By Mark Beaumont, writing for The Independent
January 31st at 10:55am and I was rowing hard in the final five minutes of my shift. Ian, as always was in front of me, Yaacov behind and we were going fast, just over 500 miles from our destination in Barbados. The swell and winds were coming from the east and it was an average, fairly predictable sea. I was completely dry, which was as good a gauge as any as to how big the waves were. My thoughts were on what I was going to eat during my two-hour break and looking forwards to a short sleep. None of us had slept more than 90 minutes at a time in the 27 days since we had set out from Morocco.
Despite the huge fatigue from four weeks of very hard rowing, spirits were high as the trade winds had finally reached us and for the last 48 hours our speed had picked up considerably. We were tantalisingly close to World Record pace – just another six days.
I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t hear it coming. The boat pitched up without warning, the stern cabin in front of me lifting quickly as a large wave sped under us. Sara G then pitched wildly to my left. I instinctively let go of the port side oar and held onto the metal safety rail like it was a monkey bar. There was an awful moment in equilibrium as we perched perfectly on our side. In all the huge seas we had seen, she had never been this far over and yet I still thought she would self-right. I can’t remember anyone calling anything, I can’t remember much at all except I was then upside down, in the water and fighting to get my shoes out of the rowing straps. They were stuck. I managed to pull my feet free, leaving both shoes tied in and kicked for the surface. Read more…