18.20 BST Jun 09: 51.57.824N 06.00.079W
After spending 36 frustrating hours on the sea anchor in 20-foot swells and strong headwinds in which they drifted 4nm south, west, The Islanders set off on Saturday evening to row north.
Nearly twenty-four hours later, they have made more than 60 miles and are no in almost millpond conditions in the Irish Sea, 25 miles south-east of Wexford and more than 30 miles west of Fishguard in Wales.
The wind has switched to southerly but it is so light and the sun has been hot all day. A tired sounding Alan Morgan had just finished a two-hour rowing shift. He revealed that Gavin Sheehan, who suffered a back strain in the storm-tossed seas on Friday has recovered, and is now back on the oars tonight.
Gavin has occasionally suffered from a bad back, since he rowed in the Irish team and battling in huge swells and north-east head winds in the Celtic Sea on Friday, caused him to sprain his back.
Alan said rowing in those conditions, felt ‘each oar stroke was like lifting a hundred kilos’.
After speaking to the Coastguard on Friday morning, the Islanders – Alan and Gavin, skipper Josh Taylor and James Plumley – decided to ignore offers of help and instead put out the sea anchor to wait for the weather – and for Gavin’s back – to recover.
Alan said: “It was frustrating but there was nothing we could do.”
During this evening’s Satphone call to GBRow 2013 Race Headquarters, Josh revealed how the Coastguard have given the crew great support Islanders, but that after a discussuon onboard the Black Oyster, the Islanders resisted appeals by the Coastguard and RNLI to lift Gavin off the boat for his safety.
Skipper Josh, 24, said: “We resisted all offers of help because we’re determined to finish the race.”
Last night, the Black Oyster was followed by a pod of 20 dolphins and two whales that came up close to the boat and blew spray from their blowholes.
Josh also said: “We appear to have been adopted by a bird that has followed us all the way from the Isle of Wight. It flies alongside us and then rests in the water near the boat. It’s become a bit of lucky symbol for us.”
The Islanders are a heading of 003 degrees, almost directly north. They expect to pass to the west of the Isle of Man and be off Belfast in a couple of days into Scottish waters by Wednesday.
Josh says: “We’ve had no mobile signal since Land’s End but we know we’re building up a great following and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who is sending their best wishes.
“We have heard Matthew Pinsent is now following us on Twitter and we’re all delighted that one of the world’s greatest rowers is supporting us. We’d like to say thanks to him but we’re not able to tweet from here.”
After being ahead of World Record schedule for much of last week, they are determined to catch up with record pace and try to beat the existing Guinness WR of 26 days 21 hours 14minutes for the 2,000-mile journey.