Letter from the edge - the Canary Islands
October 7, 1997
All of the teams entered in the Atlantic Rowing Race met this morning. The meeting was to discuss controversial additions to some of the racing boats.
As the only all female team, Louise and I have been treated with respect and even kindness. However, many of the all-male teams are cranky with one
This morning, they barely stopped short of accusing one another of cheating. As a group, we debated the length of one boat's skeg. Then the
issue was whether another team had their wind generator mounted too high (we don't even have a wind generator). One French team added fins to their
boat which is clearly against the class rules, but they refused to remove them unless other teams were required to remove hoops, bars and other above
the waterline additions that might catch the wind and act like sails. In the end, the decision was to allow people to race with whatever additions
they had made to their boats. This sent many of the more competitive teams scrambling to add masts, hoops and fins to their boats.
We will have none of that. Our boat is clean. We could spend the next several days in a panic making dubious additions to our boat, but the
additions would be slipshod. In the end, this race is against ourselves. It is a race with a mighty ocean. If by some miracle of strength and
endurance Louise and I managed to finish well, I don't want someone to come back and say, "Their wind generator acted like a sail," or "Their fins gave
them an unfair advantage." All of the grumbling about who has what addition detracts from the ethos of this event. On the other hand, being a
little out of the fray, Louise and I grow more confident with each passing hour. From our perspective, the boys can burn up all the energy they like
plotting and worrying.
James and Noreen are off to Santa Cruz to find a fellow named, Jose. We are told that Jose is THE man to extricate our boat from the customs
The quote of the day is from the e-mail. "Row well and live." It is from Ben Hur. We are afraid we will not have the power necessary to read our
e-mail on the ocean, but it will be fun to peruse this mail at Christmas time. It is only then that we will have the energy to assemble coherent
answers to some of the questions. When power allows, we will compose "letters from the edge" to let you know how we are progressing.
News Flash - The boat sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken (not our boat) arrived with a hole in it. Being two women from Kentucky (turned down by
KFC) we gave the British team our condolences. We did, seriously. I believe they will be able to make repairs in time for the race.
News Flash - If one more person calls us the "girls team" I am going to blow a gasket and fly around the Island backwards. They don't call the British
Royal Marines the "boys team." "It's habit," I am told. Do they call the Queen "girl?" Do they call Margaret Thatcher "girl?" I think not. We are
NOT amused. If this persists, someone will have to face crossed oars at sunrise.
News Flash - James' hairdryer blew up in Paris. Although he is traveling with three women, none of us has a hairdryer. Like I said,
fashion princesses don't row across oceans. James wore a baseball cap for four days, declining to show his hair. Happily, James was able to rent a
hairdryer and we are all resting easier.
News Flash - Going against her "fashion princesses" remark made above, Victoria Murden purchased a Hermes scarf in the Orly airport before
leaving Paris. See plans to wear it across the Atlantic. After choosing the scarf because of a red white and blue theme, Tori was told it's called
"The America." That sealed the deal.
News Flash - Louise cut Noreen's hair. Noreen is now in search of a beauty parlor. Louise's hair cutting experience had been limited to horses.
There it should have remained.
News Flash - Last evening we drove to Mount Teide. James was heroic at the wheel. Heroic because he is afraid of heights. James is not accustomed to
driving a Ford Fiesta or a stick shift. When we smelled something burning on the way down the mountain, Noreen explained the proper operation of a
clutch. Our advice: don't purchase a rental car from the Canary Islands. Especially, do not buy a red, Ford Fiesta.
News Flash - Seeing all the grand mountains and cliffs Tori is dying to go climbing. Louise has promised to "Take Tori down single handedly" if she
wanders off in search of a cliff to climb.
Ta ta for now,
Tori in behalf of the American Pearls