Freeloaders are back! - Days 63-65

Pipis are back!  Photo Credit: ABC Radio Melbourne, Fiona Pepper

Pipis are back! Photo Credit: ABC Radio Melbourne, Fiona Pepper

Yep the freeloader pippi’s are back big time! For those watching on the YB Tracker you can see at a glance Michelle Lee is struggling big time to keep the boat moving. She can’t scrap the freeloaders off as it’s way too dangerous, given the sea state right now, with up to 3.0mt waves, which is certainly throwing the boat around.

So what do these little ‘hangers on’ mean to her. The most obvious is dramatic reduction of her boat speed being only 35nm in the last 24hrs compared to her rival, Isaac Giesen on The Blue Rower, who has achieved 60nm.

Secondly, at night her boat is moving too slow in this sea state for the autopilot to work. So if she stops the autopilot and centres the rudder the boat will just go south very quickly. To slow this southward movement she has now deployed her drogue which is slowing the boat right down to 0.7kts.

Despite the current favourable winds at night Michelle can’t use her autopilot and achieve her normal 2kts+ boat speed to go west. This is all adding up to her already frail state of mind of wanting this over…..


More frustrations with eight calls about problems with the drogue. Eventually she got it under control and was able to get to bed at 11.30pm her time. Through all this she has been accepting and practical about the fact that things can still happen with less than 200nm to go. She shared a laugh with Tony and eloquently stated ‘I’m never going to row an ocean ever, ever again’ to which he added ‘nor climb a mountain, scale a cliff, traverse a desert or attempt to reach either the South or North Pole!’. Well let’s wait and see about that statement…..

Courtesy of Tony Roberts (Designated Person Ashore)