudderless because he's a determined (stubborn) so and so I won't be able to describe how proud I am of this man!

3rd February 2017

Daryl is over the half way mark now.  Gavan John Paul Hennigan who completed the row yesterday has send a message "Thought of Daryl everyday out there and I will continue to do so here on land, he is such a warrior, I was in an all bells and whistles concept boat ,Daryl is nails ,doing it the real hard way,the toughest way,ultimate respect to him, I really had to check myself at times out there when I was complaining of rowing below 2 knots, send him my regards and to stay strong out there, I miss it already! Xx"

 

1st February 2017

Great blog from Duty officer Ian Couch.
A very close race finish is expected in the next few hours - Gavan Hennigan Adventurer and shortly after American Oarsmen. This has been a close run thing with great efforts from both crews - Gav putting in an enormous effort (and his countless hours in his boat during training paying off) and the highly motivated and always upbeat American Oarsmen being unlucky to have been capsized so close to the end. I have spoken with both crews today and they are all focused and looking forward to Antigua!

After one of the closest finishes in race history it won't be long until Facing It reach land. They just told me all is well and they are looking forward to a beer!
Fresh Dental Fresh Dental Challenge Atlantic will be close behind as they follow a good line dropping down into the finish. Now they know family and friends will be ready they told me they will be coming in quicker and are aiming for the morning of 04 Feb.
Team A-Adventures - always positive - have truly grasped the idea of enjoying every bit of the experience, even the bad bits. Power issues mean they have been restricted to one rowing, one steering and one resting and are navigating with handheld GPS but they are always in good spirits.
Atlantic Endeavour are maintaining a good course and speed. Conditions are favourable and by the morning they will have less than 300nm to go. They were happy and in good spirits earlier today.
So from tonight we will see 6 crews finishing in the next 5 days....
Next in we expect Elaine Hopley who is moving at speed with good conditions, never ending I-spy clues and the bonus of an unexpected chocolate orange. Elaine is showing how vital practical skills and robust sense of humour are. Hand pumping water she is managing great speeds and could be in in 7-9 days!
With 1031 nm to go the Row 32 North will cross the 1000nm milestone tomorrow. It is a great feeling to get to 3 figures on the distance to go readout on board! Also struggling with power issues, a broken oar and navigating by handheld GPS they are calm, measured and have a great attitude.
Daryl, Rowers Ark has 1450nm to go. It has been hard for Daryl but he has demonstrated great resolve and pushed through the low points. With good weather and trim adjusted he is making good progress and is showing the strength it takes to complete this toughest of challenges.
As I post this the reception is being prepared at English Harbour. Atlantic Campaigns, media, well wishers, locals, tourists and above all family and friends are getting ready to welcome crews forever changed by the greatest, most gruelling, exciting, demanding and rewarding of challenges. Exciting times!

31st January 2017

Bojangles 2017 Fundraiser

Don't forget our AWESOME MUSIC NIGHT at the Under Ground Theatre in Eastbourne!

Come and join me for a drink and a fun night out on the 17th February!

Tickets are selling fastso tickets on the door may be limited!

If you would like to join us for a great night of music please email:

chris@eastsussexwras.org.uk

to have an e-ticket sent to you and instructions on how to pay

Please click here for more details.

28th January 2017

We at Rowers Ark can TOTALLY empathise with the ENORMITY and TURMOIL of making the decision Dmitry had to make yesterday and RESPECT him for making the tough decision he had to at this stage. What a COURAGEOUS effort! Your safety and welfare will always be most important!

Daryl has said he's going to feel even more isolated now as although they didn't communicate directly he said it was nice he wasn't alone at the back!

We wish Dmytri and Alina all the best and we can guarantee your next attempt will be even sweeter....this is just the start of your adventure!

All our love Daryl, Sabine & Elli!

 27th January 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT: Following a number of technical issues, solo rower, Dmitry Rezvoy, has chosen to abandon his attempt to cross the Atlantic. This was a very difficult decision for Dmitry, who has battled significant issues to get this far, but ultimately he has decided that he is no longer able to continue. Over the last few weeks the Support Yacht has been attempting to help him overcome these technical difficulties; however, after the most recent attempt to find a solution proved unsuccessful, Dmitry decided to retire from the race and is now safely on board our Support Yacht, 'Miss Tick’. He is well and is being looked after by our experienced crew.

20th January 2017

Six weeks in and counting!! The gruelling life on board an ocean rowing boat continues! Progress has been good and steady despite a lot of naughty words being used to describe the sea state! Daryl seems to have his own little weather system that follows him creating an image in my head of Pig-Pen the character from Snoopy!!

It seems to be a recurring statement that whatever weather module is described to him it's not happening where he is! But then who can predict Mother Nature! The fact she's a women it's her prerogative to change her mind! Fast winds, wrong waves, good waves, wrong wind, confused seas, happy seas!

It seems whatever Daryl and Bo have thrown at them they have a moan, accept it and get on with it! Which his progress has shown.

The achyness and soreness continues but his humour doesn't fail him!.....

Saturday night Daryl joined us for dinner...as such! He managed to call just as myself his Dad and Elli were having a cheeky takeaway, which we didn't tell him about! He announced he had his first 'accident' I thought he'd obviously forgotten about the rest!...the near overboard situation, the capsize the bolt gauging his scalp, the concussion!

He seemed so calm!....he then described what kind of accident it was! So just a bit of back ground info....he was in very rough seas with brutal waves....so one cannot always go and use the 'facilities' outside so one has to use a bottle!

So it seems he took a pee in a bottle when a rogue wave decided to pick up Bo and land her sideways in a very harsh manner!...this resulted in the aforementioned 'accident'...... 'Now my cabin has a nice aroma of sweat AND pee'!! he said! This was so not what I was expecting!!

The HUG in Antigua is beginning to include a contamination suit!☠

But the story didn't end there after sounding quite accepting of his newly fragrance bedroom Daryl announced it had led him to think of his new business venture! How exciting i thought! I had images of non spill pee bottles for ocean rowers....but no this was not the new business idea brought on by the spillage of pee....so what does Daryl think of.......'Novilty Offensive Scented Candles'!! 'For the jokers in the family or friends you don't like anymore'....buy them an Offensive Scented Candle! Wide range available from pee & sweat to poo & mouldy fruit?! Hmmm not sure Dragons Den would get behind that one!

On another note, donations have ramped up and we are only £945 away from reaching our £3000 fund matching target!! Thank you so much to all that have donated and taken on the 'Penny a Mile' sponsorship of £30! It's so exciting to get notifications we've had a donation!

So below is a video I'd like you to take 1min to watch!! It's very special!!!.....why?.....well because I am very proud to say that it is the result and creation of a very special 12year old (nearly 13 year old who wants to have her birthday in Antigua!!...13th March!!...no pressure Daryl!)

She took it upon herself to create this (all by herself!!) as she wanted to help! Help raise money for the things she believes in and because she believes in Daryl!

She's already done a bake sale at school and we are both going back to her old Primary School on the 24 Feb to do an assembly for all the children who supported Daryl last time!! She's proud of Daryl and it shows in what she's created! It made me quite emotional!

So if you could make a nearly teenager extremely proud of her Daryl please please show your support and make the donations ramp up even more so she can be empowered by her work and the results it has achieved!! Let's get to the £3000 mark so we can double our money!!

Spread the word and share with your family, friends and work!! The more the merrier!!

13th January 2017

I'm pleased to be able to say that since Wednesday afternoon Daryl has been on the move again!! He messaged to say he's pulled up his para anchor and started ROWING! I was like a kid at Christmas seeing his boat going the right way on the tracker, let alone picking up speed!

There is nothing worse than sitting on para anchor and not being able to row when you have one thing on your mind which is to get to Antigua!! In the rough weather you are pretty much confined to your 6'x4' box.

Putting a para anchor out (or pulling it in) is not an easy task or without risk, you have to be really careful when deploying it not to get caught in the ropes, because as the para anchor opens like a parachute underwater it really drags the associated ropes in fast! If you end up caught in the line you could easily be dragged in!!...I love the way he calls me up and tells me all these scary things quite casually!

How he manages to pull 120m of retrieval line and 90m anchor line in and the para anchor, I don't know! This is definitely a man who's eaten his weetabix!

He had to pull his para anchor in a couple of times during the storm as it had worked itself into a loop and he had to untangle and unclip some of the lines before it got dragged out again, not easy when working against all the forces of the boat moving, ropes pulling and waves splashing in your face just to make things even more tricky!

When Daryl was told this weather system will probably last a week frustration, anger and fear of going insane were all emotions he had to deal with being solo! It's times like these you realise how important your communications systems are and how important what items you packed on your boat for entertainment are!!

We sent lots of messages over those days and spoke regularly, some (well most) conversations were of frustration with the weather and some were hilarious conversations!

On the iPod I had added a couple of audio books and I was so pleased when Daryl messaged saying he was learning German, I guessed whilst rowing 3000miles why not learn a language at the same time (especially when half my family are German!)

I also put Human Universe by Professor Brian Cox on there, (something easy going ) which Daryl later told me he had already listened too once and had started again! I thought that might keep him going for ages but he found it quite comforting and thought provoking. He commented whilst experiencing what he is now, he can really appreciate that you have to have 'real balls' to go into space and leave everyone behind and not come back for 6-12months in such an environment where things could go from being ok to not being ok at all, very quickly!

As Daryl became resigned to his para anchor situation he had a brief break in the storm and I received a message whilst at work that I had to read twice: 'just been sharing my breakfast with my trigger fish! he's nearly feeding out of my hand!' He befriended a black triggerfish that had joined him that morning! No mistaking Rowers Ark!! He even managed to catch a 2' Dorado when pulling up his para anchor!! The wildlife list is getting longer!

The highlight of 'the storm communications' was when I asked how his beard was looking and I said it's weird not seeing him for this long, I commented that I still have this image of him looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway, when he arrives in Antigua to which Daryl replied I think I look more like 'feral Brian' from Family Guy! I know you have to be a fan to understand but I laughed for about 5mins till my abs could no longer take it! It was just so Daryl's sense of humour! The pictures below explain!

So after the excitement of a week of storms and unfavourable winds Daryl felt like he had jumped a hurdle Wednesday and was on his way again only to wake up yesterday morning to notice that his external antenna for the satellite phone which boosts the signal and connection had stopped working over night! Losing communications was his worst fear, not only for safety reasons but because contact to his normal world has been an important way of coping with the isolation.

Although his satellite phone will work out on deck this doesn't come without issues as the weather conditions and sea salt will potentially cause damage to the phone and at this stage he is down to one out of two phones as the other sat phone has already stopped working!

After getting over the initial anger and upset Daryl accepted it's not the worst case scenario as the phone does still work outside but the reliability of the connection is temperamental and it was apparent straight away as messages weren't being received and calls weren't going through!

But when we did eventually connect Daryl was quite resigned to the situation and said he was just rearranging his 'bedroom' so that his head was by his hatch and the phone could pick up a better signal, he even talked about making a sling for the phone to sit by the hatch! It was great to hear how in a short while he just found a resolution, the key to being an ocean rower I believe!

Best news was when he text today to say he'd found a mini external aerial, he said it's not brilliant but it might help! He was obviously better prepared than he thought!

I realise I have rambled on but there's so much I always want to share but I leave you with the images of Tom Hanks and 'feral Brian'....

10th January 2017

Take a look at these awesome photos taken from the support yacht a couple of weeks ago!!

Can't help but feel incredibly proud!

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8th & 9th January 2017

When I spoke to Daryl on Thursday things were pretty good, life was progressing on board Bo. Although he was sitting in a continuing void of weather I got a message saying he'd rowed so hard he managed to pull his foot plate out of the deck!!...I asked whether he'd turned into the Incredible Hulk out there as I know how well that was bolted on!
I asked if he could fix it and he said 'it's all screwed back in and glued, just got to wait for it to set'! I was so pleased to hear that, as something like that can be quite devastating out there but it proved how he's adapting to his environment and he just got on and fixed it!

He also messaged that day saying his bird was back, as if I new of this 'bird', I'm thinking - is he hallucinating he's got some lady on board or may be a mermaid?!...when we spoke later that evening he confirmed it was of the feathered variety!

Since the 29th December this brown bird about the size of a starling, with a white patch on its back has kept Daryl company, he says he thinks it sleeps on the boat as there's always poo on the deck in the morning, and during the day he's flying around and when Daryl spots him and says 'hello mate' he flys over and sits on the boat! A true 'Ark Mate'

The same day he also thought his rudder had broken as he kept hearing a 'donk, donk', the same sort of noise he had during the rough weather at the start before his rudder cable snapped! So he went to investigate only to find he had company!! There was a group of bright blue and yellow fish about 18" long, he thinks they are Jacks! 'Rowers Ark' is definitely coming into its own!

This sudden increase in wild life made Daryl check his hull which up until now had been clear of any attachment of barnacles which is to be expected being at sea for that period of time, on inspection he said it was more anemone's than barnacles. This left him with a dilemma....you are meant to scrape the hull clean of any attached sea visitors as this becomes bit of a drag and can reduce your speed as you are not as streamlined, but with this food source attached to the bottom comes the interest of wildlife!

So do you go for speed or do you go for a wildlife experience like no other!? It didn't take Daryl long to make a decision!...and we decided for now to keep his growing little eco system going!! (This is Daryl we are talking about!) & he wants nothing more than to see a shark or whale & I feel mildly happier he's not diving under the boat by himself (attached of course) for now!

He will probably be the only boat to be lifted out in Antigua with half the ocean attached to it! But how cool is that!

For Daryl the purpose of this race is to get across and raise money and awareness for his charities. Being in a pure solo ocean rowing boat he knows he will never get the consistent speed the other boats will get, this has turned from a race into a journey of mind, body and soul and standing up for what you believe in!

This leads me to strongly suggest to anyone who reads this to take 1.5hrs out, for Daryl, to watch the movie 'Racing Extinction' it is a massive eye opener! We had the amazing Leilani Münter from this movie at our charity ball, she is a professional race car driver and environmental activist!...what she gets to do in this movie is powerful!

So after our successful Thursday came 'Friday'...the storm that had been threatening had moved south and had sucked Daryl and Dmytri in, both boats were on target to being dragged back to the start! So for the first time this race Daryl deployed the para anchor and good job too, as this has slowed his drift! This had kindly been donated Fiorentino Para Anchor

I was asked many times 'is he heading back' the answer was a definite no he is determined to see this through!!...and if you use the 'overlay' tab on the Yellow Brick tracker app you can apply the 'wind' overlay and see exactly why they are in the position they are in. Without that it looks like they are heading back!

So until this storm passes progress is slow and boring (and negative in miles) and Daryl has found it hard to be stuck in his '6'x4' box'! He sent me this message to pass on to you!...

'Dear Rowers Ark Dot Watchers. Big apologies for a boring few days. If its any consolation its been a hell of a lot more boring for me! Thank you so much for your support so far despite the 15825987_1360614343983930_549580013647543527_nslowness, it means so much to me. Hopefully Mother Nature will allow Bo and I to crack on, before I crack up. Thank you again, you're awesome. D'

6th Janaury 2017

It seems there is some entity out there who is finding it amusing to push the last two boats back to the Canaries! Please do one and give them a break!! This sadly is not a good forecast! I will update when we know more of what the long term affect is, you can all see where the wind is goingif Daryl can sit tight until it passes hopefully he won't lose to much ground!

Day 17: 31st December 2016

I am so EXCITED to tell you something SPECIAL I can't actually wait till 2017!!

All I can say is whoever is out there watching out for my hero....THANK YOU!

Daryl sent me the best text ever today, I received this at 18:23...

'guess who just got woken up by dolphins!!!'

He said he was having a snooze after his first genuinely 'good' day of rowing and a bit of sun! He came in for a rest and was woken by some squeaking noises that he said he immediately knew weren't from his boat!

He shot up and quickly manoeuvred on deck, finding himself standing there (naked) facing a pod of spotty/speckled Dolphins in the sunset! He grabbed his camera and watched them play and splash and squeak around his boat for a good 15mins!

To say he was happy was an understatement, it's the first phone call we've had were he genuinely laughed and smiled down the phone!

The power of these creatures is immense and this is what Rowers Ark is all about! It's a voice for our wildlife and nature! Something Daryl has been so passionate about since I've met him! Every endurance challenge he has ever done has been to raise awareness and funds for conservation be it ocean or land creatures!

It is a very real situation that we are creating our own 6th mass extinction and we are losing beautiful creatures around the world at an alarming rate! If we don't change the way we respect our planet and keep destroying it with industrial farming and fishing and entertainment for our own pleasures we will have a very desperate situation for our children, who will look at our generation thinking what were they doing!

But there is always hope and our message at Rowers Ark is that one small change can create a better future! A bird feeder in the garden, respecting our local wildlife, simple things that if we make the changes locally we create a better world to live in globally.

Today Daryl saw dolphins in the wild, he said they were happy and where they should be! He asked me to post a personal message:

'This is the way to see Dolphins...in the WILD! Don't EVER buy a ticket for a dolphin show or swim with dolphins in captivity!'

We urge you to watch the movie 'The Cove' shown below, it's not one to watch with children as it is graphic, but it is the most INSPIRING movie and an massive eye opener to what we buy into when you pay for a ticket to see a dolphin in captivity!

We had the amazing pleasure of having the LEGEND that is Ric O'Barry at our Charity ball in September along with the amazing Leilani Münter and many other incredible Cove monitors! These are the people who are saving the future!

Spare 1.5hrs and watch this movie...for Daryl! It's a small ask compared to what he's doing!

Day 16: 30th December 2016

Yesterday Daryl busted a gut to hold position and get to the wind and waves that have been promised for what seemed like days! With bad weather looming in a few days, that could see him being blown further north, Daryl gave it his all to get further west to start picking up what is hopefully the start of the trade winds and it worked! He is in position for going further south where he'll eventually turn west towards Antigua!

We had one major scare this week when on Wednesday Daryl called me in the morning and then casually mentioned he's got a problem with his right eye, the vision was quite dramatically blurry! He didn't seem too phased but said it was making it difficult to see. He had no other signs or symptoms.

Later that evening we spoke again, I asked what his eye was doing and he said it was much the same and he had a dull headache. He didn't seem concerned and said he's just really really tired and thinks a good nights sleep would help!

Me being me I wasn't happy as blurry vision in one eye concerned me especially given all the head injuries he's had! The frustration of being land crew is I can't go and check him out with my ophthalmoscope, to see if everything looked OK, so all I could think was if he could take a photo of his eyes, face on direct at the camera with flash to see if his pupils dilated equally. This was a very small step to assess if everything was ok and would give us 'some' information!

I never thought he would ring back in 5mins and tell me he's done it and his right pupil wasn't constricting!! I told him I was concerned and immediately asked him to contact the duty officer who dealt with the situation and within a few minutes the Atlantic Campaigns Race Doctor was talking to Daryl. The conclusion was concussion and thankfully by the next day his vision was improving and is now back to normal with both pupils working as they should!

It's situations like this you realise if that had been something more serious how fine that line is of things being ok and not out there as help is so far away! This might be a 'slow'-ish race but this is one adrenaline filled experience!

This morning I was kindly invited to do a follow up interview with Hailsham FM who are amazingly supportive of this campaign! Listen to the interview below, (we did have technical issues so there is a sound gremlin but it's still worth a listen)! They kindly played Sophie Janes The Fog for us in honour of her support and help she has given Daryl and Rowers Ark!!...it's worth listening to the end!

So as 2016 draws to a close and has seen Daryl and Rowers Ark achieve the mammoth task of getting to the start line of THE WORLDS TOUGHEST ROW and two weeks in have rowed 536 nautical miles despite head injuries, near overboard situations and a capsize, fatigue and homesickness, all there is left to say is bring it on 2017 ANTIGUA here we come!!!

Day 15: 29th December 2016

So it's been two full weeks and Daryl has certainly crammed in some adventures already! What with bumps and bruises, cuts to the scalp, near overboard incidence, and a capsize! That's a fairly hardcore few weeks!

The last couple of days have seen mildly calmer seas, allowing Daryl to have a small respite from the continuous pounding! He's managed to eat more, row more and tidy up his cabin that had been turned upside down in some sort of washing machine effect from his capsize!

But Daryl being Daryl seems to still be stuck in his own little weather system along with Dmitry who both have, although mildly calmer seas, still been battling against winds pushing them north! He is managing this well, although frustrated with the slow progress.

Daryl has commented 'I know exactly where this bloody wind is coming from...it's leaving red/brown dust all over my boat!! my white guide straps are turning a shade of dirty red!...it's from the Sahara desert!' I personally found that quite impressive!...he clearly didn't as its really reducing any charge on the batteries from the solar panels, so the power issue continues to become more of a problem and running the water maker is very limited. To be fair I had noticed the satellite phone was cutting out more too as its obviously interfering with the signal!

Daryl clearly recognises the sand from when he ran the Marathon Des Sables in 2009, termed the Toughest Footrace on Earth, (there's a theme there somewhere)
He's also the only person who gets to the Sahara and the race gets postponed two days because the Sahara is flooded and they couldn't get the runners to the start line!!

I have learnt from Duty Officer Ian Couch that the phenomenon of this dirty red wind is known as 'Calima, the red dust from the Sahara causing overcast conditions and coating things with sand making it harder to generate power. This is also called 'blood rain!'.

All these sea terms and winds all sound quite menacing, something Daryl has said the ocean has been since day one, it's not been blue but black in colour and the sky various shades of grey and now dirty!!

Here's a great photo of Daryl rowing at the start: (credit Ben Duffy). Please keep donating every penny is motivating him!

Day 14: 28th December 2016

Thanks so much to Uckfield FM for inviting me to their studio and for their amazing support for Daryl's challenge! I am very much looking forward to coming back to give an update on Daryl's progress over the coming weeks!

You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Many thanks to Uckfield FM.

Day 12: 26th December 2016

It's been a fraught few days at Rowers Ark and Daryl has experienced some seriously dark moments but is fighting strong!

As 'land crew', and so much more to Daryl, it is so hard to hear someone in that situation but not be able to help, apart from being at the end of a phone for him...but... I did pack a special 'Sabine's Survival Pack' and of the selection of items inside there was a new iPod containing all my iTunes. (A diverse but sometimes questionable selection!)

I said to Daryl on Saturday when he hit his lowest that that was the day he needed to open it and find his new toy! This was the time to implement the power of music! ...how many of us have turned to music for comfort when you are sad, or motivation when you're struggling. Music can spark a memory and take you away for a moment in a shit situation! It was a way to switch off from the constant beating of Daryls cabin from the enormous walls of water that pound Bo and the howling of the wind!

I wanted to share that out of all the music on the iPod he chose a particular artist. He told me he listened to Sophie Janes.

Sophie Janes is an AMAZINGLY talented singer songwriter and role model! She's our friend and has supported Rowers Ark from day one, performing at out charity ball and creating the haunting and beautiful version of 'Row Row Row' for our promo video!!

I would like to thank her for making a significant difference with her amazing music and bringing light and familiarity to Daryl when he needed it! He said it was nice to hear a familiar voice and looks forward to the next gig we can go to!

Please check out the talented Sophie Janes and buy her album!...you will NOT be disappointed!
http://sophiejanes.co.uk/

Day 9: 23rd December 2016

Today was a day that every ocean Rower dreads and fears!....

Daryl may not come first in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2016 but today he was the first of the fleet to CAPSIZE!!

I can reassure you all, he is ok, I have spoken with him. It's not a nice experience at all and would leave any human being shocked, when the narrowing 6ft by 4ft cabin that is your home and safety suddenly is thrown upside down, placing you upside down under the water! (It makes me want to hold my breath just thinking about it!)

...but Bojangles did what she was meant to,
as all ocean rowing boats are designed to, and she self righted within a few seconds, ready for the continued beating the ocean and weather is throwing at them relentlessly at the moment!

This man is my #hero!! Please keep donating so I can update him it's all been worth it!

Day 8: 22nd December 2016 - Distance to go 2345nm

Daryl's partner Sabine has provided the following update:

Daryl has been stuck in some very unfavourable seas for the last 4-5 days. With winds blowing south west in the region of 22knot and the waves going south east it makes for a very uncomfortable ride. This 'confused sea' state causes waves to come from all directions whilst being whipped with an incredibly strong wind.

Daryl has described the situation as relentless and quite terrifying, he said it feels like sitting on something going 200mph but only moving 2.5mph whilst being hit from every angle!

Eating has been difficult, as there is no break in the constant 'being bashed about', even using the jet boil has become an impossible task, and the risk of scolding yourself is a consideration. Plus these conditions can only make the toughest of human feel queezy! So lack of appetite is one of the biggest battles.

Daryl is meant to consume 5000 calories a day to sustain the constant drain on his resources. At the moment he is probably eating less than 1000 calories a day.

Until the weather improves lack of sunlight on the solar panels is causing power issues and he spends most evenings without power to conserve the batteries. He is also still nursing the snapped rudder cable and managing it manually.

Today I received a message saying he'd just finished a stint of rowing and was tying up the oars when he looked up to see an enormous wave coming side on, before he new it he was washed off the deck against his guidelines and oars! It's these moments you realise how vital the lifeline they have to wear actually is! All rowers are harnessed onto the boat at all times when on deck to avoid any catastrophic incidences especially being a solo! I now feel justified to carry on with my nagging!

Add to this another scalp injury after his head had an argument with a bolt on his hatch again whilst trying to sit up from resting he was jolted and ended up gouging his head against the bolt!

He reported another time he managed to nod off for a few minutes whilst lying on his side only to be woken up as he's slammed into the other end of the cabin!

This row isn't called the Worlds Toughest Row for nothing!!!

Personally it sounds like the sea could do with a psychiatrist...so that it's less 'confused'! Fingers crossed the wind and waves start working together and the sun comes out and Daryl and the teams can have a break from the onslaught that is the Atlantic!

Day 5: 19th December 2016 - Distance to go: 2461.2nm

Daryl has experienced some very rough weather but has done amazingly well despite this.

His partner Sabine has been in touch with him via Sat Phone and sent the following report:

"This is the difficult few days where a lot of adapting to a very different environment is happening. It's the time when the 15578004_689389341222505_732539927116503416_oenormity of what you have taken on hits home as the initial mass adrenaline surge starts to fade.

The last 48hrs the seas have been the biggest so far which has been terrifying and relentless, so sleep deprivation is an issue as you are constantly bracing yourself.

Finding a routine is one of the most important steps to surviving this crossing. At this stage most feel sicky and uncomfortable and eating and drinking is the last thing you want to do, but you have to to keep your strength and clarity of mind to make decisions and remain safe.

Daryl has had issue with power as the auto helm which controls the rudder has such a draw on the battery in these conditions so he's been without power since about 1am but hopefully by midday the battery should be charged again by the solar panels, this is quite a common problem when the seas are that rough.

He hurt is shoulder whilst rowing on day two as the boat tipped sideways and the oar wrenched his shoulder, and he hit his head yesterday being thrown around whilst in the cabin but all ok now.

I believe this is probably a roller coaster ride from hell at the moment both physically and emotionally! But soon he'll want these strong winds to help guide him faster to Antigua"

Sabine.

Day 2: 15th December 2016 - Distance to go: 2538.8nm

Video message from Daryl early this morning.  Daryl has had a rough night with some strong head wings pushing him back a bit, but by 10am UK time he was battling away again and pushing forward strongly.

Day 1: Launch Day - 14th December 2016

With emotions running high Daryl was waved off by crowds of people and his amazing family who will be without him over Christmas.

Video of Daryl crossing the Start Line:

 

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Dedicated Daryl's Atlantic Row for WRAS!

A 42 year old man from Forest Row in East Sussex who is so passionate about raising money for a local animal charity that he will be spending Christmas away from his family!

Alone at sea for 90 days Daryl Farmer will be raising money for East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS), rowing over 3000 miles solo from La Gomera to Antigua starting on Wednesday 14th December 2016. He will be one of 12 boats undertaking the Talis...ker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and he will be one of only four soloists!

With no engine and no sails Daryl will have to row every inch of the journey in his Pure Class traditional style ocean rowing boat, expecting to undertake approximately 1.5 million oar strokes to complete the journey.

The journey will test his durability seeing him row for up to 18 hours a day!

Daryl in his boat in La Gomara Daryl in his boat in La Gomara Daryl with his boat in La Gomara Daryl prepares to launch his boat into the sea The sentiments of Daryl's Row Daryl sorting out all his supplies for his 90 days at sea. 90 days worth of supplies including 10kg of nuts! Daryl in his boat in La Gomara

“More people have been into space and successfully climbed Everest than rowed across the Atlantic” said Daryl Farmer, “I’ll be encountering waves up to 50ft high and need to carry everything I need in my boat with me for the entire journey, like all my food which include almost 10kg of nuts alone, 1-2 chocolate bars a day, mini cheddars, liquorice, sesame bars and paste and many other meal packs of dehydrated food. I will need to eat 5000 calories a day whilst rowing ”

Daryl’s boat “Bojangles” has a built in desalinator to produce drinking water and the communication and navigational equipment is powered by solar panels which produce 260watts of electric.

Trevor Weeks MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS said “I take my hat off to Daryl, I think this is the riskiest, furthest and most challenging and demanding fundraising anyone has ever done to help support our charity. This makes me feel so humble and privileged to have been chosen when there are so many other causes out there. The wildlife of Sussex will certainly be grateful for his mammoth challenge which we hope will see WRAS able to replace one of its ageing ambulances.

Before setting off Daryl said “This challenge is the world’s most toughest row, and I’m just one of four boats doing it solo. I’ve volunteered with WRAS for a couple of years now and I am blown away by how such a small organisation has such a big impact on protecting nature and returning at risk wildlife back to the wild. The staff and volunteers work so hard and tirelessly, and I think this will be mirrored by my row.”

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