Archive for March, 2015

A week of training

The last week has been full of training for our team. On Monday Izzy and I caught up with Alex Wolf, head strength and conditioning coach at the English Institute of Sport who has been writing our training program to get us big and strong. It was good to know that significant progress has been made in both the big and strong departments!


Tuesday was time for a trip down to Southampton for a day of medical training with Medical Support Offshore who will provide our medical cover whilst we are out on the Pacific. We spent a full day brushing up on our first aid skills with a focus on situations which are more likely to occur on the boat and how and when to use the different medications which we have in our med kits. It was amazing to have such a bespoke training course which has increased all of our confidence with medical situations and how to keep things simple and not allow minor issues to develop into bigger problems. It is also great to know that the MSOS team will be on the end of the phone or email whenever we need them for advice or a second opinion.


We stayed down South on Tuesday night and even managed to have a pub dinner with a well-deserved glass of wine with almost no row chat.

Wednesday was a different type of training as we headed over to Raymarine to do some training with Alan on our E7 chart plotter and Evo autopilot. Although we have used this equipment during our training rows it was really useful to get some in depth knowledge about how it all works and how to set it up personally for each of us. The Raymarine kit will play an important part in our everyday rowing and it is fabulous to have the confidence in how to use it. We also managed to catch up with the rest of the Raymarine team who are hugely supportive of our project and it was great to see them all before we leave.


All in all a great week and we are feeling more prepared every day for our imminent departure. Exciting times!


Busy bees!

As we head into the final couple of weeks before we leave the UK for San Francisco and the start of our row, it is full steam ahead on all fronts. Our friends and family witness us rushing around like headless chickens day in day out. But what is it that we are actually doing? Well, I thought I’d shed some light on it all by listing just a few of the things that we are getting on with every day.

  • Media – we want to raise as much awareness for our charities as possible, so we are busy sending out press releases and arranging and attending radio and TV interviews. We were on BBC London the week before last. If you missed it, you can see it here:
  • Presentations – we are speaking at conferences, schools and corporates to share the story behind our row and hopefully inspire others to follow our progress on the water, fundraise for us, or to take on their own challenges.
  • Logistics and equipment – sourcing last minute bits of equipment, arranging for the boat to be wrapped with our sponsors’ logos, applying the graphics for our Buy A Mile inspiration wall in our cabin, arranging shipment of food out to Hawaii and Samoa….There is a lot going on!!
  • Accounting, legal and project management – a project of this scale needs to be run properly and the fantastic teams at Accord Accountants and Redd solicitors are very generously offering us invaluable accountancy and legal support. We have been working with Andrew Duncan from New Level Results to ensure that we are setting clear goals, running our project efficiently and making 2015 our Best Year Yet.
  • Support team plan – the outstanding Tony Humphreys will be providing us with 24-7 shore support during our row. We are meeting with Tony in the run-up to launch to finalise our communications and operations plan. We are also working with our team of supporters in the UK to make sure that our website, Facebook and Twitter will be regularly updated with the messages that we send back from the Pacific so that people will be able to follow our progress.
  • Psych preparation – we are continuing to work with the amazing performance psychologist Keith Goddard to make sure that individually and as a team we are in the best possible mental shape when we are on the start line in April.
  • Training – over the course of this week and next week we are doing medical training with MSOS, training on our navigation equipment with the fantastic team at Raymarine and training on our ocean safety equipment with the amazing Crewsaver. We will also be running over our ‘what if’ scenarios one more time to make sure that we are prepared as we can be for the different scenarios that we might face while at sea.
  • Physiological testing – we have just had health checks with Cardiac Risk in the Young and just before we depart will be returning to GSK Human Performance Lab, who are helping us to prepare as best we can for the physical challenges we will face.
  • Physical training – we’re fitting in a heavy program of weights prescribed by Alex Wolf from the English Institute of Sport, pilates with support from Josie at Urban Cave and, of course, a little bit of time on the rowing machine.
  • Eating ­– we’re likely to be calorie deficient when we are out on the water, so we are busy piling on the pounds!
  • Sponsorship – we have some incredible sponsors supporting us and we need to keep them updated with how preparations are going. We are also still looking for additional corporate sponsorship, so we spend lots of time researching, emailing and meeting with potential sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring our row, please get in touch.
  • Farewell drinks – we’re making the arrangements for the drinks reception that we are hosting on Thursday 26th March at 7pm at London Rowing Club to say a big thank you and farewell to our friends, family, supporters and sponsors. We would love to see as many people there as possible! Email if you want to join us.

A Mother’s strength…

Patricia Elouahabi, a mother who found a profound inner strength to deal with an aggressive form of breast cancer during her pregnancy, died 6 months after her baby was born. Her husband Rashid, will never forget Patricia’s incredible resilience and spirit and baby Yasin’s who also fought for 3 months in intensive care. The Coxless Crew (aiming to be the first four’s boat to row across the Pacific), will be sharing this story, amongst others, by facing their own adversities and creating awareness for women like Patricia and their two charities they are rowing for, Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded!


“There will come a point when we will all be tested. Tricia faced her battle and so did Yasin. As long as we are willing to fight, we will always succeed.” Rashid Elouahabi

Mother’s day is a time to celebrate and reflect the courage, inspiration and wisdom that mothers seem to automatically have. The Coxless Crew (aiming to be the first fours boat to row across the Pacific Ocean) wanted to share one of their stories of a particular mother that has made a huge impact on their lives.

Patricia Elouahabi, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer when she fell pregnant with her first child in 2012. Having been informed that she would need radical surgery as well as strong treatment, that would affect her unborn baby, she fought through the symptoms of the cancer during her pregnancy and despite knowing that it was detrimental to her own health, wanted to ensure that her son would have the best chance and be the strongest that he could be. They were given a reprieve of a ‘2 week’ window which meant that their little baby boy Yasin could be delivered by C-section at 28 weeks old, weighing in at only 2 pounds!

Two days after the delivery, Patricia began the arduous journey of chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed by a major chest surgery. Even during the hardship of the therapies, Trish would take herself to the intensive care unit to spend the day with Yasin, wanting to feed, wash and change him, regardless of how weak she may have felt. She found an incredible inner strength and continued to be positive and smile for her son and husband. However after 3 months of treatment, battling against the odds, Patricia was diagnosed with secondaries in her spine. She was given 3 months to live that was cut even shorter.

Although this story does not have a fairytale ending, it shows the immense strength of human spirit and the resilience and strength shown by not only Patricia but also her husband Rashid.

It is this story, as well as others, that are the source of inspiration for the Coxless Crew taking on their huge challenge and they want to take this opportunity to share the wise words from Patricia and to celebrate the strength of all mothers everywhere.

‘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



An introduction to Doris

Isabel Burnham By

Doris is our boat and arguably the most important member of our team. She is a beautiful, pink 4-person rowing boat made especially for the Coxless Crew by Rossiters in Christchurch.

How is she made?

Doris is made from fibreglass, carbon fibre and other composite materials. Ocean rowing boats are designed to withstand the worst weather that the ocean can throw at them and to keep their crew safe. Doris is designed to self-right if she capsizes. She has a watertight cabin at each end with the rowing deck in the middle.

How big is she?

Doris is 29ft long (8.84m) and 7ft (2.13m) wide. That’s about the length of a medium sized caravan. She’s really not very big. In fact, the current men’s world long jump record is 29ft 4 inches (8.95m), so Mike Powell could jump over her! Doris weighs approximately 800kg and once fully packed with our supplies she will weigh in at around 1 ton.

The deck

On deck there are two rowing positions. The set up is similar to that in a sculling boat, with each rower having two oars and a sliding seat. Under the deck there is storage space which is accessed through hatches on deck. We will store our food, ropes, tools, spare parts and other equipment in these hatches, along with fresh water ballast to keep Doris stable in the water and as a back up should our desalinator break.


The cabins

Two of the crew will be rowing at any one time while the other two will be in the cabins eating, sleeping, relaxing or carrying out navigation, communications or maintenance tasks.

The aft cabin is where we will spend most of our time. It is the bigger of the two cabins and contains our desalinator, navigation systems and communication systems. It is approximately the size of a small-to-medium two-man tent. The forward cabin is smaller and will mainly be used for storage, unless bad weather conditions require that we cease rowing, in which case two members of the crew will need to be in each cabin.




Our cabin walls will be decorated with the names of all the people who have bought a mile of our row (  When we are having a difficult day it will be great to be able to look at our inspiration walls to remind us of all the people that are supporting us.

Why the name Doris?

Doris (/ˈdɔərɨs/; Δωρίς), is a Greek name meaning ‘gift’ and in Greek mythology was an Oceanid, or a sea nymph, whose name represented the bounty of the sea. She was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and the wife of Nereus. She was also aunt to Atlas, the titan who was made to carry the sky upon his shoulders. We also just really liked the name.


Coxless Crew meets Kylie!!


We were very fortunate last month to have the opportunity and the pleasure to meet Kylie Minogue. “How did you get Kylie?” is the question we often get asked, so here is the simple answer.

Belief and perseverance!

We had approached the pop icon to be part of our epic journey a few months ago as we truly believed that she aligns perfectly with our ethos and values. This is what we told her:

Why Kylie?

We are looking to align ourselves with an amazing patron who we feel fits in with our ethos and reason for doing this incredible challenge.

We have all grown up with you in our lives. From our daily Neighbours after school watching days, to your fabulous music, ability to entertain and then the inspirational role model that you have become from your own personal experience and self-development of fighting and overcoming breast cancer. You continually empower women, which is what our expedition is all about. We also love that fact that you have a presence in the UK, Australia and also the US, meaning that you have a connection with every step of our journey.

We are implementing a schools project and allowing children (girls and boys) to reach for their dreams and allow themselves to be inspired to do anything they want to do.

We were simply overjoyed (I’m not going to lie!) when she made contact to say that she was happy to support such a worthwhile cause. We managed to coordinate an opportunity for us to meet her and get a group photo and have a little chat.

(Short video edit is by Dean Alexander and his colleagues at TimecodePro)


Kylie and Coxless Crew

All photos are copyright Dean Alexander

In the private meeting between Kylie and us we discussed the practicalities of such a huge undertaking as well as the reason why we are so thrilled to have her support in creating awareness of women that have had to fight and overcome adversity. She expressed her genuine interest in following the journey and the total wonder in how the 4 of us will remain sane and connected during such a long time separated from the usual home comforts and loved ones.

She is so genuine, down to earth and truly humble. It was a wonderful experience in itself to meet her, let alone the fact that she is now supporting our expedition.

The Australian born singer-songwriter recently named Australian of the year in the UK, also has had a strong presence in both the starting and ending points of our journey, as we’ve mentioned before, so let’s see if we will not only have relief and elation when we hit Cairns around October time, but also Kylie welcoming us back onto dry land!

Unfortunately Izzy was not available on the day that Kylie could meet us and so we had Ella (one of our support team) step in to be in her place for the informal chat and photo opportunity.
The photos were taken by the amazing Dean Alexander and the short video edit is by Dean and his colleagues at TimecodePro
A HUGE thanks to them for coming and capturing the day for us.

We also love our Adidas hoodie’s and even Kylie wished she was in her tracksuit!!

It is one of those surreal moments that is such a perfect example of how incredible our journey has been so far… x