Leg 3, Day 16 – What has become the ‘norm’

Laura Penhaul By

Day 16 – what has become the ‘norm’

What’s normal? ‘Conforming to a standard, usual, typical, or expected’. Well, with no more than just the 6 of us forming our own social etiquette to measure ourselves against, our ‘norm’ I have come to realise, may not be seen in the same light to those of you outside of our little bubble. Habits I understand, take approx. 6 weeks to form with consistency. So after 7 months at sea, Nat, Emma and I appear to have developed a number of habits that we are only enlightened to understand are not ‘normal’, when we commence a new leg with that of a fresh pair of eyes.

Here are just a few things that we have come to take for granted and if it wasn’t for Lizanne or Meg coming in to join, we would never realise the disparity of our actions and therefore I would never have thought to share with you what our ‘normal’ looks like. So in true ‘Izzy’ form, here are my bullet points:

– Surfing 40ft waves: you may expect that during this time we just hang on for dear life, but for us, these wee mole hills in the sea have become our ‘norm’ therefore during the bouncing seas you will find us; brushing our teeth, using the bucket (whilst holding on to the handrails), hanging out some washing, munching on a cereal bar whilst also rowing etc.

– coping with 40+degrees heat: in a cabin with doors that have to remain closed due to the crashing waves and inside the cabin itself is hotter than a bikram yoga room, you may come to think that we just lie still and control our breathing to cope with the heat. Well, instead we light the jetboil inside (to add a little heat!) and whip up a hot chicken tikka masala or beef curry for lunch! We still continue to blog, run the water maker and even download footage to the hard drives, all whilst literally dripping with sweat to the point where after a 2hr shift we have to wring out our dry towels of sweat!

– supporting during the emotional times: as you know, we’re a close team and there’s times when one of us maybe upset about something or feeling unwell, but there’s usually another team member that’s more upbeat. Well you may assume that the first thing we do is hug or be a listening ear, but truth be told that first thing’s first- we grab the camera! Every bit of varied emotion, or throwing up over the side has to be captured for the documentary, so we are accustomed to this and don’t take it personally when record is pressed first then hug comes second.

There are many more scenarios, routines, and habits that we have got ourselves into, but one thing I’m intrigued to see is that will these take 6 weeks to get out of the habit of after the row? If so, I can only apologise in advance to my housemates, who will therefore find multiple pots of sudocreme and talc in the bathroom and will have to put up with the airing of my derrière on a regular basis!

In the language of Lizanne:
Happiness is – still cruising currently at an average speed of 3.0knots covering a minimum of 6miles per shift and yesterday a 68 mile distance in 24hrs!
Happiness is not – constant salt splashing and very sweaty off shifts in the cabin, meaning everything is wet or damp and there’s no where to dry anything. If it gets us to Cairns quicker then we can suck it up!



  1. Alan Watson says:

    What an achievement to top 60 miles in a day, what a contrast to leg 2. I hope and pray for you that conditions remain in your favour. I suspect that stepping back on Doris at the start of this leg was really tough but it sounds like you are back in the swing. Every best wish, Alan

  2. Jim Andrews says:

    Just trying to picture, feeling a bit low and maybe tearful, when a friend says, I just want to film you during this moment of abject misery, for posterity you understand! 🙂 Actually I think I understand. You cannot record, just the frilly bits, it has to be “warts and all”. I hope that personal lows are rare and becoming rarer as Cairns draws ever closer. Still a huge distance to go but at the speed you ladies are going, you will soon be looking back on this epic adventure, wondering at how quickly it passed. Congratulations on making your 60 plus day, that really is motoring. Your version of “normal” will probably be difficult for friends and family to get their heads around, when you get back to, their perceived normality. I hope you can resume your “normal” lives, when you get home, I think there will be quite a considerable period of re-adjustment
    I have just been listening to some tales of outstanding achievement by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, on Radio 2, as he promotes his book “Heat”. His feats of endurance are super human, he was describing his most recent marathon in the Desert at 53 degrees C overtaking athletes in their 20’s and he, a mere 71. I place the occupants of Doris in the same league as this giant amongst men. Stay safe. XX

  3. Judith Mills says:

    Just as in Leg 2 the great blogs keep coming. Happily, unlike Leg 2 you are travelling great distances. 63.9 mm yesterday ; had to double check!
    Stay safe. xx

  4. Well done girls that is superfast. Cairns is getting closer rather quickly. Do you eat chicken wings , I mean eagle wings for breakfast. I admire you for putting up with that heat.
    I remember stepping off the plane at 5 o’clock in the morning in samoa and for the first few seconds you can’t breath the thick air. Your cabin is that ten times over , and you light up the jetboil for a curry. Amazing!!!
    Keep riding those waves and keep safe xxx

  5. Kim says:

    wow that’s fab progress you girls are making!!! love the habbits and hope you manage to kick the habbit of airinig your bum in public before you get back to the refined quarters of ullswater 🙂

  6. Ray P says:

    It’s not Laura airing her bum you want to worry about Kim it’s more about being careful where you leave the cleaning bucket!!, I would suggest locking it away just in case she gets one of her gobbledygook moments!!

  7. You are making great progress ! Laura, I talked to Ray and Babs today and we have more or less agreed on dates and what we plan to do – can’t wait. I hate to tell you though, don’t expect much relief in Cairns, I have been there in December and it is very hot and humid. Thanks goodness for air conditioned hotels. xxxx Wendy

  8. Simon TY says:

    The Norm. Checking in the evening to see if there is a new blog. Then hoping all,is OK and wondering if there is a reason for the delay. Then go to the Home page and check the map. Zoom in to see if any islands nearby, check speed, then zoom out to get Samoa to Cairns on one screen. Use special finger dividers to judge proportion of distance still to travel. Zoom out further to include USA and Doris is almost ramming Australia. Go to Where is Doris Page, check numbers. Try to remember what UTC or OTC or OMG stands for and how out of date the last fix is. Back to blog. No update, oh yes, there is one, brand new, no comments yet. Read, admire, be in general awe. Then withdraw to my tiny, cramped sleeping quarters, a Super King bed where I can hardly see the far corner. Sleep 8 hours ( oh, no, this is now getting tricky for you to read: too much information.).

    My Norm !!!
    PS Norman has two persona in our family. My sister always refers to 1066 and Norman the Conquerer.
    Secondly, John Lennons book, On his Own Write, where Eric has an abnorman growth on his nose. So, anything odd for us is abnorman
    PPS my normal is a bit weird.

  9. oli d says:

    It’s driving rain in glasgiw and the gearbox has just fallen out of my car. Winning. Normality is over rated girls… i long to take a dump in a bucket! Great blogs xxx

  10. oli d says:

    It’s driving rain in Glasgow and the gearbox has just fallen out of my car. Winning. Normality is over rated girls… i long to take a dump in a bucket! Great blogs xxx

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