Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Back to Work and Reality Bites!

Monday 12th May saw most of the team attempting to return to their normal day jobs... what a shock to the system that was. Not only did the computer keyboard and screen seem as if it were rolling like the waves but thoughts and flashbacks to events that happened during the race kept intruding into one's thoughts!

The London2Paris trophies were presented, by Deborah, to our core sponsors John Wiley & Sons ltd, who provided much needed support for our preparations: The photo shows Deborah (centre) with Steve Smith on Debs' right and David Palmer (Wiley Nautical) on her left.

While at the The British Cement Association Mike Gilbert organised a sweepstake. The challenge was to guess the time of our arrival in Paris. Anne Dearing and Geraint Adams (right) were closest to our arrival time at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and are pictured here receiving their champagne from Mike.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Armchair Steve - Revealed

Dear Audience,

It was after much prodding, poking and the threat of having a stick of dynamite placed underneath his seat, the infamous Armchair Steve managed to visit us at Langstone yesterday evening for a post race celebration. Steve is seen here, in the vertical position, with the trophies and the winners pint mug and medal.

So, now you know, he does exist and was the key link in the communications chain between the rowing team and all the families of the Langstone Cutters London2Paris team. Through his patience, ability to weild a mouse and my ability to handle a mobile phone we were able to relay our situation during the race.

So THANKS STEVE from all of us. You are truly part of the team and a most valued friend.

L2P Team Welcomed Home

The L2P team arrived back in Langstone on Saturday evening to find the High Street to find it had been decked out with bunting, balloons and banners - a very pleasent welcome home. Champagne and beer flowed and the trophies were duly paraded for all to see.

A very big thank you to the residents and members of the Langstone Cutters Rowing club for the superb welcome home we received on Saturday evening and after club rowing on Sunday. We are all very proud to have been able to win both trophies. It looks as if we may have to buy a new trophy cabinet!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Trials of the COMMENTS!

Dear Blog followers you may have noticed that any comments you made were not being published.

All my fault I'm afraid. I had left the "Review comments before publication flags set to ON" which menat only I was capable of lettig comments be published... DOH!

Many apologies to all our supporters and followers.

Your comments have now been published.

KEEP Watching for further updates to come.
There will be a photo gallery and hopefully some stories/tales of the deep from the crew in the coming weeks.

THANK YOU for all your support and an especically BIG thank you to Armchair Steve, without whom this blog could not have operated while the Langtsone Cutters were battling the London2Paris race!

Steve S

Saturday, 10 May 2008

**** WARNING **** ****** WARNING *****

Juts had a call from the crew

AN ADVANCED WARNING to friends and family.....


Wash up meeting to come..

Does this mean their washing or a wrap up???

Keep watching... more to come!

So yesterday the team climbed the steps of the Sacre Coeur and sat and sang the Cutters shanty - much to the amusement of the organisers - as the team song has that in the lyrics... so pictures to come..

... in the evening the teams went to a presentation where the teams recieved both trophies... beers (a few) and wine was consumed!

Todays adventure... check out...move the bags to the "left luggage" at the station and then onward to yet another party (sheesh these guys know how to have fun)

They are due Eiffel Tower for midday - for the celebratory party with the organisers.. and one of the major sponsors of the race.. and for that its

Back on a boat again!

But this is a much larger one.. no doubt with another bar! Taking a shield and the trophy onboard to show everyone
... and then its onward back to Blighty on the 6:30 Eurostar - with the Cutters due back in their various homes from around 9 tonight..

Joke of the day - the opposition name the Cutters boat "The Terminator"!!

AND PLEASE KEEP WATCHING - although Armchair Steve will be "retiring" from the blog today and handing over the reins to SteveS - there will be MORE pictures, and MORE anecdotes and reactions from the crew... (just as soon as SteveS has downloaded 2Gb of pictures...and loaded the washing machine)
Stay tuned ..
Thanks for watching..

Armchair Steve

Friday, 9 May 2008

The Official results are OUT!

Taken from the L2P site


CNA TROPHY (For the lowest accumulated time from London to Paris)

  1. Langstone Cutters: 95hrs 16mins 51secs
  2. Le FigaROW: 104 hrs 15mins 58secs

PEDRO BOATS UK/SEACRAFT TROPHY (Points trophy – Combined results Tidal sections and Pursuit Races)

  1. Langstone Cutters: 28 points
  2. Le FigaROW: 14 points

Congratulations to both teams - but I have to be INCREDIBLY biased here and say


More photos!!!

See the "crossing the line" photos now...


Armchair Steve

The day after...

just had a call from the crew - climbing the Sacre Coeur (if I've spelt that wrong - sorry!) - they've been out for a

"few beers and a meal" last night -

Quote from SteveS

"Its SO nice to be on dry land again"

- Much of the team due to return to the Uk tomorrow

And have waved off the valiant Support boat team - who now have to motor BACK to the UK.

And for those of you still following - Local press has been in touch with them and me... so expect MORE publicity!

Armchair Steve

One more picture

..added to the Cutters gallery from our friendly roving reporter.. Thankyou Pierre!

One of SteveR looking somewhat happy...



Thursday, 8 May 2008

A quote from the organiser!

Just been texted in,...

Jock Wisheart - London2Paris organiser described the Cutters as:

"Worthy Winners"
with a "dedictated and professional approach"

praise indeed supporters!

Jock is the Race Project manager with these credentials

  • Organised first ever Polar Race –now a biannual event
  • Holds world speed record for circumnavigating globe in powered vessel
  • Has rowed Atlantic
  • Former Head of PR for Rugby World Cup
  • Team Leader for 1999 record breaking London to Paris rowing crew
Blimey...now I really do feel small!
Ok for those of you who want to heap praise....

I'll post anything I get on my gmail address up until 11:30 tonight to the team on this blog..
so go ahead.. tell them what you feel!

Armchair Steve

oh and a last "Thankyou"

to the support crews, the safety boats, the crews of the support boats who so valiantly worked with the Cutters and LeFig .... - WELL DONE TEAMs - thankyou so much!

to the organisers... - without whom this would never have happened... - good one!

and to YOU the readers - who are sponsoring these guys, who are reading this.. (round of applause!)

A personal message - "thankyou" to all of you who have followed this - and emailed me to say how much you have enjoyed it... not half as much as I have writing it... Its my small contribution (plus my sponsorship) to the Cutters efforts

But most of all


Last sets of rowing fun.. Part 2

So here it is readers... PART 2 - again a call in from SteveS "translated"

SO... Dateline 4:30am on the last day..Nigel Prepares the boat - ready for THE LAST RACE

05:30 the team get in and strip the boat down to its bare essentials..no peanut butter sarnies..today - we're going for SPEED here!
This is a 7.2 mile DASH... - the decision ALL 7 ROWERS STAY PUT - no changes..no moves..
Water calm - weather cool...perfect conditions - light breeze...
Cutters had a 7.08 min handicap...

And there were off..!

Lots of early morning Dressing gown wavers from the shore appartments - just what they all needed lots of support

A hard slog and they Cutters went for it... - on the final turn in to paris Le Fig were just 200m away... (remember that penalty!) - the team pushed on...

- Sadly the finish line elluded them *just* ... Le FigaROW darted under the arch just 100m in front... - but they STORMED IT - WELL DONE CUTTERS!

From that point the relief and celebration took over.. - they joined the saftey boats for the trip to the basin...
AH... but... we're not out of the (hot) water yet!

Le Fuzz-d'leau arrived (ok sorry - the River Police)- enquiring what they were doing... blue lights and burly Frenchmen..

The French speaker took over.. the paperwork shown and next............
They had a Blue light Police escort to the basin
And there we have it readers.. the perfect end to a superb race and great spirits all round...

Congratulations Cutters... Congratulations Le FigaROW... in the words of Mr Grace "You've all done very well) (Kids..ask your parents!)

From then on silliness took over.. lots of dunkings and jumping in the river.. Colin and Sandra got very wet.. Colins shoes went in with him...

so now the saga of the shoes.. (well its a bit of fun!)

Colins shoes went for a dunk.. - so when the Cutters luggage was put in the taxi for the hotel (while some of the Cutters decided to walk) so in went the soggy ones... - and the were waved off..

Colin dived off into a shop enroute to the hotel for a little shoe-retail therapy.. - happy with his purchase -onward the valiant team went to the hotel..

as they arrived... there on the pavement - outside the hotel..in a little pool of water ...

ONE PAIR OF SOGGY SHOES... all on their own (one two three.. Ahhhhh!)

So there it is happy followers.. Cutters are probably out in the bar now.. as indeed we all should be - toasting friends and competitors...
Been great being part of this. I hope its been useful. Hope to meet a few of you over a pint sometime...

As I get the full results and any more info... I'll post it - but for now -I'm signing off from my dry and dull desk in Cosham..

GO GO CUTTERS! - slainthe'

Armchair Steve

Last sets of rowing fun.. Part 1

This is going to be in stages...as theres lots to type.
SteveS dictated (with some polishing from moi!)
Please forgive us if we've got the last legs in a wee bit of a pickle... lots of info..and a very very tired SteveS!!

So.. Bougival to Suresnes
20 mile jaunt... the Cutters chose to rest a few of the team members as they are allowed to..so the boat had 4 rowers and a Cox - perhaps a good move

They had a 23min and 5.8sec penalty (remember this when you get near the bottom of this)

11:05pm Le Fig headed off into the dark...and the Cutters waited.. - bear in mind ALL these guys are rowing against the current..thats good going.

Colin and the team were digging deep to catch up..using the edge of the river to get the best "least current" - Colin dug deep and "SNAP" off went an oar... - in order to protect the person behind they snapped it..
The Rib sped off to collect the spare.. and a new one was dispatched.. - slightly different face on this one..but the team down to 3 oars and a new one.. pushed on (coo this is TENSE!)

Rhythm was re-established and the Cutters pushed HARD.. peaking at 5.3knots.. (BETWEEN 4 of them!)

They started to close of Le Fig bit by bit by bit.. - and finally over took them (bearing in mind the crew in Le Fig were rowing like troopers!) - and then a cry was heard from Le Fig "HEY they've only got 4 on board!"

So with Colin and Ralph at the front and Elaine and Deb at the rear..and our Sandra coxing they puish onward... - when they changed crew they took on board Ralphs peanut butter & jelly sarnies... and Snickers (tm) for the others.. they finally passed the others and with just three lengths between them it was a battle for the line..

Now bear in mind this is 3 am -and the rest of the "resting crew " and the support team were on the support boat SHOUTING at the tops of their voices and then they all begin singing the Cutters Shanty... - they are now in the suburbs of Paris

So apologies to our French readers to the teams who probably woke you up !!

They crossed the line - just 3 lengths ahead and to much jubilation - and Porridge to follow!
The team then rested....
(Don't they celebrate in style)

Part II and the Final later...

and we'll reveal the saga of the Shoes...

Quick update! With news!

..as I have to transcribe a 20 min phone call into text and thats going to take me a while...



Fastest Time from London to Paris - by more than 6 hours


The Pursuit Race Legs

(all details to be officially confirmed)

Commiserations ..but WELL DONE to Le Fig who crossed the finish line at Paris in front.. so managed to win the last leg - and were as far as I can see brilliant opponents- We're all very very proud of all of you...

Congratulations to BOTH TEAMS - valiant efforts and a superb week - good friends - its all about the taking part..

I feel knackered and I'm only typing this up!!!!!!!

But the comment was

"STORMED IT!" (Steve - go to bed!)

Crew all fit, well happy and KNACKERED! all tucked up in hotels having eaten and now resting..
(apart from Colins shoes...but more of that story to come - its worth waiting on!)

Armchair Steve

Next Update 11:20

Can't speak SteveS at the moment ..text back was..

"Please don't call yet... I will call..all very busy"

(bet that involves bottles!!)
Very edge of his.. Armchiar Steve

They've arrived

... but thats all I know so far... managed to miss a call from Steve...
Will get an update asap



Something to keep you going...

MANY MANY thanks to Pierre (Father of Claude L.) who sent this email to me...

"I am coming back from Bougival.
Any pictures of today.
Langstones Cutters passing Figarow…..
Best regards,

Pierre (Father of Claude L.)"


The pictures can be found at my fotopic website...
(the blog system is giving me a problem posting pictures)


click on the above to get to my site..

or direct at


then clicking on each picture will enlarge it... - or view full size for MAXIMUM experience
ENJOY and thanks to for the contribution!

Armchair Steve

06:00 am Thursday - THE LAST RACE!

Morning bloggers! my phone buzzed at 05:23 this morning... with this text message..

"Will call you after 10am with great news - the most exciting race yet last race of the week is due to start at 6am"

Looks like were going to be kept guessing as to whats happening... no chance of one of us going to be able to "pop over to Paris" to watch the final of this super and challenging week....
I've not been able to sleep looking forward to this morning...imagine rowing in to Paris with the sun rising behind the Eiffel Tower. Who needs the olympic torch - this is MUCH more fun :-)

As soon as I get anything I'll update you with as much as I can..
All I can tell you is "stay watching" - you know as much as I do!! Patience my friends.. patience.
Thats all for now..

"on the edge of his" Armchair Steve

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

No new so far..

Even bloggers have to retire.. No news so far... but will try and get the first update up as soon as I can..

Thanks for all the kind messages.. but Its the Cutters and Crew who are the stars!

Nite all... catch you as soon as I know whats going on... as I know the masses a eager for more!
Armchair Steve

A few more pictures

sorry...we've not managed to get any emailed pictures across from SteveS to me - but here are a few from the Official Site.. showing both crews..



Armchair Steve

6:15pm - Flaked out and High spirited!

Phone call from the crew and team flaked out on the deck of the support boat.

Finished the leg - waiting to traverse the next lock and then press on to Suresnes. The view then is that they will tackle tonights last leg (the penultimate one) from about 10pm ish - (as and when I get any details I'll post them up!)

And then tomorrow its the FINAL row into Paris - we think thats going to be an early start as they absolutely MUST get into Paris by 8am to avoid get in to hot water with the authorities! The plans are very dynamic so we wait for an update as crew time permits.

When I spoke to Steve and Sandra ( for our Scottish readers.. she was delighted )
For those kind people who have emailed in I've passed them on to the crew - spoke to a few.. they REALLY appreciate ALL the support you are providing back home.

Team spirits great - the team were lolling around on the deck enjoying the the evening sunshine and some quiet time..

More info as I get it...

And one funny.. apparently its pretty hot there... one of the "other crew" has just stripped off and jumped in - no comments on how little clothing that person is wearing!!!!

Armchair Steve

RADIO 2 - 6:30pm TONIGHT

Have a listen - We MIGHT get a mention! (can't promise)

Armchair Steve

(going for the world record of the number of radio mentions in one week)

UPDATE 7pm - FAILED! Sorry Cutters

Messages of support from friends & Family

these are direct from my email - warts n all - just to show HOW MUCH the cutters are appreciated and being followed
(and thanks to all the comment for me.. hey its just a small part ... and I'm wishing I was on board!)

Hope its Ok to publish folks... I'm really proud to be a VERY small part of this amazing week!
Armchair Steve :-)


It's showtime, Cutters, Go, Go, Go. Now you'll tie up triumphant c'est certain mais oui!
Bloody well done. Alan G.


Marie-Anne Maurissen from Belgium

I've been following the race with tremendous interest, that's when I'm not training on the canals around here, in the wild but firm hope of being part of a crew next year.

I know Belgians aren't excluded ;-)

I've written already to another adress just to make sure someone will answer and I'll be rowing this race in 2009.

All the best to All

Dear Armchair Steve
Thanks for keeping us up to date with the goings on, our daughter, Sanda Mowat, is one of the team and as we live in Scotland your blog is great, haven't been on the internet so much! Please give her our bestest love and say 'up the auld yins' to everyone, you are doing great.
Thanks Steve we really appreciate how we can keep in touch


Brilliant blog - sounds as though you are doing brilliantly!!
Can't imagine how sore bums etc must be - hallucinations of sofas and feather beds!!
Good on yer, ex-neighbours et al - see you next week.
Up the Cutters!!
Sue & Pete


Have been glued to your blog and news of the row - wow what a fantastic effort from everyone - keep it up and bon chance!
Richard and Sally


Have got friends and family all totally hooked on the BLOG: well done Steve’s, it’s been a fantastic account.

Well done Langstone!! You really have put us on the map. Keep going and I hope it gets a bit cooler.

Sarah, Catherine and Lizzi Maclennan


Dear LCRC Rowers,
What a stunning performance! Age and treachery can triumph over youth! Glad you made it across the Channel in the dark. Keep up the spirits and the stamina.
Row, row, row and keep on winning.
I am beaming positive thoughts,


It was great to wave you all off at the start, and I raced to the Millenium walkway bridge to see you row off in front of Le Figarow, and that was just the beginning!
Just to say how proud I am of the team, doing so fantastically well and in such high spirits.
'Stay zipped' until the first alcohol goes passed your lips, and then let it all hang out!!
from Jenny, the Pilates teacher.
Thanks to Steve for the fab blog - I can't wait to get the next update each time!!

Sunstroke! -

DON'T PANIC READERS its not the rowers...!

but I think it has set in on Steve me thinks - hes just rung me up to wind me up...telling me about how hes sat on the top of the boat in the sunshine.. watching the Cutters rowing by their side...
I think the fun has now set in and the team have settled into a pleasant row...

either that or he has withdrawl symptoms from the lack of alcohol! Something which I have a sneaking suspicion will be fixed over the next few days!

Ah well - all the crews and rowers deserve it...
Is the sun over the yardarm yet?

Armchair Steve

Flippin fantastic!

...were the first words out of the mouth of Steve from the deck of the support boat, when he rang into me at 2pm today (wednesday) - I think spirits are slight high at the mo.

The Cutters launched into the next leg almost immediately leaving around 1pm - with the similar penalty and the Cutters are now around 1/2 a mile ahead... but Le Fig are still in sight and can present a serious challenge!

The team are "really bouncy!" on a "serious high" <(your not kidding)>- they have a few blisters, but no serious injuries - and the three who are resting are "sleeping like babies" down in the support boat

PERFECT! - lots of bankside support for all the crews

And presently the Cutters have an escort of the local Fireboat

Actually Steve sounded seriously bouncy too...

Great stuff! but lets not forget the valiant efforts of Le Fig. Keep going guys!

10:45am Wed Update

All going swimmingly well...(not literally!!!!)

Rowers are on Leg 7 - had a 23 min handicap on Le Fig - and as SteveS rang into me - the Cutters had passed them...

This is a 25 mile pursuit - stop for a brief rest then on to the next leg 8 Andresy to Bougival

Suns HOT - clear blue skies.. 20deg C, Cutters are sweating buckets, wearing their Legionaires hats -(very fetching apparently) - and the river is busy!

GO! GO! Cutters!

And thanks to Ken Bruce - BBC Radio 2 for an excellent metion to BOTH teams
- heard at 10:05am today.

Armchair Steve

Update 03:49 Wednesday

Text message reads (slightly modified as Steves typing was a bit wobbly)

"At 3:49 this morning the Langstone Cutters finished leg 6 which was twenty five miles - in total darkness in a time of 7 hours 11 min 31 seconds,. This was well ahead of the competition.

The night was cold and very damp!"

WELL DONE TEAM - comiserations to Le Fig - we're all friends here!

Anyone wishing me to pass back messages of support - contact me at ordessa-at-gmail.com (change the -at- to an @ sign I don't need any more spam) and I'll read them out to the team - or post to the blog.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

08:55pm Tuesday eve

Quick update...

The Cutters were off the port bow of the Sea Satin (Support boat) having left Notre dame de la Garenne - and were pulling steadily toward their next destination of Mericourt.
They left at 20:38 and are going to be rowing through the night and hoping to do this in approximately 5 hours. So at 3am when we're all tucked up..they'll be drifting into their next "port of call" - There they can lay over for a few hours...and get some well earned rest.

Pursuit on!

In the last leg, they rowed past a campsite with a lot of Union Flags, and St Georges cross flags - the campers found out what was happening and gave mighty cheer to the Cutters as they passed by!

Oh and I think the fatigue is setting into the support crew too.. Steve S has gone all "mystical and poetic describing the scenery " :-)

Just before I finished the call I asked how spirits were... with that came this great quote

"hey the rowers... the rowers have just started singing"

and with that I could hear the distant splashing of oars and some musical voices.

In good spirits? I think so dont you?

And a big thankyou to Lance and the crew of the Sea Satin - for their hard work - seems they the cause for much hilarity on the support boat

Armchair Steve

First blood to Le FigaROW - but read on...

Update from the deck of the Sea Satin - with lots of background cheering and much hilarity going on.. :-)

Le Fig took off at a crackin pace - and the Cutters were released to chase after them with a ...wait for this
20 min and 13 sec handicap!

When SteveS rang in the team had just crossed the line having set a superb pace and to quote from the deck (the noise was incredible..)

"They were bl**dy close" as they came in just EIGHT minutes behind...

WELL DONE THAT TEAM! But Well Done to Le Fig too!

However this does mean victory to Le Fig for this race - All credit to them. This makes it much more interesting now.

The sounds from thew background were jubilant people and "an amazing amount of support from watchers on the quay side" the rowers had certainly "bust a gut" to get where they did.

So that was Leg 5 done - Amfreville to Notre Dame de la Garenne
But bear in mind that leg was 25 miles and both crews did that in around 5 hours (makes me feel kinda weak here...pushing heavy keys)

Quote of the day "Rowers are shattered and plastered* "

*Fear not readers - the "plastered" refers to the band-aids not copious bottles of french lager! (thats to come one hopes)
Onward to stage 6 - the teams have to go up through the locks...and the view is for them to do stage 6 tonight..

More as I get it..
Armchair Steve

Sunny mornings in France - 11:am Tuesday

Morning all!!
Just spoken with SteveS - walking along the banks of the river.. wating for todays OFF!
The weathers warm and sunny... in fact it sounded like a Painting - boats bobbing on the river, sun, rolling hills , sigh! (where would you rather be now?)

Its the pursuit race starting today - Le FigaROW will kick off at approx 1pm - with the Cutters launching approx 25mins later

Its going to be a tough one.. le Fig are a great team and this is going to make the Cutters work hard.

Good luck to both teams - of course this site is behind the Cutters - but we'll be following the progress of Le Fig with interest - as this is going to a test of cunning and work rather than sheer endurance.

And some interesting stats (I know...I love 'em)

The TOTAL rowing time for the Cutters since leaving London is a whopping

67 Hours, 28 mins and 4 secs (approx! - hey I'm only passing on SteveS' comments!)

04:11am Update

Early morning text message reads:

"04:11 Cutters arrived at the first lock ahead of the competitors. Crew all well and happy"

Now these next stages are the interesting ones... pursuit..

The points system the organisers have devised is intended to allow for a crew to win the race, even having lost every leg up to now, by winning all the pursuit races.

Let battle commence - and this is Le FigaROW's opportunity to steal the challenge.
Going to make this exciting now

Monday, 5 May 2008

Some figures:

And a quick text from Steve Sagrott... support crew with some figures:

Text reads:

"Actual results so far
Leg 1 We arrived 48 mins before the other team
Leg 2 1.5 hours ahead
Leg 3 1hr 20 mins

Official Total 3 hours and 26 mins

Goooooooo boys and girls!!! We're wishing you on back here..

Armchair Steve (who wishes he was on the Belle now)

9:25pm -onward to Amfreville

Never let it be said these guys are taking it easy... worth their weight in sponsorship I think! - although I suspect they're rapidly losing weight..

Anyhow a quick update from the deck of the Belle Founder. Spirits seem high still.

"Crew left Rouen at 9:25pm BST - heading upriver for Amfreville - they estimate to be there betwenn 6-7 hours time.

LCRC had a chance to rest and catch up on food/sleep etc whilst Le Fig came in"

Looks like its going well then - but it still a loooooong way to go -

Official timings from the L2P site

LEG 2 RESULTS:- Ramsgate to Le Havre

  1. Langstone Cutters = 31hrs 37mins 10secs (Total time: 46hrs 21mins 40secs)
  2. Le Figarow = 32hrs 53mins 45secs (Total time: 48hrs 20mins 7secs)

19:50 - Rouen - LCRC First across the line

After an exciting last 5-10km negotiating some very large tankers and other commercial shipping whilst the Port Authority & Local Water Gendarmes decided which side of the river the teams should be rowing on (!!!!!) the LRCR have once again beaten the valliant LeFigaROW team to the post...

Next stop Amfreville - that *may* be tonight - plans are changing so the time tables you may have on your coffee tables may not be accurate.
As I get more details I'll let you know

Armchair Steve

More photos!!!

For those of you desperate to see something other than my text.


..has some more photos...

Armchair Steve

le Fuzz! 17-15 Monday

The latest update from the speedy team - they've just rung in to me at 17:15

"Currently rowing through the industrial port of Rouen - not a pretty part of the Seine. Brilliant rowing - superb conditions and the cutters have once again taken the lead - they are presently approximately 2 miles ahead of LeFigaROW - and doing well.

Team are tired having been up since four am - but the weather has been warm and hazy sunshine making rowing conditions very comfortable. Everybody Ok and no problems to report"

However it would appear that the river "boys in blue" and the Port Authority can't decide which side of the river the boats should be rowing on... so they've been paid a visit by a Police launch... with a few puzzled French River Police.

Fortunately one of the team speaks fluent French and the law now know whats going on...
apparently the following was heard on the port marine radio (well something approximating to..)

" We have boats and a couple of rowing boats on the Seine - we're not sure what they are doing but they are BRITISH!" (ah well... !)

The team are due in Rouen in the next hour and will then allow the others to catch up before the next stage on to the first lock.


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Armchair Steve


Started well - LeFigaROW pushed ahead and took a .25mile lead - pushing against the tide.
However the tide has now changed - and with the Cutters rowing hard they are making a crackin 8.6mph

Weather forecast is for warm hazy sunshine and dry!

The Cutters a in great spirits and have taken the lead again........ :-)

(and Radio2 managed to broadcast something that was almost right! at 8;10am)

Early start to Monday!

Text message from the support boat

"0300 early wake up call - On the water by 4am to start the race to Rouen.

Team striking the tide with the weather calm - misty with calm water.

Team in good form"

Once more unto the breach dear friends!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

More stats

TIMES TO RAMSGATE (from Westminster Bridge) Leg 1

  1. Langstone Cutters:- 14 hrs 44 mins 30secs
  2. Le Figarow:- 15 hrs 26mins 22secs

Some photos from earlier..

Just found these on some of the associated Web pages


... one comment I'd make.. - don't those boats look vunerable? Next time you're cross-channel-ing on your P&O car ferry think of these boats in the water... - scary!

Armchair Steve

Interesting statistic!

Cribbed from the report about both crews - courtesty of the Telegraph

Comment from Co-ordinator Mike Gilbert

[LeFigaROWs] team is slightly older than the opposition (Langstone's youngest is 38, Le Figarow's is 22) and he places the Londoners as favourites: "But if we can give them a run for their money, we'll be delighted."

All credit to LeFigaROW - they are putting up a great battle - and its anyones race yet!!
Don't count your poulets!!!

Full article can be found at:


and the opposition team site is


good luck all -

18:55 Sunday - Bonjour Le Havre -

The roving reporter from the stern of the support boat in ecstatic voice..

Belle Founder just crossed the winning line - 142 miles after leaving Ramsgate in FIRST Place


Sunset - FANTASTIC!!

Spirits high - and the sounds of hooters and cheering in the background

Opposition? they estimate at 2.3 miles behind -but those poor chaps/esses are going to pick up the turning tide again..

- Next stage - leaving Le H at 4am - race start at 6am... ROUEN here they come"

Superb stuff... think they're all off for a well earned rest...

Where are they?

for those interested where the teams might be right now... try this site


When you think of the size of that boat... and how far those mad people have got already - they are
doing so well!

Armchair Steve

Broadcast news

Just for fun..I've emailed BBC R2, BBC Radio Solent and Meridian Tonight to see if they might pick up on this... who knows!

Update - just asked Steve Power at Wave105 for a mention after 8am Monday or Tuesday

Update 10:25am Sunday

Steve from the support boat phoned in...

They are currently off the coast of Dieppe - presently rowing at 4-5 knots, but rowing against a 2knot tide.. so the team are finding it hard going. Overnight one or two have been fighting some sea sickness
(Ed: heck I feel seasick just imagining it!)
The rowers doing well - the porpoises/dolphins were a welcome addition to morale overnight. Le Havre is about 43 miles away - fatigue is now setting in as the team have been rowing on and off for 23 hours. Support crew doing a great job of keeping spirits up

So for those of you reading your sunday paper... spare a thought for these guys and the hard working support crew... before you reach for you mug of coffee :-)
The sea is calm, the tide is due to turn around 11:30 - that will then push the team onward riding with the tide. Estimated time of arrival at Le Havre is between 6 and 8 pm tonight.

The best news - opposition is around 4 nautical miles behind the Belle.


Whilst I was on the phone to Steve I made a comment about the chatter coming from the the support boat.. "Thats not us ..thats the guys on the Belle!!!" - so it sounded to me that the team were in fine sprits..and doing really well. Good spirits and once again in the lead.

More details as I get them today.

Armchair Steve

Saturday, 3 May 2008

1/2 way across! - 15:49 Saturday

Txt message reads:

About half way over the Channel and approx 3/4 mile ahead of the competition. Weather good , wind chilly, team in good spirits.

crackin rowin' team!

Update 11:40am Saturday 3rd

Onward t'ward France (hope they remembered their passports!)

The team kicked off the next stage at 11:16 (see it was that breakfast again!) - for the next stage
- heading for the Port of Dover and then striking forth for Le Havre. They've moved off at full pelt

Both teams seem to using different rowing strategies... this could make it interesting.

The sea state is a little more choppy, but there is very little wind.

(Next update will be dependant upon a mobile signal)

Stage 1 Win - update at 08:30 Sat May 3rd.

And the latest news...

Phone call from Steve - from the breakfast table with the distant sounds of munching and chatter.. - is anyone else noticing a trend here - of early morning hearty breakfasts?!

"The team are scheduled to leave Ramsgate at 10:30 this morning, and make a hard push down to Dover, then on to Le Havre. The organisers have made this change due to the favourable weather conditions and the general performance.

They arrived last night 45 mins ahead of the other crew - so

STAGE 1 goes to LCRC!

ast nights funny - during one of the changes a member of the crew shouted "Bag overboard!" - and floating past the Belle Founder was a carrier bag full of seating mats. The Support boat was hurried in to action to retrieve these before they disappeared in to the night.. "

(and thus yet another Tesco carrier bag was saved from drifting back toward London)

"So at 2am this morning the support boat was used as a new addition to Ramsgates "B&B" community. "

A little cozy perhaps?

More updates during the day as I get them,...
Armchair Steve

2am Update 3rd May - Ramsgate

Text Msg update received at 01:55am this morning - whilst you were all in bed.....

"01:47 Belle Founder finished 1st leg 2.7 miles ahead of the competition in Ramsgate. The weather fantastic hence chnage of plan. Will call in the morning to explain".

-- curiouser and curiouser said Alice..!

So readers, I'll be getting an update after 8am today to give you all an update later on this morning.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Update 18:00 Friday 2nd may

and the latest updates from the windy deck of the support boat...
---Message begins
...."The Boats are going well - at least TWO changes of lead so far - and the boats are rowing quite close to each other..

The LCRC have just taken the lead..and they are just on their way near (sorry the wind cut in at that point> AS*)

The Cutters are rowing well - sea conditions are remarkably calm...and they are looking forward to a race down the Kent coast
--- Message Ends

(Which is ok to say for the people not sitting in the cockpit of a Cutter I guess) - keep up the good work! But the support crew sounded in fine spirits.

So for those of us tucked up at home... glass of wine in hand ..spare a thought for these guys who have been rowing now for some 10 hours already...
Looks like we're in for a good race. Will update as and when I get new news
*Armchair Steve. (*AS from now on)

Progress Report 1:58pm Friday 2nd May

Just had a report from "Steve on board Sea Satin"

After a hearty breakfast near by to Tower Bridge.,.. the team assembled..

They had a fantastic start - they launched from Westminster Bridge and pulled away at their usual 24 strokes per minute. They've made great progress, as the Thames is calm and beautiful (Ed: thats a new description for the Thames!)

They've already started to pull away from the opposition. As I got the call, they were just passing under the M25 Queen Elizabeth Bridge
(Ed: probably making better progress than the bank holiday traffic)

The opposition can just be spotted in the distance, some 1/2 to 3/4 mile BEHIND the LCRC team.

They already managed one full change - and all is well.

More details as I get them..
Armchair Steve

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Support Boat gets Loaded

Wednesday 30th April dawned very very wet and windy -- does this bode well for the race (the weather forecasters are saying all will be calm!). I borrowed Colin's Land Rover Discovery and promptly filled it to capacity with all of the bags, supplies and food for the race. Nigel & I then made the 3 hour long drive to Ramsgate where we met with Lance & Mike. "How much stuff have you got" was the exclaimed comment from Lance quickly followed by "where are we going to store it all."

May I introduce to you Sea Satin our safety & support boat. This is where the twelve members of the Langstone Cutters London2Paris team will be residing for the duration of the race. There are 5 berths in the stern, of which two are now fully occupied with the team's bags. So sleeping will be cosy and humid to say the least - but we're all friends! We will also be sharing the boat with the RIB crew so that's an extra challenge.

It's becoming very real now.... just today and then for most of a 4:30am start on race day. We're being driven, by Polly, to London ready for an early breakfast and prepation of the boats. By 10 am tomorrow we should have the rowing boat set up and be cast off heading upstream to Westminster Bridge.

Let's hope for fair weather and a good race....

We are raising money for Life Saving Charities will you Sponsor us?

The Langstone Lifesavers Fund: The L2P team has set a target of raising £50,000 (€65,000) for charities with a common theme – saving lives. Our first charities, which we hopefully won’t need on our trip, are the RNLI and the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer; both charitable funds that save lives at sea. Our nominated Land-based lifesaving charities included are the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Please sponsor our efforts in this race by clicking on the links above and give generously.

Thanks in advance
Steve S