According to the calculations of Grayson, one of the people watching Northumberland resident Colin Sander’s progress online as he rows single-handedly across the Atlantic Ocean, the intrepid 63-year-old rower has crossed the halfway point in his formidable journey rowing from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.
Article by Ted Amsden
Commenting in an email, Grayson says he has measured the distance travelled to date (Jan. 21) and the amount remaining by three yardsticks, statute miles, nautical miles and kilometres.
“Good Morning Colin….Congratulations, Sir, on my calculation you must be more than 1/2 way across…”
According to the most familiar yardstick, Grayson says the self-described “happy technical sock and apparel salesman” has rowed 2,375 kilometres during the 41 days he has been at sea. And he has about 2,528 kilometres to go before he reaches English Harbour in Antigua.
Colin has not written extensively about this adventure, nor has he shared many photos on his Instagram account. Presumably, he is too busy rowing 10 to 12 hours a day. Given the cork in which he is travelling accommodations are probably not conducive to writing at length. However, he has had some moments of note which he shares on his blog.
from his entry for day 41
“Yesterday when I checked, as soon as I opened the hatch I could smell burning plastic! I looked at the switch panel and the switch for the water maker was bubbling and smoking. I turned the main breaker off and let the cabin air out. Keeping an eye for more problems. In the end, I had to take three hours out of my row day to rewire another switch to power the desalinator. The wiring wasn’t hard but trying to balance the control panel on my foot in a pitching and rolling boat made for an interesting and challenging time.”
from his entry for day 39
“I could see this shape circling around the boat. I stood up to get a better look. I thought it’s a shark…4 or 5 feet long. As I watched it go under the boat I heard another noise on the other side near the bow. Here were 6 or 7 tunas all pressing themselves against the boat clearly trying to hide. Every now and then one would try and bolt and I’d see the big fish pick it off. Finally, I got my waterproof camera out stuck it in the water and started taking pictures. When I looked at the images later I got a great picture of a swordfish. It wasn’t a shark after all.”
from his entry for day 37
“Well, I definitely have a fish farm going on underneath the boat. I’ve seen little fish for a while and lately fish that look like they could be 4 or 5 pounds. Just as I was packing up at the end of the day today, a huge turquoise coloured fish swam under the boat. I jumped for my camera but by the time I had it out he was gone…Today there were lots of flying fish getting airborne as 100’s of them leapt out of the water at the same time.”
from his entry for day 26
“I’ve been observing a few waves since I’ve started this adventure and have some observations. There really are superwaves, not like in the movies but they are much bigger than everything else by a large margin. They tend to travel in 2 or 3 together. However, accompanying them are the sniper waves. As the big wave collapses it shoots snipers out the side and these literally can go sideways. If you get nailed by one of those it can be game over. I had one hit me the other day, about 500 gallons of water hit the boat, tipped it up on its side and flung me to the opposite side of the boat.”
He says his day-to-day ritual is, “Row eat sleep repeat…”
“I sometimes feel like a hermit crab, dragging my house around with me wherever I go. It ain’t pretty inside but it’s home.”
Colin’s row apart from being a major challenge in his life is also a fundraising event for Community Living Ontario. To find out more about Colin’s row or donate, visit:
A Million Possibilities: Solo Ocean Row 2017.
You can read his daily entries and look at a gallery of photos about his adventure at the same time. And check out, too, his thoughts about what has been the best and worst aspect of his row so far.