Day 10

I am currently 140nm off the coast of Australia and 1012nm from New Plymouth, New Zealand. Latitude wise, I am in line with Dargaville in New Zealand. I have travelled around 370nm since departing Coff’s Harbour 10 days ago.

I have been on para anchor for over 60 hours now. Yesterday (day nine) was not a nice day. The wind had been over 20 knots all night on the evening of day 8, from the south east, and this had caused the sea state to become agitated and wild. The wind stayed above 20 knots almost all of day 9 so the sea’s continued to grow during the day. I was luckily locked into a favorable current stream with the para anchor and was being dragged in a very rough and bumpy fashion in a south easterly direction. However due to the currents, the para anchor was not able to hold me directly into the wind and I was taking the sea’s beam on (from the side), which is the worst scenario and the most dangerous for a boat as it is the easiest way to capsize. As the sea’s picked up during the morning, I braced myself in the cabin, feet against the opposite wall and waited. The waiting is the hardest part. Inside the cabin I can’t see what is coming. I hear the sound of a breaking wave approaching and brace myself, sometimes it passes under us with only a gentle bump. But every so often we get smashed. BOOM. The entire boat shudders like she’s been punched in the guts, we start to roll, my head hits the cabin wall, I am dazed and start to walk my feet up the opposite wall as the boat rolls past 90 degrees. This is it, our first capsize… But then slowly the Donkey shakes herself off and returns back upright. I rub my head, a bit of blood but mainly a bruise. I peer out at the back deck, it’s a mess, the plastic bucket housing the retrieval lines has been smashed into a number of pieces. The life raft has broken free from her tether, the carbon fibre flagstaff has been snapped off like a match stick. But most worrying is the ¾ inch stainless steel antenna mount at the stern has been bent back by the force of the wave and the sat comms antenna is now leaning back at an unusual angle. If one wave can do that to ¾ inch stainless steel, what would it do to me? I hurriedly put on my harness and clamber but naked onto the back deck. Keeping one eye on the waves as they roll threateningly towards me, I work as quickly as I can on the wet, wildly rolling deck, cutting down the flag, re-stowing and tidying equipment before the next wave hits. Then it’s back into the cabin, feet against the wall, waiting, listening, worrying…

Today (Day 10) I have a brief respite from the strength of the winds, I tried to row this morning but have an 8 knot headwind making rowing very difficult to even keep the boat aligned in the correct direction. So I am back on para anchor, advancing at 1.8 knots with the assistance of the current, hoping for a wind change after lunch to allow me some time on the oars. After being in the cabin for so long I feel weak and lethargic. The sea is wearing me down. I have new respect for it after the last 60 hours. I have even stronger winds forecast in the next few days and not many of them are favorable. The battle continues.

Captain Axe

PS: Thank you for your comments, Monique copies and pastes them into an email and sends them to me. Out here it is easy to feel completely alone at times, so reading them gives me an amazing moral boost.


Posted on October 28, 2017, in Rowing Home. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a great adventure Mr G. Just what you wished for! You wouldn’t want it easy, would you? But you (we) also know that you won’t be beaten. I wish I could join you in New Plymouth when you get there. I have fond memories of the town. All the best from here in Suffolk. UK.


  2. Glory be, Grant, how do you do this stuff? Just reading your recount of events sets my stomach churning. Every moment that you’re out there is a moment showing man’s need for great respect of nature. You’re bringing so much awareness to many issues, Grant. Power and strength to you.


  3. An awesome scarey update Axe. Fingers crossed Dave Field weather man can provide sone kind influence over the weather god and favourable winds to keep you in that right current. My thoughts are with you. Phil Wiig

    On 28 Oct 2017 11:49, “Rowing from Home to Home” wrote:

    > Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson posted: “I am currently 140nm off the coast of > Australia and 1012nm from New Plymouth, New Zealand. Latitude wise, I am in > line with Dargaville in New Zealand. I have travelled around 370nm since > departing Coff’s Harbour 10 days ago. I have been on para anchor fo” >


  4. Good luck. Fascinating to read this blog. All the best and let’s hope for not too many waves like that one!


  5. extraordinary feat Grant, a few more NM and your home. Godspeed to you bro.


  6. Margaret Robson

    How many nm per day did you hope to travel Grant? Hang in there the weather will improve. gordon and Margaret


  7. Love your commentary and guts to do this! Currently following you from Zacatitos on the Baja, Mexico. Would love to buy you a beer!


  8. Keep at it little man – you’re doing an amazing thing. Get this done then we can start planning that darts tour of the UK you’ve been dreaming about for so long…


  9. our accounts are breathtaking! The little Donkey’s doing you proud – what an awesome team you are 🙂 Praying Mother Nature will show some kindness over the coming days so you can eat and get some rest. Safe travels x


  10. We are following you so just hang in, It must get better soon, Thinking of you. Gordon & Margaret Robson


  11. Lets hope that capsize was the last bloody scary reading it, can only imagine what you were going through, hope your bruise isn’t too bad. Holy crap we are with you all the way Grant, it is going to be perfect rowing weather in a day or two. This is taking Intrepid to a whole new level. Stay safe…..Lou & Gary.


  12. Paddles! Wear jocks at least! If you go over and need rescuing, it’ll be awkward for everyone involved!


  13. Grant,

    A very vivid description of your current reality – can’t imagine how tough it must be for you on so many levels.
    You should know and hopefully comforted by the fact that a lot of land lubbers are anxiously awaiting your posts and cheering you on



  14. As I drove to work in Melbourne traffic the other day I was thinking how I would rather be on a great adventure like yours….. But after reading your last couple of posts I am having second thoughts. You are completely mad and I wish you a safe journey and favorable seas. Good luck Axe and keep us posted when you can.


  15. Axe! All the above are spot on with their remarks. Coincidentally, today I visited the Kon-Tiki raft and the three remaining Viking boats in Oslo and thought of you and what you are presently confronting daily. At least they all had company to assist them through the really tough days and nights and able to comfort each other. We can all only imagine the sheer terror of what you feel out there alone. Just know we are all so with you. Your descriptions are gut-churning, your strength of purpose tenacious and because of it, your endeavour to succeed highly probable. Vicariously but anxiously wanting to turn the next page of this live action adventure. Man you know how to keep a reader on the edge of his seat! Godspeed!


  16. Grant, by the time you finish, we’ll have to call you The ‘Iron-row man’ – could have done with the iron suit in that recent capsize ! You’ve given me an idea though …instead of champagne for celebration, I’ll get a few boxes of Calvin Klein jocks for you 😉


  17. You are doing an oar some job under very tough conditions Grant. The weather will improve, your days will be sunny, you will succeed.


  18. Keep it up Grant. Anxiously waiting for the next post. BTW what happened to the scrum cap?


  19. Little Dude, dig in and stay strong. I miss your daily input as a high flying non-exec director so hurry back. I also miss your little face. Looking forward to a few beers and sharing some questionable humour. In the meantime – “What’s Forrest Gump’s wifi passcode?”




  20. Axe! I’m with Brooks! Clothes! Dismemberment cannot be good when naked and there are snapped poles around! Holy Toledo I dunno how you do it. Such a captivating read as usual, and your girls have no idea how awesome their daddy is. Toughest man I know. Keep it up! (With clothes)


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