It’s now been over a year since Captain Ewan sent a whatsapp message to the group letting us know he intended to row the Atlantic in 2019, and asked us whether or not we were interested. Of course we were!
None of us fully appreciated the sheer amount of organisation and preparation required to undertake such a challenge. There was so much to organise that we didn’t even consider when we all agreed to be a part of the adventure. Luckily for us, having grown up together there is a healthy ability to work together to solve problems, and we try to divide and conquer through all of the administrative tasks thrown up.
Even simple things like agreeing which charities to focus on proved difficult, as there are so many great causes out there to support. We all had some personal charities that were personally important to us, but after taking on some advice we felt we needed an overarching main focus which united all members of the boat. The one element we all felt passionate about was the environment, so that became our raison d’être for the challenge.
Being an international team also gave us some hurdles to overcome. We were communicating via phone, email and whatsapp all at the same time, which obviously became confusing. Having a weekly video call got us back on track and lining up behind the most important tasks at hand.
As we’re no experts when it comes to ocean rowing, we’ve made sure we have reached out to people more knowledgeable than us when we’re in doubt. We’re delighted to have purchased a second hand boat from the team which won the race last year, however it was important to know if we were getting a good deal. Thankfully, Ewan’s Dad has a bit of nautical experience and so was able to advise, plus the team at Rannoch also provided some great impartial advice. The fun only starts once you’ve bought the boat however, as storage, repairs, insurance and transportation all now need to be considered!
Training has been a series of stop and starts for all of the team. We’ve all made progress and found ourselves rowing longer and better on the erg machines, but next year we all need to make a huge effort to train more and train harder. Thankfully we’ve started fairly early and managed to spot any potential weaknesses or injuries (like torn hamstrings, hernias and even a dodgy jaw that needed some attention!), which should give us a clear runway next year to accelerate. The team have utilised a strength and conditioning expert for a training program, who has also completed the challenge before which helps tailor the exercises for the reality of ocean rowing. This will be a huge help!
The biggest challenge however has been the sponsorship. Raising such a large amount of money takes a huge coordinated effort across the team and takes a lot of time and energy. Between us, Ewan has created a fantastic sponsorship deck, Ed has created an amazing website, Jon has set up the social media accounts to spread the word and James has set us up as a not for profit organisation for banking purposes. And that was the easy part! We’re not doing too badly on the sponsorship front, however there is still a long way to go and many more people to chase. People we already have a relationship with has been key so far, however we will soon exhaust those options and need to try and get in front of as many corporate sponsors as possible to explain the purpose of our expedition and the causes we are raising money for. If you’d like to help us on our journey we would love to hear from you – please drop us an email or message via the website and we will get in touch!