The weather isn't obliging and we will be in Sydney for up to six more days, we learnt today. Most likely, we will be underway next weekend (November 26-27).
We had hoped to be dropping our blades in Sydney Harbour this Thursday (November 24) and making for New Zealand, but our weather man Roger Badham advised that there's a weather system developing along the Australian coast that would effect the weather conditions we require to make a fast and safe get away from Australia.
Thursday would be have been the earliest we could have realistically got underway as we still have a few days of preparation to complete on the boat - no major jobs, just lots of details.
The hardest part of the waiting game for me is spending more time away from my wife and son. That is becoming a mental challenge every day and will be a large part of my personal battle against the Tasman. On the plus side, I don’t have to mow the lawn for an extra week.
We spent the weekend re-packing all our food and with the guidance of Rob (Hamill), we made the call to remove some 50kg of food from the boat. We are still confident that we have enough food to sustain the energy levels we need for the month long row home.
Plus we have a lighter boat. Less weight equals less drag which means a slightly faster average speed. An extra one tenth of a knot of boat speed over a month equates one whole day of rowing.
That said, I have been eating like a man possessed and have added a portly two kilos to my frame in the last 10 days. It won’t be long before my nickname turns from Auntie to Fatty.
I hope the weather shapes up for the better soon, before I change shape for the worse. The weight gain will shift into dramatic weight loss once we’re underway. I expect to arrive home a much leaner person - at least 15kg slimmer.
My weight gain is perhaps even more remarkable with the time we have been spending on the erg (indoor rowing machines), notching up several 90-minute sessions over the past few days. Once the boat is 100% ready to go, we'll step training up another level and make these twice a day so the first 24 hours of the Tasman won't be such a shock to our bodies and bums.
The hospitality we have received here in Sydney has been superb. Stephanie and Ross McEwan have been outstanding and generous hosts by allowing the team to set up camp in their apartment. We have a massive debt of gratitude for them both, and daughters Hana (for volunteering her parent's spare rooms) and Kara for lending us her vehicle on a previous reconnaissance trip.
Former Tasman rower Steve Gates and his wife Allison have also extended some invaluable support, allowing me to stay with them for a few days and mine Steve for information and advice based on 2007 expedition. Steve has also lent the team one of his company (Base FX) vans to help us move the team and equipment around Sydney. Good on ya mate!
Finally, a massive thanks to Sean Langman and the team at Noakes Boat Yard in North Sydney for providing a temporary home for the boat.
We would not be able to this without any of these people - so a massive thank you for all of us.
Cheers from Sydney,
Nigel Cherrie, Team Leader