Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | September 16, 2011

The rowing’ll be the easy bit…

Ocean rowing projects have 2 main parts: getting to the start line, and getting from there to the finish line. Whilst the second is obviously a lot more gruelling and dangerous, the first isn’t all that easy either. So bear with us as we share the current “challenges” we’re facing, which seem to be multiplying like rabbits, or perhaps mould in an ocean rowing boat cabin…

This Sunday, we were due to take part in the Boston Marathon, a 31 rowing race from Lincoln to Boston (in Lincolnshire – if it was to the one in Maine, it would be more than 31 miles). We’ve done this before, but never with such a “31 miles, that’s not even a full day’s target on the ocean and we’re only rowing our 15kg single sculls not our 1 tonne tiger” perspective. However, the event has been cancelled owing to excessive weed clogging up the river.

In a different area, a week ago, we finally got together all of the forms and documents that Woodvale, the race organisers, need from us. These include letters from our dentists attesting to our “good dental health”, forms from our doctors (which they charge £30 a time to check the boxes on), forms about our health that we fill in ?in case our doctor didn’t know, forms about whether we want to be told in the case of a death in our family, a form for acknowledgement of risk (no, rowing an ocean is DANGEROUS? Who’s have thought it…). Richard posted them at a post office last Friday. And they have not yet arrived in Devon. They are forms that are presumed lost at sorting office. They have sunk without trace.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to finalise our snack packs – 180 of them in total. 1 kind sponsor has finally delivered their donated items this week, which is great, but also about 2 weeks later than when they first said they would, which has delayed filling these. And now (and this bit is totally my fault), I’ve realised I don’t have enough of the plastic bag roll for vacuum packing the snacks in, so a few more days are lost waiting for this to arrive.

And the 2-3 weeks that it was suggested the fitting of the autohelm on the boat (see photo below), which means we can’t go out in her at the moment, has inevitably turned into 4, so she’ll be ready at the end of next week – exactly when we have to start our compulsory first aid, navigation and survival course. Bad timing, eh?

I won’t bore you with more minor issues relating to the water maker, our medical kit, or our footplates, but just in case you were thinking “is that all?”, it’s not!

So all in all, I rather feel that 12 hours rowing a day once we get going will be a breeze compared with all of this. Ideally a nice north easterly breeze, please. About Force 3, I think.

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