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Blisters, Boils and Barnacles - Reasons Not to Row the Atlantic

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More good news in this week as Robert 'Bertie' Portal and James Cash have now less than 1,000nms to row. It's strange how we all talk about them only having xxx miles further to row, as if they've just popped out for an afternoon's jolly on a river, picnic hamper in tow. Quite the opposite and whilst I have huge affection for the little boat, you wouldn't get me on board Patience in any ocean in a million years. How would I cope? Well, I wouldn't.

Firstly there would be those big scary things called waves; don't like them very much. Secondly, I would be as sick as a dog - apparently this subsides after a few days but I'm not prepared to find out. Thirdly blisters, boils and barnacles. Barnacles? I hear you say, yes, these have to be scraped off the bottom of the boat every now and then as they slow progress down and guess what that means. Yep, getting into the water, and we all know what's in that deep dark briny mass... big... human-eating... sharks.

Then of course there's the question of hygiene. Hmm, washing is a rare treat as you have to desalinate the water first and then wash yourself in a very tiny space on a very rocky boat. Not easy. Then there is the 'bucket and chuck it' issue which I'm not even going to discuss so please use your imagination.

Having to physically row a boat for days on end would concern me too. Admittedly, I do like a little jaunt now and again and loved rowing Patience out in Burnham on Crouch, however that was for a couple of hours on a warm sunny day with land very much in sight.

Now shall we talk about chafing in places that you generally don't think about hence the necessity to row naked? No perhaps not. How about 'claw hand'? It's pretty self-explanatory and frankly really rather creepy. Lack of sleep? Oh yes, plenty of that too along with no fresh food, it's expedition food all the way and maybe the odd packet of sweets to celebrate the passing of a milestone.

There is absolutely nothing easy or comfortable about Bertie's challenge and I can't quite believe he chose to do it and then managed to persuade James to join him. I understand that he wanted to raise bucket loads of money for Facing The World and he's certainly achieved that, but to sit down and make a choice to not only put your life on the line and endure all of the above and more for the sake of others is either bonkers or incredibly brave. For what it's worth, Bertie and James certainly get my seal of approval and judging by the support from their faithful followers on Facebook and Twitter, I'm not the only one ready to hand out the awards.

Talking of awards, or is it rewards, you'll have to excuse me, I've had one hell of a day and it's time to pour myself a drink before I get into a deep, oil infused bath. You see I'm out tonight for a slap up dinner with friends but whatever you do, please don't tell Bert for I fear he may be a little envious.

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