Known as “The World’s Toughest Row”, we will be competing in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge as the first-ever brother and sister. Leaving on December 12th, 2019 from La Gomera, The Canary Islands we will row 3000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Antigua.
A true test of endurance, we will have to take shifts, 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the boat moving. This means a maximum of 2 hours sleep at one time for the duration of the row!
Unsupported in the middle of the ocean along with 40+ foot waves, freezing conditions, equipment failures and cramped sleeping quarters this challenge is as technical and mentally tough as it is physical.
Q & A
How long will it take? We will be rowing in 2 hours on – 2 hours off intervals, rowing sometimes alone and other times together. With this structure, we are aiming to take between 40 & 60 days
What will you eat? Expecting to burn around 10,000 calories each, every day we must consume most meals in the form of highly calorific ‘space food’. Although fresh produce will be missed, Cam is certainly hoping to catch a fish or two along the way.
How will you get your water? Each morning we will filter water from the ocean to have our supply of drinking water ready for the day. This sounds like a simple task, but there is always the risk of equipment failing, such as our batteries running too low or an air bubble in the filtration pipe meaning we are unable to pump water. In case of an emergency, we will carry enough for 5 days of reserve water. But if we break the seal we get a time penalty.
How will you sleep? There are two cabins, one in the stern and one in the bow. Each just slightly bigger than a sleeping bag at most. This is where we will sleep / camp out during our 2 hours shifts. The cabin in the stern will also hold the electronics so is slightly smaller.
What if there is a storm? Since there is bound to be bad weather at times, we must make sure we are prepared for when there is a storm. Depending on the situation we will decide whether safe to continue rowing or put out our para-anchor and stay in our cabins. There is a risk that we might have to endure this solitary confinement for hours or even days until the storm passes. The para-anchor will prevent us from drifting further away from the finish line.
Are you likely to capsize? Most likely we will capsize during our crossing. Because of this risk, it is essential that we are tied on at all times when on deck and do not have any loose items that could lose overboard.
If our cabin doors are fully closed and sealed the boat should self-right after the capsize.
Will you have support if something happens? There is one support yacht amongst all of the crews. Therefore not specifically assisting one. The crew on board the support yacht will be contactable over the radio 24/7, however, it could take up to 6 days to be rescued, so we are most likely to contact a passing cargo ship if in distress and require rescuing.
During your crossing will you have any communication with Land? Yes, although this will be limited due to the high costs of sending out information via satellites and the power required, which is generated using the solar panels on our boat.
How will you know you are going the right way? The stern cabin will hold all our navigation equipment and GPS. This will connect with our autosteering and in turn the rudder on the bottom of the boat to make sure we are on course. As part of our training, we must complete a celestial navigation course, whereby we will be able to use the sun, moon and starts to track our journey.
Where do you go to the bathroom? The expression used amongst the Ocean Rowing community is “Bucket and Chuck it” – Without going into more detail, hopefully, you get the idea.
Will you see any other crews? Our dedicated land support will keep up updated on our position in the race and any nearby crews. Even if a crew is 5 miles away, in the middle of the ocean we will not be able to see them. There is always the danger of passing cruise liners and cargo ships as we cross many major shipping lanes, especially nearer the ports.
What kinds of wildlife will you see? There will be a range of wildlife that we will see, such as dolphins, turtles, fish, sharks and whales. Most dangerous are the flying fish, especially if rowing at night as you cannot see them coming straight towards you.
Will you get in the ocean, and if so is it safe to? Every 3 days we will get into the water to scrape the barnacles off the bottom of our boat. If we leave the barnacles too long then this will cause drag on our boat and slow us down.
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