Leg 2, Day 65 – Many Miles

Emma Mitchell By

Leg 2, Day 65 – Many Miles

Yesterday we passed an impressive milestone. Doris has now covered over 5000 miles since our first outing in Christchurch almost two years ago. Adventures to the Isle of Wight, sea survival in Plymouth, a 24 hour row in Falmouth and plenty of training out of Christchurch made up the miles before we reached San Francisco. Since then she has experienced strong winds, torrential rain, burning sun and still clear night skies. She has seen whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and many birds. She has been our home for 149 days, taken good care of us and we’ve had many laughs and jokes and a few tears on board. In the next day or two we will also pass the 5000 nautical miles since San Francisco and the 2000 nautical miles since we departed from Hawaii markers.

It is hard to imagine or explain exactly how far our journey actually is but one school have found a great way to experience it for themselves. During leg one I blogged about how inspired we were to hear about a sponsored swim happening at a swim school run by Meg’s Auntie Linda. They were swimming one length for each mile of our journey and before we had reached Hawaii they had already reached their virtual Samoa. A couple of days ago Wellesley House School where the swim school is based held a final sponsored swim to reach virtual Australia. With Meg there to support the school pulled together and after a four hour long sessions, at 7pm, they arrived in Australia. Many of the pupils swam double sessions and the top swimmer swam 140 lengths. The head teacher came and swam 100 lengths and those who didn’t swim counted lengths and were on drink duty. Having known the date of this challenge for a while we thought of the swimmers during our night shifts as they swam and knowing that they wouldn’t stop until they reached their Australia were inspired to push just that little bit harder despite the current and tiredness. It is humbling to think that we have inspired young people to challenge themselves and are grateful for their help in raising money for our charities.

We have an ambitious fundraising target to reach to provide support for our charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded and we need your help. Do you have any ideas for covering the 8446 miles of our journey (you could add on a few if you like to cover our unplanned visit to Santa Barbara) in a sponsored event? Could you help us to provide support to those suffering from breast cancer and their families? Could you help to support an injured servicewoman build a new future? Please get in touch at info@coxlesscrew.com and let us know your fundraising ideas. If you are a school and want to get involved in our schools project then email us at schools@coxlesscrew.com.

UPDATE: Last night saw an end to the clear skies and bright moonlit rowing shifts. With heavy cloud cover and a freezing cold two hour shower for LP and I the night was dark and cool. However without a breath of wind for much of the time the ocean rolled gently like silk around us and we continued to make progress South when not stuck in a squall of wind. As changeover time arrived and I was about to exit the cabin wearing my damp kit for another two hours on the oars Nats and LV hushed us and we could hear a pod of whales passing close by. In the darkness we couldn’t see them but we could hear blowing and a gentle whistling sound as they came up for air. It was another magical moment on the Pacific. Today we appear to have come across a northerly current so are back to making painfully slow progress. We wouldn’t want it to be too easy after all!



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Hard to imagine a 29′ boat doing 5000 miles! I have a 10 year old motorbike that I ride almost every day and it has only done 15000. You now have less than the length of Britain to go before some respite in Samoa. Then the final leg and a, so well, earned hero’s welcome, in Australia. I look forward to you completing this herculean adventure but will be sad that my new hobby of following a team of extraordinary people achieving the almost unbelievable, will be over. Keep those incredibly strong spirits up, the insightful blogs coming and those oars going. Stay safe XX

  2. Simon TY says:

    Flattered to be mentioned in a blog ! I hope my ramblings mean something, however banal.

    5000 miles. Blimey, hardly bears thinking about !

    Whales: people pay grillions of pounds to sit on a boat and occasionally see a spume miles away. There is a whole industry of whale watching ( I myself have been to see the Grey Whales and calves in Baja Magdalena in the late 80s). And you get silently to drift through them, as co companions, voyagers, current riders. We were voyeurs, intruders, there under false pretences. You are not. I hope those intelligent beasts can see and feel your effort, your anxiety, your excitement as they come close by. A shout, a laugh, a gasp will get through to them. Then they will be gone, maybe never to be seen by a human again. How very special. Noone in a powered boat would hear them whistle, cry, gurgle, sing.

    And they, I hope, doff their caps to Doris, hardy, sturdy traveller, appreciate her lines, her strength, her beauty. 5000 miles Doris. An amazing effort

    XX STY

  3. Robert says:

    Rowing 2 knots for 12 hours with 12 hours unbroken rest & recreation will leave you healthier than ROWING 1 knot CONTINUOUSLY for 24 hours, shalom, snowdrops & bluebells:)

  4. Simon TY says:

    Robert, I know there was a couple of years of discussion of the optimum rowing period and the two hour cycle was agreed. I believe one of the very first blogs explained why. Laura particularly has had access to the finest physiologists and psychiatrists through the Olympic squad that she is part of. It seems a crazy schedule to an outsider, but there is method to their madness.

  5. JG says:

    As far I can see 12 hours at 2kts covers the same ground as 1kt in 24 hours. Correct me if I am wrong. Clearly an enormous amount of research has gone into shifts and cycles of rowing and I am sure that it is something that the Crew have under constant review. Would be interested in reading the Crew’s views on this.Meanwhile just wishing them best speed and to keep safe.

    • Robert says:

      Of course it covers the same ground … that is the whole point, it is better to be fit and go faster for half the time instead of rowing continuously and becoming totally exhausted. Perhaps the “experts” should be flown from their ivory towers and forced to row Doris on 2 hour watches for 2 months and see how they get on … just watch them whinge.

  6. .. and me. The girls know what they are doing and have received expert advice to help with their decision.

Leave A Reply