A little pampering

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This morning we were very well looked after by Hairdressers@Work, who very kindly donated their time and skills to help Nats, LP and Meg feel a little more human again!

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A far cry from the all purpose soap and water bottles we had to use on Doris, this hair washing experience was rather wonderful. Good quality shampoo, a head massage and the end result of clean, soft and manageable hair!  They were a little shocked to hear that Nats went 54 days without washing her hair in leg 3.

LP went for a short cut and shape, whereas Meg and Nats opted for a simple trim and blow dry. The before and after shots say it all! A HUGE thank you to Antonella (owner), Shannah and Holli.

Ems will be getting her hair done tomorrow as she was busy sightseeing with her mum this morning.

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The afternoon saw each of us heading back to spend quality time with our respective families and doing some more exploring of the local area. Collectively we have been snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, hugged a Koala, visited Port Douglas and Daintree Rainforest, done a river cruise to see crocodiles, travelled on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and train, done a bungee swing, eaten so much amazing food and frozen yoghurt and are slowly getting back into a monophasic sleeping pattern!! x

 

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Media whirlwind!

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Wow, what a few days it has been. We have been imagining arriving into Cairns for a long time and hoped there would be some media interest but we NEVER anticipated quite so much attention! From the UK and Australia, to the US and all the way across Europe, we have even been approached by Korean and Japanese news stations for an interview!!

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We really have a big thank you to say to our PR team at Carver PR who have been working around the clock getting us coverage and have managed to arrange for us to be on The One Show next Wednesday evening followed by Lorraine on Thursday morning! So keep your eyes peeled and tune in!

Sarah Moshman director and producer of our documentary film, Losing Sight Of Shore, has also been busting a gut getting footage throughout the week and her PR team, SmartHouse Creative, has generated so much coverage too across America. It really has been phenomenal. Sarah has left Australia now to head back to the US to get started on the documentary….we can’t wait!!!

And if you haven’t managed to see, here is some of that coverage….



http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2016-01-25/rowers-message-to-cornwall-were-not-just-country-bumpkins/

press

Metro DailyMail

CNN –  http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/25/sport/british-rowers-pacific-ocean/index.html

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/01/25/pkg-amanpour-rowers-iaw.cnn/video/playlists/amanpour/

BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35398206

BBC Cornwall – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-35405373

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35397844

‘Behind the scenes’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35398753

British female rowing crew make history with Pacific crossing – The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jan/25/british-female-rowing-crew-make-history-with-pacific-crossing

Joy as Coxless Crew complete their 9,200 mile Pacific Ocean row – The Daily Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3415605/Joy-Coxless-Crew-complete-9-200-mile-Pacific-Ocean-row.html

Coxless Crew becomes first all-female team to row Pacific Ocean after nine months at sea  – The Daily Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/12119203/Coxless-Crew-becomes-first-all-female-team-to-row-Pacific-Ocean-after-nine-months-at-sea.html

Coxless Crew: British female rowing team complete record-breaking journey across Pacific – The Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/coxless-crew-british-female-rowing-team-complete-record-breaking-journey-across-pacific-a6831991.html

People.com – http://www.people.com/article/four-women-cross-the-pacific-in-rowboat

And that is just the tip of the iceberg!!

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Doris heads home

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This morning we all made our way down to Cairns Cruising Yacht Sqadron to say farewell to Doris. CCYS and in particular Steve Johnson (Commodore) have been absolutely amazing. We can’t thank them enough for helping us take Doris off the water, clean her and help tuck her safely into her container for some R&R.

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She’s heading back to the UK and we will be reunited with her in between 6-8 weeks time when she arrives back home. LP felt a little emotional as it seemed to finally sink in that the journey is over, whereas Natalia, Ems and Meg were devoid of any emotion.

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It’s strange. There is a kind of numbness for most of us at the moment. We need some time to assess how we’re feeling, reflect on what has just happened and re-adjust to being back on land and away from our usual oceanic environment.  There are sounds, smells, people and so much visual stimulation everywhere here on land. Our heads feel heavy with tiredness, our legs are stiff and painful as they are getting used to a walking motion again, our callused hands feel hard and rough and all our salt sores are itchy as they begin drying out.

Luckily we had a visit from the amazing Aaron Darrell this afternoon who is a freelance masseuse based out of Rusty’s Markets in Cairns and he helped us to relax and begin to wind down. It was pure bliss and after the foot, hand, face and neck massage we floated away feeling fantastic.

We will all be spending a few days quality time with our respective families and then re-uniting as a team before flying back to the UK.

We have been blown away by the friendliness of everyone we have come across and the endless support we have received since we arrived x
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We would also just like to say A HUGE thank you to:

Ferne and Pete Kemp at Cairns Queens Court for very kindly hosting our stay here in Cairns and looking after our families so well too! It’s been wonderful to be so central and to have such amazing beds to sleep in!!

John and Megg Kennedy (Motoryacht ‘Sanrod’) who were incredible with their help and support. They had a few early starts when they came out about 60 miles to film us with Sarah before our arrival and also helped escort us back to Cairns.

Marlin Marina did a wonderful job of hosting our arrival and it was the perfect place to step foot on land in Cairns. Their hospitality was very much appreciated.

The Cairns Yacht Club and in particular Trish Chalmers – thank you so much for your support and we are honoured to have received your burgee.

The attending officers of Cairns Border Control and The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for their compassion, efficiency and professionalism in conducting our arrival clearance formalities.

The Salt House in particular Vincent and Leila for providing the incredible platter of fresh fruit and our first food on arrival (burger and chips for most of us).

Paul and Sue Nash (managers at The Villas Palm Cove) – offering discounted accommodation for some family members and providing accommodation and use of a vehicle to Tony.

…Last but by no means least is the fantastic Mayor of Cairns, Bob Manning OAM. What a welcome we received and the most beautiful arrival gifts of a traditional necklace and bracelet and stunning silk scarf. You managed to make us feel like ladies again! Thank you.

Coxless Crew with Mayor Manning

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We crossed our Pacific!

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It has been an overwhelming whirlwind of emotions, celebrations, media commitments and Australian hospitality and friendship since we reached Cairns yesterday morning. Our feet haven’t touched the ground and it seems so surreal that we have completed this amazing once in a lifetime challenge and will not be getting back on to Doris.

Arrival hugs - Courtsey of Losing Sight of Shore

 

Our final approach to the Marlin Marina saw us being escorted by a fleet of sailing boats, hobie kayaks and other small craft and as we got closer we saw the crowds of people on the wall. As soon as we all saw our parents cheering us home we were all overwhelmed by emotion. A press conference, a cold drink, some fresh fruit and a tasty burger awaited us on dry land. Since then we have been blown away by the support coming at us from so many people.

Over the next few days we will be spending time with families and trying to catch up on a bit of sleep so will be only writing short update blogs but once back in the UK we will be resuming normal blog service as we return home and continue the Coxless Crew story. We still have a fundraising target of £250k for our charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.  Among other things, we are excitedly planning a fundraising gala dinner to take place in April in partnership with Inspiring Women, which will be a fantastic celebration of our row and our charities.  The journey isn’t over yet!

Tony and his angels - courtesy of Losing Sight of Shore

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Leg 3, Day 76 – Best laid plans

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Day 76 – Best laid plans

We are “nearly” there! Still!

It has been an exhausting and emotional few days as we make our approach to land. We expected last night to be our final one on Doris and to reach Australia this evening but the Pacific has other ideas with strong southerly currents and the wind turning against us. Best laid plans and all that. We have been told that our last chance is to row like we’ve never rowed before and make it to Cairns tomorrow morning. Now is the time to dig deep and draw on all of our mental, physical and emotional strength and the strength of support that everyone is sending us via email every time we head to the cabin to rest.

The last 8500nm don’t matter anymore, it is all about these last 20. It’s fair to say that with physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and a lack of savoury food we are being tested to our limits. However this is where we draw on our SPIRIT, row hard, row strong, row together.

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Photo credit: Sarah Moshman, Losing Sight of Shore

 

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Leg 3, Day 71 – Our last ocean SitRep

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Day 71 – Our last ocean SitRep

Our SitRep (situation report) is something we complete weekly on the boat. We discuss the answers as a team and then email the report to Keith (our sports psychologist)
Each section is marked out of 10.
1 equates to poor and 10 to excellent with a sliding scale between the two.

Please find the 19th of Jan sitrep below:

Emma

Physically 9 – body very heavy and tired but no other issues or injuries
Mentally 9 – can’t decide whether I am excited to finally reach Cairns or sad that this incredible journey is almost over but trying to stay in the moment and enjoy the time we have left on Doris
Medically 9 – pressure sores on the bum and some rashes on my skin from the salt and sweating
Health 10
Sea Sickness 10
Group 10 – these amazing women have made this journey what it has been and am proud to be part of such a strong and joyful team
Boat & Equipment 8.5 – we have managed to fully charge one of our batteries but since we are working off only this battery and are prioritising charging of camera equipment we are still having to hand pump water for a shift each per day as we don’t have the power to run our electric water maker
Sleepiness 9 – struggle to sleep in our first sleep shift as it is so hot and takes me about 10-15min to become awake but once on the oars I can stay awake and alert
Boat routines 8.5 – always room for improvement but generally all on time for shift changeovers just need to keep an eye on hatch checking and keeping the autopilot shelf under control
Keeping you up at night: Hoping we arrive into Cairns before my mum’s flight home so that she doesn’t have to change it.
How prepared are you for land: Have been thinking about and discussing what I/ we want our last few days aboard Doris to look like and what we envision our arrival to be. Bit overwhelmed that at the moment our feet touch land as we step off Doris together that means we have completed our challenge together. Looking forward to seeing our families and also having some time before flying home to properly reflect on what we have achieved and what I have learned along the way.

Natalia

Physically – 10
Mentally 9 – amazed that this journey’s end is so close. It’s been an incredible 9 months and now is the time that I will begin to reflect on what lessons have been learnt and what positives I’ll take with with me back onto land.
Medically 8 – still have my blistered lip (hasn’t healed for 3 months!), 2 pressure sores (one on each bum cheek), palms of my hands still peeling, unbelievably itchy rash on both forearms.
Health 10
Sea Sickness 10
Group 10 – after clearing the air with LP and Ems, I feel like we are a fiercely united team once again and can’t wait to row into Cairns with these 3 fantabulous women!
Boat & Equipment 9 – batteries doing much better but having been used to certain charging ease of camera equipment and personal music devices etc, it’s a shame to end the journey working off one battery and not two.
Sleepiness 9 – generally speaking I’m feeling alert and awake during row shifts. Sleeping well in the cabin despite the extreme heat.
Boat routines 8.5
Keeping you up at night: Hoping we arrive in time (by the 25th) so my parents don’t have to change their flights.
How prepared are you for land: I’m still focussing on taking it shift by shift as anything can still happen, but I’ve started reflections on the journey and projections for our arrival. Seeing my parents and the relief our arrival will give them and then thinking about how I may feel. Overwhelmed is definitely the overriding emotion that I sense I will experience.

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Laura

Physically 6 – currently I have issues with a couple of ribs, my left hip and left side of my lower back but anti inflammatories, stretching and directing some treatment from the other girls, is helping. My hands are also in bits!
Mentally 8 – starting to feel quite overwhelmed with the realisation of arriving into Cairns and to not have to step back on to Doris again.
Medically 7 – The skin on my hands is shredding off and causing salt sores where there’s cuts.
Health 8 – the condition of my skin and nails is poor, looking forward to some fresh food and rest to allow things to heal.
Sea Sickness 10
Group 9.5 – there’s been lots of sharing this week and awareness that everyone is in a different head space so openly discussing it has helped to provide awareness of how we respond to one another.
Boat & Equipment 8 – battery 2 is fully charged back up now but reluctant to charge up battery 1 without having to return to rationing usage of equipment. With just a few days left, decided to stick with working off the full battery as it has plenty of capacity for our needs. In the meantime we will continue to handpump once a day to reduce the load on the electric water maker.
Sleepiness 8 – really frustrating at night time as gobbledegook has been on a high this week in at least one session per night. Otherwise bright eyed and bushy tailed in the daytime regardless of having just 3-4hrs.
Boat routines 9 – team are working well together and focussing on their roles, but changeovers at night time and keeping the boat moving is an ongoing improvement.
Keeping you up at night: the overwhelming feelings of emotion when we reach land, see our families and get a sense of what we’ve just achieved.
How prepared are you for land: I’ve been thinking of reaching land since I stepped on in April, so I’m ready but I’m preparing myself for the onslaught of emotion. I have prepared my diary plan for the coming day/month/ 6 months post arrival to aid in my transition back to work and the reintegration to focus on the next goal of Rio in August.

Meg
Physically 10
Mentally 9 – beginning to get very reflective, and thinking about the experience that I have had on Doris. I also am apprehensive and excited for our return to the UK, and where my life will take me next.
Medically – 8.5 – pressure sores on each bum cheek. Salt sores on under thigh, bum cheeks and bum crack. Think that these have flared up again from constant sweating, also the two days when we couldn’t wash due to a lack of fresh water. Rash on both inner elbows, again potentially from salt. Hands, especially fingers and thumbs claw handing.
Health – 10
Sea Sickness 10
Group – 10 – I can’t imagine not sharing my waking (and sleeping) moments with these girls when we are back on land.
Boat & Equipment – 8 – due to our battery issues, we have not been able to charge all of our devices, email and also phone people.
Sleepiness – 6 – falling asleep on the oars is no longer a rarity! This morning LP caught it on camera!
Boat routines – 10
Keeping you up at night: Nothing! I can’t stay awake at night!
How prepared are you for land: I’m currently doing lots of visualisations of what our arrival into cairns is going to look like, and feel excited to see my family. However I am trying to stay in the moment and enjoy these final experiences as the things we are seeing now, we might not see again. I also know that crossing the Great Barrier Reef is going to be one of the toughest challenges so I am focusing on the mental preparation for that.

UPDATE:
– We saw a boat last night and Nats spoke to them on the handheld VHF radio…in a Scottish accent. It was highly amusing.
– We currently have 130 miles to go!
– Nats spoke to the Universe two days ago and asked very nicely for 48 hours of good speed. The Universe took her very literally and on the 49th hour, our speed seems to have dropped.
– Megs faced one of her biggest fears…and got her legs waxed in the aft cabin by a very happily pain inflicting LP.
– Ems is a water pumping machine.

The team x

together

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Leg 3, Day 65 – The Freaky Wave

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Day 65 – The Freaky Wave

We’re aware that many of our followers aren’t on Twitter and so we want to share with you some of the awesome cartoons that The Freaky Wave have been doing EVERY DAY since about half way through the second leg! Here are a couple of our favourites. You can see them all on twitter (@thefreakywave) or more on their website: www.thefreakywave.com

Thanks for the support! =)

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Update: last night LP and Megs were on the oars under a blanket of incredible stars when suddenly at 10:15am UTC a massive shining green light that travelled like a shooting star for a good few seconds zoomed across the sky! It left us completely mesmerised. We are thinking that it could possibly have been a meteorite and flew at approximately 120 degrees south east in the sky. If anyone has any ideas what this could have been we would love to hear them! In other news, we are still rowing.

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Leg 3, Day 62 – are we nearly there yet?

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Today’s blog comes from the one and only Tony Humphreys.

My involvement with ocean rowing dates back to 2001 when I was working as the Ops Manager for The Challenge Business, a company established by Sir Chay Blyth. Sir Chay, having rowed the Atlantic in 1966, had the crazy/genius idea to create a one-design rowing race across the Atlantic, which undoubtedly was responsible for the proliferation of ocean rowing as we know it today. Although I’ve never rowed an ocean (sailing oceans is where I’m at….), I have through my involvement with ocean rowing races and supporting independent ocean rows been involved with 138 ocean rows (not all of which were successful) across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

Four years ago to the day I received an enquiry to assist an all female team of six to row the Indian Ocean. A month later the plan had evolved into rowing the Pacific in three legs as a team of four women and over the following three years, despite several setbacks and changes within the team, the Coxless Crew became established and rowing the Pacific looked set to become a reality.

The route from San Francisco to Cairns, via Honolulu and Apia was chosen to break the voyage into three similar length legs. The route aimed to take advantage of the prevailing winds/currents as much as possible, while giving due regard to navigational safety, logistical facilities and media potential. Timings were dictated by the need to avoid the eastern Pacific hurricane season and the western Pacific cyclone season, which meant departing San Francisco no later than May and arriving in Queensland before December. The individual leg timings were calculated using historical weather averages (routing charts) and anticipated boat speeds based on my experience of working with four-person ocean rowing teams. Best laid plans and all that…..!

It’s fair to say prevailing winds/currents have been far from average this year, with what is widely accepted as one of the most significant El Niño years on record. During an El Niño year the trade winds become reduced in strength and occasionally even become reversed in direction. This reduction/reversal in the anticipated favourable winds has been a major contributor to the lack of pace and subsequent increase in leg times for Doris. Possibly the reduced trade winds have made the task of getting south a little easier than it would have been should the trade winds have been blowing consistently stronger, but really the only consolation that can be drawn from the fact we’re experiencing an unprecedented El Niño event is that the start of the cyclone season in the Coral Sea is expected to be delayed until late January.

Additional to El Niño slowing things down it’s also fair to say I was wide of the mark when it came to predicting average speeds/leg durations. My calculations were based on what a typical four-person boat would average in a race, or when attempting to break an ocean crossing speed record. With the girls taking time out for social time/team bonding, etc., plus the extra weight associated with a few extra ‘comforts’, Doris clearly isn’t in a hurry!

Rowing any ocean is an incredible feat of perseverance, but to row the equivalent of an ocean and then get back on the boat after only a week-long stopover is exemplary. It was always my biggest concern that having stopovers on this Pacific crossing would result in crew getting off and not wishing to continue. However, I’m sure taking the time during the row to work on team cohesion has been a major contributor to the success of the team remaining as one and becoming lifelong friends.

The level of professionalism the girls have shown in their approach to the project has always impressed me. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with these six audacious young women and to call them my Angels – haha if only….!
CC and Tony

Not much further now, but potentially some of the hardest rowing lies ahead in order to navigate between the many off lying reefs and islets before crossing the Great Barrier Reef. At the moment the weather looks to remain favourable for the foreseeable, so fingers crossed we are looking at an arrival window sometime between the 18th and 22nd January, with the usual caveat that ocean rowing boats rarely exceed expectations and usually only ever arrive later than estimated.

Tony – aka Uncle Tone/Charlie

UPDATE:
For those that don’t know, we are committed to continue raising money for our charities, hold fundraising events and do presentations for a few months after our arrival back in the UK. This means that there is a good possibility that all 6 of us will continue blogging daily once we leave our Pacific home and continue to share some land insights, challenges and stories with you all even after our arrival in Cairns.
400 miles to go! x
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Leg 3, Day 57 – Losing Sight Of Shore

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Day 57 – Losing Sight of Shore by Sarah Moshman

What does it mean to lose sight of shore? To me, it means pushing yourself far enough outside your comfort zone that you can no longer see the person you once were, and you are fighting to make it to the other side where you will be the person you’ve always wanted to become. Although I’m not physically on Doris (many days I wish I was), my journey to make a documentary about The Coxless Crew and to be a filmmaker has a lot of similarities.

It was late January 2015 when I got a life-changing email from Fiona Tatton, a blogger in the UK asking me if I’d like to be introduced to the Coxless Crew who were a few months from starting the row. I knew Fiona because she had interviewed me about my first feature-length documentary The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things that follows the journey of five female filmmakers driving across the US to interview inspirational women from all walks of life. Naturally, Fiona thought the Coxless Crew’s story was right up my alley. I specifically remember reading that email and thinking: “Rowing the Pacific? Wow. But I have no interest in making a film about that.” I then set up a Skype with Nat and Laura with no expectations, and I was instantly inspired. I’ve always trusted my instincts when it comes to which projects to focus on, and this was no different. Although I had no knowledge or interest in rowing, it was so clear to me that this was a story about the power of the human spirit, which was so exciting.​

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How do you make a film? Where do you even begin? The fact is, you just start taking a few steps forward and see where they get you. Then you take a couple more steps even when it feels scary, and before long you’re doing it. You’re brainstorming, planning, shooting, editing, and the shore is no longer in sight. I certainly don’t have it all planned out when I begin, and how could I? This is real life. These women are rowing the Pacific and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. All I knew was that I believed in them, I believed in my ability to pull it off, and the rest would somehow fall into place. That blind and bold determination is something I certainly share with Natalia, Laura, Emma, Lizanne, Izzy and Meg.

Before the ladies left San Francisco I armed them with cameras, microphones and hard drives and did my best to teach them how to use the tools to tell their story. I told them to think of the lens as all the people they want to inspire. I reassured them that everything they are thinking and feeling is important and fascinating. It was a big leap of faith to leave the storytelling to them, but an experiment I desperately wanted to conduct.

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I have had the pleasure of meeting the crew on land at each stop to film their triumphant arrivals in Santa Barbara, Honolulu, Samoa and soon Cairns. I’ve been present for the first steps, first bites of steak and ice cream, first showers, and always-huge smiles and hugs proud of what they’ve achieved. I feel so lucky and honored to have this front row seat to such an extraordinary story. I watch the footage from the boat giddy because I have no idea what’s coming next. I sit at my computer laughing at their goofy moments, frightened when they see sharks and whales, and crying when they feel lonely or in pain. And although we may be from different countries, I am convinced that this is a universal story of bravery, courage, determination and friendship.

When the Coxless Crew reach Cairns very soon and finish their journey, mine is really just beginning. Once I have all of the footage from boat, and I have conducted all of the interviews it’s time to officially begin post-production on Losing Sight of Shore. I have been diligently logging and transcribing all of the footage as it comes in, so that I stay organized and can move forward efficiently. From there it will be about shaping the story. Documentary filmmaking is kind of like reverse engineering a narrative. In fictional narrative films you have a script and then you shoot the movie. In documentary, you shoot the movie and then you write the script. It’s an interesting process for me, because in many ways I can’t start editing this film until I know how it ends.

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I hope to have a rough cut of the film by the Spring of 2016, and then once that major hurdle has been crossed the film will really take shape and eventually become the final cut of the film. Simultaneously we will be working on sound editing, color correcting, music composing, titles, graphics, marketing, distribution, and more. My goal is to have the film complete by the Fall of 2016. My ideal home for this film is on Netflix or HBO but all of that will be sorted out once the film is further along. I still have a considerable amount of money to raise and many hours of footage to sift through before I can really dream big about where it will end up. My main focus is to make a great film that honors the tireless hard work of The Coxless Crew so that people for years to come can be inspired. I often begin editing thinking about how I want the audience to feel when they leave the theater – and for this film I want them to feel like they can achieve anything they set their mind to.

I am currently in the middle of My Pacific in terms of making this film, but just like The Coxless Crew I believe in the process, and I approach it shift by shift, stroke by stroke. I lost sight of shore a long time ago and in my dreams I can see to the other side, and oh boy was it worth the trip.

Stay tuned for updates about Losing Sight of Shore on our facebook page

Watch the trailer:

UPDATE: We’re battling a strong Southerly current. 550 miles to go. 12 days of main meals. So near yet so far x

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