Departure Day

6 January 2013

It's time to leave home and family in about an hour to move to onto the last part of my preparations before pushing off from the shore later this month, hopefully. Wow, I don't know how to put into writing what's been going on over the last month and right through Christmas. All I can say is I would not be where I am without the massive help and support from a few good people. It goes without saying that Emma has been there for me every day and so have Lottie, James and Freddie, but I could not leave the UK without saying what an incredible person Mike Wood is. He has made it all possible and the boat is just fantastic, totally tweeked and the best boat in the world. It's all down to me now. Amy Munro joined our little unit to take on anything I throw at her and she has toughed it out too. Mike and Amy have taken so much weight off my shoulders that I have been able to start focusing again on what I am about to do. These people are very special.

So I think all is in order, but as most will agree, it is impossible to leave HQ with a clean desk. However, I have to decide what can wait until I get back and on the other hand, don't leave before the important stuff is dealt with. So this is what I can work on over the next few weeks whilst doing my final training. The boat is arriving in The Canaries as I write and her journey has gone well. So tomorrow we will be re-united. I've got all my stuff packed and if I've forgotten anything, my sisters are coming out to see me for my birthday next week, so they can bring any kit with them. So all in all, we are sorted.

The weather is not ideal at the moment, but I'm browsing it on a daily basis and hope we can see some nice highs building over the Azores later this month. This will give me the stable wind and favorable direction all rowing boats need to leave the Spanish waters.

There are so many people behind this one man challenge, you would not believe it. I'm looking forward to creating a flow chart to show who's who and what they do! At the last minute, Corona Holidays who specialise in Canaries winter breaks came forward to help my family come and visit me before I leave. I still need to find a remaining £14,300 to keep the shirt on my back, so please anyone who is feeling generous or wants the last Branding spot on my boat...please get in touch with me and we'll have a chat. Any support goes a long way!

My poor cousin Chris died yesterday. He was a great man and supporter of my last row. He will be missed and I will be thinking of him when I am lonely. To Jackie, David and James, be strong and remember our thoughts are with you.

Here we go. It's time to leave and time to start this next chapter to my campaign.