Day 22 – We need to talk about Velcro


Day 22 – We need to talk about Velcro

Day 22 has brought us NNE winds at about 12-18 knots. The waves are bigger now and we’re back to being frequently splashed, but the sun is out and we’re having great fun on deck.
Before I go on, we’d like to say a huge thank you to Stephen and R&M Bearings International for your continued support providing additional spare full ceramic wheel bearings for us for our arrival in Hawaii.
Today, I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to explain how we feel about one of the smaller, but nonetheless crucial parts of our life onboard Doris….Velcro.

There are a number of things about life on a 29 ft ocean rowing boat that aren’t as comfortable as they would be in everyday life, and we’re fine with that. However, often in these kind of circumstances it is the small things that start as minor irritations and then gradually evolve into constant obsessions/bugbears. For us, one of these is Velcro.
Don’t get me wrong, Velcro is extremely useful. Our Icon and Skwoosh gel rowing seats are swapped around from seat to seat and attach and detach using Velcro. Our Yellowbrick tracker (which updates our position on the Where’s Doris map on our website) is attached to the bulkhead using strong Velcro. Our Crewsaver wet weather gear has Velcro around the wrists, waist and neck to allow us to fasten it tightly to keep out the water, and our ankle leashes and the storage pockets on the wall of our cabin fasten with Velcro. But……

We have come to the conclusion the Velcro simply isn’t designed for close quarter living. Every time we crawl out of our sleeping bags to get ready for the next nighttime shift on the oars, the Velcro nightmare begins. I usually start with my hair stuck on the Velcro of one of the cabin pockets, which yanks out a handful out as I sit up to get dressed. We then go to put our soggy wet weather gear on. This is a bit of a mission anyway with 2 of us in a confined space, but is made much worse by the fact that the Velcro on the tops always gets stuck. I’ll always find that I’m trapped with my arms and head inside the jacket with the Velcro on the waist stuck to the Velcro on the arms. When I finally manage to unstick myself and heave the jacket over my head, the Velcro around the neck will get stuck and pull out another chunk of hair. Out on deck the Velcro on our ankle leashes will catch on the Velcro on our trousers, or even on the leashes that we use to move around the boat when we’re not rowing, ending up tripping one or both of us up during the changeover. Once the 2 hour shift is over, this all repeats again in reverse as we leave the oars and head in to remove the wet weather gear and get some sleep.
It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, go through this mini Velcro marathon every 2 hours and after only 22 days you too may be prompted to write about it!
A few quick personal messages:

To the Ducklings and the Oundle girls – thank you so so much for all your emails, I love hearing all your news.
Katie Nixon and the A team – thought you’d like to know I’m developing a love for Snickers out here. No Pringles onboard though.
To the Fernie crew – great to hear about the reunion. We were rowing along yesterday to a rather terrible song called Fireball and I thought of you!




  1. JG says:

    I hate Velcro. Give me a press stud any day. As an amateur photographer I have removedc all velcro from my clothing camera bags and cases having learned the hard way when the elusive wildlife quarry you have been stalking for hours takes off like a firework at the loud rasping noise from the Velcro ‘closures’ The hooks collect fluff hair dust spiderwebs feathers and eventually become useless. Next to Velcro I hate zips. They always snag at the wrong moment either trapping you in a garment or tent or refusing to close when you need protection. As a young batchelor I always had a safety pin or two in my wallet so that I could rescue a zip emergency for my dates. I can see why you have so much Velcro in your situation. It is quick do up or rip open and it doesnt have to be precise like a press stud in howling gales and drenching seas. Important in trying conditions/situations.

  2. Simon TY says:

    Velcro……you only learn these things by experience ! My sheltered life, I have little velcro experience, though in the hills in 40 knot wind, it is the most useless stuff for trying to close ones hood and batten down the hatches.

    You are taking a few things for granted. What is the air temperature ? What was the sea temperature ?

    NNE wind sounds good. You are sooooo much further out to sea than the first attempt, hardly on the same map. So, hope it pushes you further quickly.

    news from here ? Murray v Djokavic later on today, though Murraymint has lost the last eight encounters. Charles Kennedy Lib Dem ex leader has died. Is 25C here this afternoon, the first day of summer.

    I’ve been looking at Western front graveyards. A year early for the Somme, but 100 years since Ypres. Stood by exact anniversary graves from obscure battle of Festubert amd nodded to the poor kids who died. Visited the site of the much-hyped Christmas Day football match truce. Makes one thing of Walking with the Wounded.

    keep going, despite the velcro XXXXX Simon TY

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