February 11, 2022
DELAY OF GAME
Make sure to read the Safety Officer Update to get a bit of background also.
So life on the Ocean continues to throw Owen curve balls. As he got to 500 miles we, knew he still had about 2 weeks left, but it seemed to be closer and I started booking flights (at least reserving and monitoring fares). A few weeks ago Owen was worried about being so far South, so worked his way North and getting to about 11 miles North of Antigua to give him more options as he got closer. This was a huge relief.
After his last stint on para anchor, the conditions sped up but pushing him Southwest. In 48 hours he was pushed over 36 miles South. This is frustrating as he gets closer he has less time to course correct and the winds and currents are continuing to push him South.
Then his second Auto Tiller/Autohelm died. These need to be rotated so one is charging while the other in use. So now he is down to 1, but needs it to help steer as the conditions are pushing him so hard he cannot row and steer into the currents with enough strength and continues to get pushed South. So now when he is resting, he puts out the para anchor or a drogue while the auto tiller recharges. He is hoping to avoid getting farther South (he is currently almost 30 miles South of Antigua and has 300 miles to make it up, but winds are not expected to change for another couple of days.
While he is working through his plan and rowing through the crazy conditions, Owen had a knockdown. A knockdown is like a capsize, but doesn't do a 360. He described it as almost upside down but doesn't flip (maybe a 170). Fortunately he stayed on the rowing deck and didn't get thrown in the water (he is always tethered in 2 places). He happened to have his oars in to start making water and he said that acted as a guardrail. Owen also reported he didn't lose anything. WHEW!
Later while on para anchor, he notices the boat is pulling oddly and realizes after investigation his bowline has broken (fortunately his para anchors retrieval line kept him from losing the para anchor). So now the para anchor doesn't function well and the conditions are too dangerous to go into the water and repair the line.
So he describes his latest tactics as limping in until he gets to a place where the winds/currents will not push him South, so he can keep making progress when not on the oars.
At this juncture, we are not sure what Owen's timing will look like to arrive in Antigua, but we keep you posted.
Keep the well wishes, good thoughts and many prayers coming. Mother Nature/Mother Ocean is really testing him.