I looked at Graham's boat. It was in bad shape. Bad paint job. No hatches, no solar panels, no nothing!
“Do you really think you will be ready to go?” I asked.
“Sure, I'll finish the painting today or tomorrow. Maybe I'll also find some solar panels to put on. That would be nice, but if not we can always operate the water maker manually,” Graham replied, looking and sounding completely unstressed by the whole situation.
He was phlegmatic: “After I finished rowing the Atlantic in 1997 I decided to learn how to row, so I joined a rowing club. It is a bit bizarre really, to row across the Atlantic then join a rowing club to learn how to row. My technique is definitely better now.”
I watched Graham over the next few days. I never once saw him lose his good mood or seem the slightest bit concerned about his state of preparation. I think to the end of my days I will always aspire to be able to deal with stress like Graham.
Eventually, Graham and Michael would finish 22nd in the race, taking 77 days to complete the crossing.
Beijing to Barbados – Christian Havrehed
Graham Walters is a wise man. At 54, this British carpenter is not yet the most senior member of the second Atlantic rowing challenge, a rowing race with two-man teams which started on Sunday 7th October, in San Juan, on the west coast of Tenerife Island. Even if he is younger than Tony Day, a financial consultant of 56, Graham is the only one of 70 competitors to have already experienced this crossing of more than 3,000 miles which is described by Chay Blyth (the race manager) as ‘the world’s toughest race’.
In the feverishness that precedes great starts, GW was one of the few not to be under stress. The day before, as others were busy organising their supplies, verifying their satellite links, welcoming guests or sponsors or cursing Chay Blyth’s casualness – the latter was only interested in their cheques – this craftsman who is keen on quality workmanship was touching up his paintwork on the old dinghy that permitted him to arrive safe and sound 4 years ago.
As some others were packing 60 or 80 days’ food, GW conserved his energy with a last quiet sleep. Then, when the 34 teams were champing at the bit near the start line, he put his boat peacefully in the water aware that being an hour late at the start would not be significant at the arrival
Gerard Albouy, writing in Le Monde