The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is definitely living up to its reputation as the world's toughest rowing race. We heard about Team Neas Energy's rescue on the 17 December (Nick Rees and Ed were rescued by a passing cargo ship after their boat capsized twice within 48 hours, read about their story here) - we're absolutely gutted for them, but it's another reminder of how difficult the conditions are, and how our safety needs to be our main priority at all times.
The weather conditions have continued to be challenging; we've had a 40m rope out the back of the boat to slow us down for a couple of days and to stop us from capsizing. We removed the rope as the weather has started to improve, and since this day we've began to make some real progress. We're currently lying in fourth position, but our priority now is to make it to Antigua and we couldn't give a monkeys about going fast if it puts us in danger. We must make it. We may even put the rope back out shortly as there are a few dubious waves knocking around.
Our hands are starting to deteriorate and our feet are in bad shape. Will's back hurts and the top of his neck too. Our bottoms are much better thanks to the sheepskins dad got us! Huge thanks to you, dad!
The cabin is very stuffy, sweaty and wet so the electrics have been playing up, plus we suspect that the socket to charge the sat phone isn't working well. The sat phone is our only contact with the outside world, so we're having to be extremely careful to conserve power to keep it going.
Night shifts are tough going and sleep deprivation is kicking in for both of us. We always pray for moon to be bright so that we can see the waves coming! It's always nice to see the sun come up and we can tick off another night.
Reaching Christmas Day is a huge milestone for us mentally. We celebrated by listening to Christmas songs on our iPods and we even had some Christmas lights on board to decorate Blue Steel with. It was very hard to spend Christmas away from loved ones, but we managed to get through the day by reminding ourselves that Christmas is not just a time for being with family and opening presents, it's also a time to think of people less fortunate than yourself. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors and anyone that has donated to us and our three chosen charities: Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and St. Anna's.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Big love from two very determined salty sea dogs!