Day 16

Laura Penhaul By

Day 16 started in the early hours of the night with our usual friendly stormy winds and waters as we approached into the Santa Barbara channel. The night seemed especially cold and wet, we all struggled but powered through getting up for our 2hr shifts & having to get back into our soaking wet weather gear. The last shift I certainly struggled to keep my eyes open and according to Nats I started to talk gobbledygook in my weariness! For about three shifts during the night once the wind died down we then had a ground hog moment and it felt like we were rowing through treacle as the currents were against us. Once again we had to draw on some patience whilst we rowed for 2hrs but didn’t move any more than half a mile! Nat and I resorted to singing ‘there were 4 in the bed & the little one said roll over…’ Although we wanted to see how long it would take if we started with 100 hundred in the bed! Each count down was then said in a different accent much to our own amusement!

When sunrise came so did the current and we started to skip along again in the right direction. We had beautiful blue skies and finally today for the first time in 16 days we have experienced prevailing winds and seas which has been bliss!

Just after lunch today we had a boat that approached us and as it came closer to our delight we saw Tony and Sarah with her filming :)! It was so lovely to see them, such a relief and reassurance to have Tony around as we just know he’s got everything under control to support us as soon as we reach shore. Sarah is just amazing to be here and collecting all the footage but she’s also such a huge support and reckon she’s becoming a good friend to us all. It’s also surreal as it really doesn’t feel like we’ve not seen them for 16days!
We’re now coming into the final hour of our approach into the harbour where we are looking forward to a hot shower and most importantly a massive burger and chips with an ice cold pint of coke – can’t wait! Xx

Share:     

Day 8 at Sea

Laura Penhaul By

Day 8 at Sea

For those of you that may be following our tedious dot of a tracker, you may be wondering why we’re still cruising down the west coastline of America rather than punching out West to Hawaii. Well it’s certainly not for lack of trying. As some of you are aware we’ve been encountering some very high waves, along with high winds of over 25 knots means big seas. The seas have been like a roller coaster ride or better still, when you’re hand steering Doris over some waves, it can feel like you’re controlling a 29ft boat on a bucking bronco! Great fun though! Today when we woke we thought we’d be in for a good weather change and could start cracking on with getting in some direct west mileage, however a brief phone call with tony soon alerted us to the fact that we had a 12hr window where winds would settle then be picking right back up again, through the night and to continue to expect the same for the next 48hrs in the wrong direction to us in – yey!

However, it was reassuring to all of us to hear from tony that this first week at sea is not the norm for everyone and that we’ve had some extreme weather conditions. We’d been beating ourselves up a little bit because we’re struggling to get West and started to think the sea state was the norm we had to suck up and get used to- good to know it’s not! So after rowing into the dark tonight we’re back in the cabins with a line out the back of Doris to help guide her along the waves.

Few direct messages: – Adam: thank you for my lovely card and note brought a tear to my eye which I thought it would. Love to you all and so proud of what you’re achieving too as a family and with the house. X

– Wendy Hilton: think it’s ‘fruit’ as the answer to your layer question???

– Michelle & Paul: seriously day. 8 card cracks me up! thinking though Paul you may need some drawing lessons, certain illustrations look like a dog bone & guessing that’s not the intention?!

– Kym friends with John and Claire – thank you for your mail.

Before I start getting myself sea sick again from staring at this screen, I’m going to sign off for now and look forward to catching up in a few days xxx

Share:     

San Francisco Day 8

Laura Penhaul By

San Francisco Day 8

So today was the day that Doris got to see sunlight for the first time in 2 months!

Tony had it down to a tee how to co-ordinate getting her out of the trailer and onto the slings, but instead of the container being on the ground she was up on the chassis, so Doris looked like she was flying! I must admit, there was definite mixed emotions as it was great to get her out in the sunshine but my heart was in my mouth! Seeing her hang up in just 2 slings I had visions of one of the straps snapping and her falling to the ground – the thought alone makes me feel sick to my stomach. But thankfully this didn’t happen and as usual, Svendsens boatyard were extremely slick in their operations and had Doris parked up in no time (thanks Tim!).

Stickering Doris

First port of call was to prep Doris for a good scrub down and preparation for some fresh anti-foul.

Then 2 sets of parents arrived; Sara and Keith (Emma’s folks) and Jean & John (Izzy’s parents). It wasn’t long after saying our hellos that they got put to work and with a rag in hand they were all polishing Doris to revive her pretty pink coat.

Luckily it has been an amazing blue sky , sun filled day, so all of our kit onboard was laid out on the floor ready for the beady scrutineering eye of Tony. It wasn’t long before things were being cut down and removed as we’d taken too many spares for spares, for the  ‘just incase’ rare possibilities (however I still believe you can never have too many cable ties!).

We also got to meet the amazing Sarah Moshman! This wonderful woman who is investing so much of her own time and money into following our journey by film and making a documentary ‘Loosing Sight of Shore’. We have spoken prior on email and met via skype but it was so lovely to meet properly in person, she’s exactly as she appears to be, warm, friendly and enthused by our project – it’s so exciting to see.

The great timing of Sarah’s arrival was also whilst Emma and Nats were finishing up with applying the ‘Buy A Mile’ named stickers to make our inspiration wall in the cabin. It looks amazing and it’s overwhelming to see how many names we’ve already got on there. We know already that we have many more to add when we arrive in Hawaii, which is something in itself to row towards and look forward to.

 We worked on until we lost light by which point we had to call it a day around 9pm this evening. So it was off to Super Duper burgers again for a take away feed and final emails and reflections of the day. Now that is all complete we are ready for a snooze in preparation for an early start tomorrow and getting Doris on the water for a row! Plus a little bonus for me is that I get to see my parents and aunt tomorrow and look forward to showing them Doris all laden with our kit!

Share:     

San Francisco Day 4

Laura Penhaul By

Today started waking to a 06:45 alarm, with sun shining through the windows and the excitement of bouncing out of bed to go for a run. It’s been literally months since we last ran, as we’ve had to keep cardiovascular exercise to a minimum in order to put the weight on and bulk up with eating and gym work. But today was the first day with Tony (our shore support) joining us, so we ignored our strength and conditioning coach’s advice and went for a run – it was gorgeous! However, running when I was 58kgs certainly felt a lot easier than being at 70kg’s!!

So Ems and I joined Tony for a 5 mile jog down to the water and along to the bridge. San Fran is seriously a great lifestyle and place to live.  There were loads of people out running – a 10km race was about to start, a sea swim race was starting where everyone was donning their wetsuits and there were even some gig boat rowers out in front of Alcatraz – absolutely beautiful view!

Early morning Alcatraz

Back at the apartment we whipped up an avocado, bacon and eggs breakie to get the calories up after running. Then it was en route with the team to Svendsen’s boat yard to start the day of packing our snack packs!  Ems had carefully worked out calories and amounts so that in total we will have 2,000 calories in our snack packs once our protein shake and bar is added from Maximuscle.

Production line

I left the team to get cracking whilst I went out to buy the outstanding snacks. $450 later I had finished our shop and realised the hire car needed a top up of petrol. Thinking this would be a simple process, I trundled off to a Shell garage and came across the first hurdle …. ‘Gasoline’ only – no option for diesel or petrol! I’m driving a massive SUV so I assumed it was diesel, but there were no options! Second hiccup, how to pay! ….. I tried to pay at the pump then it asked for a zip code (clearly a UK post code doesn’t work!). Then it blocked me from using the pump and I had to ask a nearby American how to use it! Highly amusing and it reminded me how everyday is an adventure and a learning curve….

When I got back to Svendsen’s, the production line was in full swing. We made 220 snack packs. Dried fruit, nuts, biscuits and beef jerky were divided up into small bags and added to each snack pack along with cereal bars, crackers, chocolate, tea bags, boiled sweets and mints and hot chocolate sachets. We have also set aside some items to eat in the first few days that we think we will be able to tolerate when we’re feeling really seasick. I loved the organization and the team was working really efficiently. Seeing everything go into the bags made me feel really excited that we were finally packing, although I felt slightly sick at the amount of stuff that we will be eating!

Dried fruit packing!   Laura's tea shop   Cereal bar monitor

 

Share:     

GSK testing day

Laura Penhaul By

GSK HPL logo

As a team we want to be as best prepared as possible in all aspects of the row and so being able to work with expert practitioners in human performance, is an amazing opportunity to understand how we can get the best out of ourselves from a physiological and neurological perspective.  We say that this row is 85% psychological in how we cope and 15% physical, but our psychological state will be affected by being dehydrated, calorie deficient, sleep deprived, hormone imbalanced etc. so if we can optimise these variables and recognise them, then this in turn will help our mental state.

logo

With a science background, we recognise that our row is also an opportunity to gain some valuable data on 4 healthy females, who will be going through 6 months of sleep deprivation, hormonal control, change in diet, exposure to high temperatures and hours in the sun, plus 6 months of not walking on solid ground. With next to no opportunities of looking at 4 women doing a 6 month endurance event, we didn’t want it to be a wasted opportunity for research and development ideas that could aid the production of something that can affect the wider female community after the row. We therefore approached GSK (GlaxoSmithKline group) who are a science led global healthcare company with one of the leading research and development centres, who’s mission is to focus on ‘helping people to do more, feel better and live longer.’

The GSK Human Performance Lab (http://www.gskhpl.com/ ) is a world-class science facility focused on applying current methods to optimise performance in the elite (such as Jenson Button in Formula 1, the Brownlee Brothers – Olympic and World Champions in Triathlon, Harlequins Premiership Rugby club etc.). Alongside the elite athletes, they also like to pioneer new research into understanding the limits of human performance through assessment of extreme endurance, such as their support with Rich Parks for the fastest crossing by foot across the South Pole in extreme cold temperatures(http://www.richardparks.co.uk/ ) and Schu Pillinger in her attempt in Ride Across America ( http://www.gskhpl.com/news/shusanah-pillinger-raam.shtml ).

So last Thursday saw the first day of our team testing. It started with having to come in fasted (not having eaten since the night before) which I must confess, does not sit too well with me as I love my breakfast!

The first part of the testing was our anthropometric data and body mass.

bodpod

This involved going into the BODPOD which gives an estimated resting metabolic rate (calories required at rest without movement).

Then we had the usual height and weight taken, along with our girths (measurements of circumference of thighs/ calf/ forearms/ upper arms/ waist/ bum) and then skin folds to measure the amount of subcutaneous fat we have in different areas of the body. Normally in sport, you want to stay lean with minimal body fat %, however for us, we need to try and increase our fat mass and put some more muscle mass on so that we have room incase of loss of weight. In the Atlantic races some have shown anywhere up to 2 stone loss and as we are nearly 3 times the distance of the Atlantic and currently only weigh around 65kg, we have some way to go to ensure we don’t waste away!

Then we did our cognitive testing which was tested throughout the afternoon. This is a quick 2 min reactive test on an iPad and is something that Barry the Neuro Scientist has a keen interest in developing. It tests your cognitive function and reactivity whilst also creating focus on a task in hand. An example is hitting a light as quick as you can when it flashes up. I can imagine that a fighter pilot or a Formula 1 driver like Jenson would show a lot quicker reaction times than us (experience of reactions when travelling at 150mph versus 2knots, ummmm I wonder who would be more reactive?!). It is something we are keen to use when we’re on the boat though, with the theory of it giving us focus and mental preparation particularly when waking on our night time shifts.

HRsetup

The afternoon was then the more physical testing. We got prepped with our heart rate monitors and then sweat patches placed on our thigh, chest and shoulder blade.

lactatetesting

The ear lobes were pricked to draw blood for lactate testing (by-product of anaerobic activity) and a card was passed around to show us what ‘rate of perceived exertion’ we felt (how hard do you feel you are working 6-15 scale). Weight was rechecked as we’d now had some food & our water bottles were weighed to get our starting point of hydration. Once all our baseline measures were collected, it was Nat and I up for the start of a 2 hour erg and then Izzy and Emma.

Training2 Training3

heatchamber

The first hour was in ambient room temperature and the second was in the heat chamber at 40degrees heat and 40% humidity.

izzcognitive&lactate

Tests were repeated every 30minutes, where we had blood lactate taken from the ear immediately, given an ipad to do our cognitive assessments, heart rate noted and perceived effort recorded. Then it was straight back on to continue rowing.

physiology setup

The sweat patches were to stay throughout the 2hours and later got removed at the very end after having soaked up our sweat (nice thought!). These patches can then be analysed after, to look at exactly what concentrations of salts/ nitrates etc. we sweat out, combined with weighing our bottles and weighing us at the end of the session, it can be calculated how much fluid we lost during a 2 hour row. Combine this with knowing the concentration of salt loss, the aim is for GSK HPL team to develop specific hydration strategies for each of us. So as an example, l might sweat more than say Nat, so we may need to account for me needing say 5 litres of fluid minimum compared to Nat may only need 3 litres as a minimum, also another example is that Emma may loose more salts in her sweat so she would need to drink a more concentrated rehydration salts drink for replenishment.

At the end of the testing, there was an opportunity to jump into a fresh 10deg plunge pool, seeing as I make the athletes I work with do this all the time, I figured I should practice what I preach…

plungepool

So that was our first day with GSK, for me it was the first time to being on the other side of testing and for the other girls it was the first time to experience a professional sports environment with a great team from GSK.

Over the coming months we will continue to collect further results in order for the GSK team to calculate things such as our calorie expenditure during the row so we can minimise our risk of weight loss, our bone density so we can monitor it during and immediately post the row to see the affect of 6 months at sea, along with our cognitive preparation/ readiness when we’re sleep deprived. Hopefully we will have some good data by the end of the row to help inform others of how to ‘do more, feel better and live longer’.

Huge thanks to the GSK HPL team who all put up with us for the day and the hours they’re putting in to research and gather the results; Mark Langley, Anna Anton, Tess Morris, Barry O’Neill, Matt Furber, Josh Jackman, Sarah Browne, Lee Eddens.

Share:     

Psych Blog 1

When people find out about the row, the common response is ‘are you crazy?!’. Now ask a crazy person if they think they’re crazy and I’m sure they’ll say no. So naturally of course, we would give it that same response, however, it was pretty apparent from the start, that this row was 90% about controlling the level of ‘crazy’ you become next to the 10% that’s physical strength.

 

The second question is usually then, ‘how’s the training?’ and the expected response is how much volume we’re doing on the ergo (rowing machine), what’s our weights programme, what cross training do we do etc.’
It is definitely more commonly accepted for someone to go to the gym and physically train for an hour a day & that to be part of a healthy well being lifestyle, no injury or illness necessary and it’s socially accepted. However, if you were to say you were heading off to see your psychologist for an hour a day – there is an immediate sense that it’s a taboo subject, people find it difficult to talk about and there is a preconceived idea, that you have an extreme mental health issue that needs attention.

 

What is interesting, is that generally people don’t tend to accept, that WE ALL experience mental health problems throughout our lives, but it doesn’t have to be extreme depression or Schizophrenia for it to be labelled as that, or highlighted that it’s not a ‘normal’ part of life.

Picture1

 

Think of it as a sliding scale, for instance, for physical illness, it’s like having a common cold at one end to terminal cancer the other. We wouldn’t wish that extreme illness on anyone, but we know it unfortunately exists and there is medical support out there to help, compared to the cold which we all now know how to minimise the risk with preventative measures such as vitamin C/ echinacea/ first defense/ adequate rest etc. & the effects (depending on if your male or female ;)!), you can cope with as you know it’ll be over with within a couple of days or a week.

Picture2

 

Mental health is no different, the one end of the scale that everyone associates with mental health or psychology, is being sectioned and whisked off to the Priory, however the common cold end is a day or two or week, of low mood, feeling stressed, being emotionally delicate etc. Now everyone experiences it, but there are very few that actively go out to seek how to cope with those situations/ understand them/ prevent them in a better way & this is where a psychologist can come in.

Keith Goddard is our team psychologist. He works with us on a 1:1 as well as helping us to optimise our team dynamic & understanding of each other as a team. Keith to us, is our rock! He is fundamental to the success of this row (no pressure Keith ;)!). Keith helps us to challenge our thoughts, to recognise that the inner script/ chitter chatter you have with yourself, is exactly that – just a thought. He has taught us how to differentiate between what’s rational or irrational thoughts, to tap into our feelings and emotional responses & recognise how they influence our thought process. He’s shown us how to recognise an emotional response will present itself in each of us; for example, if I’m upset about something, I used to keep it to myself and not want to share it because I wouldn’t want to be an emotional burden, but that emotion has to go somewhere – it’s like energy needing to expand and get out. So in me, I would feel it in my chest becoming tight, my shoulders elevating and feeling stiff & generally my posture would just become more tense. Naturally, you would possibly then go for a massage or see a Physio for acupuncture or ‘posture’ correction – but fundamentally, all that money is wasted unless you address the thought that’s driving that emotional response. The saying and feeling of ‘a weight being lifted off your shoulders’, is exactly that & a heck of a lot cheaper than seeing one of us Physio’s/Osteo’s/ chiropracters for regular treatment and the issue still coming back.

If you take anything away from reading this blog, the main thing is to tap into your mental health and awareness of your thoughts and feelings. There are times when you get an overwhelming feeling that day to day life becomes too much but you continue to try and be a superwoman (or man) and take it all on yourself, well there’s no stronger way than to seek a bit of advice which can be the nugget of information you needed to make life that little bit easier.

Share:     

Patricia

Laura Penhaul By

Through my work as a Physio,  there are characteristics that I see in a select few that show the true meaning of mental resilience; the depth, determination and belief in their goal which seems to be drawn on when being faced with adversity. What continues to amaze me, is the fight that people have to overcome it.

Over the next few months, I plan to share with you the stories that are particularly close to me and those people that have truly made an impact on who I am today.

PATRICIA, RASHID & YASIN:

I met Rashid a few years ago when I worked in a private sports clinic & his bubbly, positive nature and love of sports and his family, meant that outside of the therapy room we had become friends. He had just got married and him his wife, Patricia, were expecting their first child. Thinking back to how they were then, I wish I could turn back the clock for them.

rashid_tricia

After spending a recent evening with Rashid and his son Yasin, it was the first time where he shared with me photos of his wedding day to Patricia, photos of the birth of their son Yasin and the most poignant of all, a video taken with Patricia just 2 days before she died. The overwhelming emotion that I felt isn’t even a scratch on what Rashid is going through and it highlighted to me that their story is one to be shared. This is one of the most heart wrenching stories that I’ve ever experienced and it’s the fact that it’s reality, it’s not a film or a fictional story, but this is a close friend of mines’ real life story.

2 years ago, nearly to the day, Rashid and Patricia couldn’t have been happier, they had reached where most of us dream of, to find true love in a sole mate, in someone that gets you, in someone that you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with. It was 2012 and they had just got married which was a beautiful family affair and was everything they had wished for. On the return from their honeymoon, they found out the exciting news that they were pregnant, and for them if ever ‘perfect’ existed, then now was the time.

However for Trish and Rashid, pure happiness was short lived. Just 3 months later, Patricia got the devastating news that she had an aggressive form of breast cancer and in order to treat it, she would need radical surgery along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy which wouldn’t be suitable for their unborn child. They had a tough decision to make, to save Patricia’s life or their unborn baby. A decision that you can never wish on anyone. However they were given a reprieve of a ‘2 week’ window which became to be quite pertinent in a number of situations, but those 2 weeks meant that their little baby boy  Yasin could be delivered by C-section at 28 weeks old, weighing in at a weighty 2 pounds!

patricia & faily

The delivery was the Friday and the following Monday Patricia commenced the arduous journey of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Their days/ weeks/months blurred into one, with Rashids’ days spent morning and night in the ITU with Yasin, then by his wife’s bedside, whilst still being dedicated to stay focussed as a school teacher at work in the day. Whilst he was doing that, Patricia who had just had a C-section, was going through all the chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by radical chest surgery. Yet Trish would take herself into ITU, to spend the day with Yasin, wanting to feed/ wash/ change him,  regardless of how weak she may have felt.

However this was the pinnacle reflection point that Rashid kept highlighting to me, both himself, the family and even Patricia herself were amazed at where she got her strength from. Patricia would openly say that she was a ‘girly girl’, loved her heels, her hair being immaculate and presenting herself & would previously have complained about any ache or pain or a small scratch on her knee. But yet during this, something just switched on, everyone around her saw this inner strength that just ignited, to the point where she’d even turned to Rashid to say ‘this isn’t me, I don’t know where this is coming from….’. When faced with the adversity of loosing the love of her life, the newborn gorgeous baby boy that she’d just carried, natural instinct and inner strength told her to fight. The astounding thing with Tricia, is that she did it all with a smile on her face & humour throughout, refusing to ever complain.

Tricia_Yasin

I have only ever loved watching films that have a happy ending, where regardless of what adversity people have faced you wish only the best to come out of it, for them to overcome it and live a happily ever after life, because to me that’s what people like Rashid and Patricia deserve.

However this was one of those cases that fate/ faith whichever you want to believe, had taken that opportunity away from them. After 3 months of treatment, battling against the odds, Patricia was diagnosed with secondaries in her spine. She was given 3 months prognosis to live which was cut short to surviving only a few weeks.

elouahabi family photo

The other night Rashid showed me a video that he took of Patricia by her bed side 2 days before she passed away. It was a video where she could barely open her eyes, she went through giving each member of the family a message, reminiscing of funny anecdotes fluctuating between moments of hallucinations to clear lucid strong messages, expressing her desires of Yasin to be cared for and brought up within their tight family with only memories of joy and happiness.

Whilst I sat trying to control the tears that were rolling down my face, not only did I feel the sadness for Patricia trying to fight for her life, for the life that she’d so desperately wished for and had in her hands for such a short period of time, but I’m sitting here watching it with Rashid. Her husband who is now left to care for their child after loosing the love of his life. To care for a beautiful child Yasin who is a spitting image of his mum, a reminder on a daily basis of her presence.  A man that has all these memories, these pictures and videos that he’s watching knowing how happy they once were and that he will never see or feel that happiness again.

Rash_Yasin1

If there was something we could do to bring Patricia back for Rashid, Yasin and their family, I would do it in a flash, but instead the only way we can help, is by keeping her memory and story alive.

By making this row a success, it gives a platform to share this story and many others that Breast Cancer Care provide the support for. This row is not about us, it is about those women & families that have had to face and fight adversity but don’t get a chance for their voice to be heard.

‘Live and laugh every day, spend time with your family and love your family, live with nothing left un-said or undone, knowing that if today was your last there would be no regrets.’ Patricia Elouahabi

Patricia

 

Share:     

This is why it’s called a Challenge!

Laura Penhaul By

contact-sunset

Currently being the 30th March, we technically should be packing our bags, spending time with our loving family and friends, stuffing our faces with endless amounts of food and drink in a last ditch attempt to pile on the kg’s in the final few weeks before departure. However, as many of you know, we have been on the hunt for a sponsor over the last few months and although we now have some amazing product sponsors, we unfortunately have yet to raise the funds that we need to get Doris shipped out to America. So our timeline dictated and our advisors kindly pointed us to the decision that we had to make, so we have postponed the row to 2015.

front-ocean-image

We have a tight weather window between April-June, in order to leave America outside of the typhoon season and ensure we arrive into Australia before the weather again gets unpredictable in December. So not having the funds we need, moving it a month will have little affect, so we had to postpone it a year. As much as this was extremely difficult to come to terms with, especially after 2 years in the making so far and writing it in black and white isn’t easy, once the decision was actually made, everything became a lot clearer. We can get fully up to speed with becoming electricians/ mechanics/ DIY experts on our Doris over the next year, we can take Doris around the Isle of Wight, across the Channel and into the North Sea like we had planned for 2014. This will all test our sea skills and get to know Doris inside out and hopefully through some rough weather in order to give us an insight of things to come.  It means we can work further on team dynamics, psychological preparations, fitness and doing things in our training that we enjoy!

The most important thing, is that extra time gives us more time to prepare and with this challenge we have no intention of ‘attempting’ to row the Pacific, but to successfully achieve rowing the Pacific & preparation is key to that success.

The commitment and dedication that this row takes is hard for anyone to take on, you have to make a number of sacrifices to your work, family and friends and your life can feel like it’s on ‘hold’ for that period of time. Having to push the row to 2015 is asking for everyone to commit a further 2 years of their life to it, so understandably this has been a decision that not everyone has been able to make. All the girls that have been involved in the row to date, have fully contributed and made the row what it is today. Although some people may no longer be involved within the rowing team, they will always be a valued member of the crew, and it is all their combined hard work and efforts that have made it happen, and that will never be forgotten.

Andrew Brown - Atlantic Solo winner 2012 Andrew Brown – Project Manager

Lucy Vaughan-Griffith - PR LeadLucy Vaughan-Griffith – PR Manager

With a year to go, we are going into 2014-2015 with an esteemed advisory board behind us, a Project Manager now in place with Andrew Brown who rowed the Atlantic in 2012 as a Solo and a PR Manager Lucy who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Doris our boat, is fully equipped and on the water for the next year of practice thanks to Rossiters and we have huge thanks to our ongoing support from our current sponsors; Raymarine, Victron, CrewSaver, Crew Clothing, Azo Print, Solbian, Lewmar, Marlow, McMurdo, Fusion electronics, Barden, International Paint, SOSrehydrate, iCom, IMP, Marine Bedding, Vivobarefoot, Drift & The Rowing Company. Not to mention the support that we’ve gained from those of you that are a part of our journey through Buying A Mile http://coxlesscrew.com/buy-a-mile/ and for Saucy Horse, Berry Asset Management, Will It Make the Boat Go Faster, William Towers and Salt-Away for being a part of our Company Raffle http://coxlesscrew.com/coxless-company-raffle/.

So the up and coming couple of months will see a more structured team recruitment process involving interviews and team testing which you will all get a chance to follow and be part of if you’re interested http://coxlesscrew.com/join-us/! Team training which will involve a couple of us taking part in the Ride 24 London to Cornwall 310 miles in 24 hours ride, outings in Doris and her first encounter with the Isle of Wight in June prior to the Round The Island Race and plenty more events that we look forward to sharing with you.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support, we’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead!

Share:     

All things Crew….

Laura Penhaul By

crewsavercoxless-crew-logocrew-clothing

 

victron

So this last week has been an eclectic mix, from lifejackets to batteries, to clothing and training, with a few meetings thrown in for good measure!

Last week we visited one of our latest sponsors CrewSaver, heading down to their offices in Portsmouth and being fortunate enough to get a tour of the warehouse where all the magic happens.

photo 4photo 2

 

There’s  a big design room where all the illustrations and cadcam systems are laid out, which obviously for confidentiality I didn’t take a photo, but trust me when I say it’s an awesome big playroom for designers alike.

Then the templates get made and it’s in here that the magic happens, from stitching….. to testing the canisters and that there’s no leaks in the system…… to the final product of our jackets, the Ergofit! (Aptly named).

photo 3photo 5

We went from this, up to Nottingham to learn about all things lithium and battery related.

Johannes from Victron is an amazing sponsor and has the patience of a saint! Coming into this row and setting up the boat, I knew diddly squat about electronics and never thought we’d become electricians, love the skills you learn through this row! Anyway, after learning from past Ocean rowers experiences that the electrics always have a blip or two, we soon realised that we need to know the electrical system inside and out, so we booked onto a battery course hosted by Johannes himself from Victron.

 

photo 1victron

It took me back to physics days, watt=volt x amps and talking cathodes/ anodes and movement of positive and negative ions, who’d have thought! But it was a great day, that has got us on the road to understanding the lithium system and building our confidence in how to use it and fix it if/ when needed, onboard our boat Doris. Charlie Pitcher who has used the batteries regularly himself and installed them on other boats, is a wealth of knowledge who has also kindly gone out of his way to help us with advice which has been invaluable, thanks Charlie!

 

Then finally the fun bit of being a Coxless Crew member, having recently joined forces with Crew clothing, we had the great experience of going into the store to try on different clothes! Loved it! Then topped off today to receive a big parcel delivery which was like Christmas and birthdays rolled into one. Thanks to them, we now have some smart presentation wear for our meetings and there’s nothing better than a good outfit to feel professional in.

 

GetAttachmentcrew-clothingcrew clothing

 

So a great past couple of weeks, even with a few hurdles to overcome along the way,  it’s great to reflect on the positive things that make this an amazing journey and to highlight the awesome support we have behind us. Thanks to everyone and happy weekend to all! xx

 

 

 

Share: