Day 32 – Snacking on the oars

Emma Mitchell By

Day 32 – Snacking on the oars

It is still pretty grey and miserable on the Pacific today. However the wind has started to turn North East and so despite being cold and wet we are at least starting to move a bit faster in the right direction. Last nights film choices for Laura and me were Top Gun and The Holiday interrupted only by Laura stopping me to check I hadn’t turned the water maker on! I definitely think that our team values of SPIRIT (strength, perseverance, integrity, resilience, inspiration and trust) need to have an extra H added for humour as the ability to keep smiling (or laughing hysterically) is definitely very important for ocean rowing and something that our team is very good at.

One of the things that keeps us busy and cheers us up a bit whilst on the oars is snacking. Saving choice items from our snack packs for eating at low points during a rowing shift is something all four of us do. Since rowing usually requires both hands there are a number of different techniques for eating on the oars. Fortunately being women we are able to multitask.

1) The fly by – this technique involves opening the desired item and leaving it on the deck next to the rowing seat. As the rower rolls up the slide they quickly place both oars into one hand and swipe said food item up with the other hand, shoving it into the mouth and grabbing the second oar again before reaching the front. The best rowers can do this in one stroke. Others miss out a stroke during the process. This works best with open packets of sweets or cereal bars.

2) The seal – for this method the rower places an entire chocolate bar or cereal bar into their mouth and balances it with the lips and tongue while munching their way through it. This is only for experienced rowers and LP is definitely the best at this. Hazards include sneezing and this is a particular issue if you are in the back rowing position.

3) The one handed approach – this worked particularly well during the extended period of right armed rowing which we had to do. The one handed sweet unwrap is a particular skill which I’m sure will fare us well back in the real world. Holding a ziplock bag full of fruit or nuts in one hand leaves no hands for eating. This is solved by burrowing ones face into the bag in a particularly attractive manoeuvre. The previously under appreciated protein shake has become a favoured early hours of the morning snack and is particularly suited to the one armed technique.

4) The pause – this involves a pause in rowing to eat whilst the second rower holds the fort. This also allows time to take on water which is important. In rough weather when it is hard to hold course this must be done quickly. Indigestion is a consideration for this method. The pause is often necessary to open and prepare food for the other techniques.



  1. Those approaches would make Wallace and Gromit applaud you for your ingenuity 🙂

  2. JG says:

    PMA is a good one to underpin your SPIRIT. Always look forward using the past to guide. Things are on the move. Best daily row since StB and 2 kts achieved. Great effort. Don’t know if you ever get a chance to read this stuff but I’ll keep posting the encouragement anyway.

  3. Ray Penhaul says:

    I don’t think it’s the NE wind that has sped the girls up, I think the film they’ve been talking about is 50 Shades of Grey!!

  4. Antonia says:

    That did make me laugh today. I’m having a nightmare with refitting our kitchen at the moment. Reading your posts always give me a reality check and restores my good humour! Keep it up, we are all really enjoying your posts. XX

  5. Jan R says:

    It might be dull and grey out there at the moment, but you are making fantastic progress! This was the day with most nm advancement since you started, so cheers to that! It’s also fantastic to see that you make more than 30nm progress two days in a row. At this rate you would reach Hawaii at the end of July! Praying for continuously good winds, and your continued SPIRITH!

  6. Chris says:

    This is all excellent material for the book. Keep it coming.

  7. Simon TY says:

    Looks like a record day on the water. Thought of you as my mate James was meant to be rowing in the Scottish National Champs at Strathclyde. Quad scull, so similar, but only 200m and always in sight of land. Anyhow, he told me funny IT story. His mega GPD etc watch showed that he had mysteriously climbed 500m in an outing on a local loch. Then he worked out that the up/down movement in a scull, which might be as much as 10cm, if you raced to front stops, must have accumulated over the whole outing, in tiny increments.

    Anyhow, if you had a similar device, up and down average of 1m say, every 10 secs, that is 6m per minute, 360m per hour, 8640m per day, or 276,480m over 32 days. That is a rise and fall of 276km over the trip so far !!! Think my maths is right. Some days water flat, but some the swell certainly much more, possibly the time between wave greater than 10 secs, But overall, a mindboggling amount of bouncing up and down on the waves. if only that energy could be captured……..

    Hoping soon to hear you are half way. Must be pretty soon now ?

    Have you thought of hats with mars bars hanging from a string in front ? Then, donkey and carrot like you could chase them forever. Or, I seem to recall Laura in FB playing a game where you put a Malteser by yr eye, head tipped back, and then had to manouevre head to get it to roll down into waiting lips ? might be difficult to row like that however.

    Well done we all admire you immensely. Do you have Kylie on the music box ?

    XX Simon

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