Day 49 – Our Best Year Yet!

Natalia Cohen By

Day 49 – Our Best Year Yet!

Update: In the last 24 hours we’ve been treated to the highest winds we’ve had since leaving Santa Barbara. Intermittent squalls have come with dark, menacing clouds, driving rain and waves faintly visible by the misty moonlight coming at us from all angles.
Safe to say we’re all wet again but not quite as cold as we were. We are thankful for some fresh water to rinse out our salt encrusted wet weather gear but find that as soon as that happens, we get dumped on by yet another saltwater wave undoing all the good work! However, yet again, we remain in high spirits and still laugh at ourselves and with each other. Why?

I am truly dumbfounded and quite frankly astounded by how the 4 of us have dealt with life over the last 49 (or 65 from San Fran) days.
Why have we not wanted to kill one another?
Why have we not had moments of complete frustration with how long this leg is taking us?
Why are we not completely delirious from sleep exhaustion?
Why do we never complain about getting up every two hours to go and sit on the oars in driving rain, pitch black darkness, rough sea state, cold or hot conditions?
Why are we still joking, laughing, looking after each other and in essence…working amazingly well together as a team?

There are definitely a number of reasons…but for now I want to share one of them with you.

I love how there is a universal order to how things happen in life.
2 serendipitous moments led us to working with the amazing Andrew Duncan at New Level Results to create a Best Year Yet programme that has helped streamline us as a team and get to the start line as well as how we are functioning out here on the Pacific.

Flash back to 2001 when I was working in Nepal and I met a group of people who had just come back from the most successful summiting of Mount Everest in history. They had broken 4 World Records and their elation at conquering the roof of the world was incredible. First blind man to summit, oldest man to summit, first father/son team to summit and most people to summit at any one time.
Turns out that they had been following a Best Year Yet programme.

Flash back to 2012 when I was working in Mallorca and my path crossed with Andrew and we spent a few hours talking about values and with the aid of his value cards I had to whittle down 10 of my top important life values into only one.

Andrew and I remained friends and reconnected in the UK when I got involved with the row. Turns out that the programme offered by Andrew was the glue that allowed us to put procedures firmly in place and gave us a solid framework to follow to improve our effectiveness as a team – vital to the success of the expedition.

Although we are all very different characters, we are able to work really well together as we have a shared objective and shared values. This is very important.
We’ve always had clear objectives.
Best Year Yet (BYY) helped us set out our objectives, our top 10 goals and prioritise what needed to be done. It was just what we needed to keep all our admin together in one tidy and effective package.
We needed an online system that would not take up too much of our time and would help us all focus on the job at hand and keep us all on track. It made each of us accountable for championing certain areas and get results!

The other great thing about the program is that we have an external coach/facilitator work with us. They are objective, there is no personal tie to the project and they can offer a unique professional perspective.

Our project has been in 2 stages:
Stage 1 – Getting to the start line Essentially setting up a business. We had to deal with areas including sponsorship, PR/Media/Marketing, logistics, finances, legal and admin
Stage 2 – Successful crossing of the Pacific, the expedition

Below are some of the guidelines we came up with for Stage 2.

Coxless Guidelines
1. Believe in yourself, trust in each other and the strength of the team
2. Row with SPIRIT (our values)
3. Be unstoppable, stroke by stroke

Coxless Paradigm
Control the controllable and conquer our Pacific

Major Focus
Enjoy the journey! Live in the moment

Inspiring and encouraging others to reach their full potential is exactly what New Level Results and BYY aim to do through their programmes and is also exactly what our expedition is all about. A HUGE thank you to Andrew and the team and we look forward to our next review in Hawaii! We’re certainly doing our best to ensure we all enjoy the journey x




  1. sarah Lee says:

    Hey Ladies,
    I love this pic, it shows so well how you are coping! I look forward to reading your daily blogs They are so inspirational as they pull me back to reality in the realisation that the 4 of you are in mid Pacific in a pink boat,, rowing! I’m amazed that every day you mange to deliver a blog that is exciting, interesting and different and I really hope that once you are back you will pull them all together and publish them. Take care ladies,, xx

  2. JG says:

    Great blog. Clearly self awareness plays a big part in how the crew pulls together. As Sarah above has said a scientific treatise on your challenge will be due. For your information the Solar Impulse has just broken the record for the longest solo endurance flight of 76 hours and 45 minutes. They have two more nights before arrival at Honolulu having completed 3/4 of the hop from Nagoya Japan. Their teamwork in the control centre in Monaco and the support for the pilot is very similar in its construct to yours.

  3. […] of New Level Results, who we have worked with since the planning stages of our row project (see Nat’s earlier blog) The Best Year Yet programme was instrumental in helping us set clear guidelines and goals to get […]

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