News for the coming Ocean rowing season.
World Ocean Rowing are please to confirm that we have 2 crews selected for the 2012 ocean rowing season. 1st up are the sub 30-day Atlantic crew! We will be setting out to sea at the very beginning of January 2012 attempting to become the first crew in the history of the sport to cross the Atlantic in less than 30 days! Dubbed Ocean rowing’s very own 4 minute mile the crew will aim to claim their place in the history books while raising the bar of whats is deemed possible.
To keep up to date with all the latest information we now have a dedicated expedition site for each crew that goes to sea. It contain’s all of the crew blog’s, tracking information, photos in one place.
June 2012 will see the Indian Ocean crew attempting the first continent to continent row across the whole of the Indian Ocean ! this ground breaking row will see a boat full of experienced rowers take on unknown water by a vessel of this type, to become the first humans to make the voyage.
To get involved in sponsorship opportunity’s for this expedition contact : Info@worldoceanrowing.com
World Ocean rowing have started the search for the 2013 crews and places have already been filled see 2013 tab at top of home page! we have 2 crews up for selection. January 2013 Morocco to Barbados with limited spaces available register your interest now. June 2013 New York to the UK on the North Atlantic route, this will be a record attempt and will demand the very best of crew members to complete the challenge of this hardest of oceans to row! some of the crew spaces have also been filled and this looks like being a very capable crew already!
See 2013 Expeditions tab above for details on how to apply for the crew spaces available!
Matt Craughwell’s blog:
29TH JANUARY 2012: TOUGHEST WEEK UNDER MY WATCH
With the calm of the Atlantic Sara G has not only had her toughest week of the expedition, but her toughest week under my watch. Yesterday saw us post only sixty nautical miles with a mixed bag of no wind and swells from every direction. Despite all of this the crew have battled on to make this small total. It has now made our world record attempt become the most difficult ten days we will spend at sea this year. Morale is high and we hope for good weather soon, but it seems everything is against us at the moment! The latest technical difficulty has been the loss of our electrical power due to the lack of winds and no sun for the past few days, this has meant we are now navigating the old fashion way like the old mariners used to. We hope to have better news soon and would like to thank everyone for all the messages of support we have received, on days like this they mean everything to us. We will continue to give it our all till we reach Barbados and hope to see a change of fortune in the coming ten days.
21ST JANUARY 2012: THE REASON I DO THIS
Work is a place that we all spend far too much time to not enjoy it! I have a normal side to my life as well as the ocean rowing one; it’s as a gas engineer and it’s not that I don’t like my job, it’s just I don’t love it !
I found ocean rowing by accident; an idea that grew to a passion to test myself in a way most people would consider insane and risky! But it’s where I have truly found myself!
Now for the last 2 weeks I’ve been sick, exhausted, blistered, burnt, battered and bruised by my boat and the Atlantic Ocean! I’ve passed my crisis point of questioning myself as to the reasons for me being here for a 4th year running and I had struggled to come up with the right answer until today!
The boat just took off, the weather was perfect, the crew (a tightly bonded group of men who I can now call friends) were all smiles and the energy here is almost electric! And it was while pushing myself as hard as ever today that it came to me; I do this every year because I truly love it and to do something you love as a part of your working life is a total privilege!
It’s a shame there is only 2 weeks of it left before I go back to the normal part of my life !! mind you it’s only for 12 weeks until I do the Indian Ocean and that should (only) take 3 months to complete…! 2012 is going to be a fantastic year.
12TH JANUARY 2012: WORDS OF THE WEEK
Just thought I’d do a quick round up of week 1 – the words of the week were seasickness, knacked, routine, pain & hunger! It sounds like hell, I know, but the smiles that were aboard Sara G told a different story!
The crew is split in to 2 teams of 3. In my team is Simon (who is in the stroke seat), Aodhan in middle and I’m in the bow. We have a great mix of humour between us and the nights are filled with caffeine induced laughter – Simon is the super quick wit of the group keeping not only Aodhan and myself laughing but the rest of the boat too!
By the end of week 1 the crew are settled and it now seems normal for life to be existing in this way. The days are blending into one another now and that’s a great sign that we have more to give as a crew in the coming weeks.
We have had some troubles with the boat too! Planning for component failure is part of my job as skipper and by having a plan for any failure I’m planning for a way to succeed! First we had the de-salanitor unit pump failing – we had a spare so no problems but just 4 days later the replacement failed!! After a short investigation I found a faulty connection on the pumps internal wiring so I made the adjustment and its still running as we speak! Then last night the morse cable snapped (not so helpfully at 11pm!!). As I already had a spare in place it made what could have been a 3 hour job just a 1 hour job (all be it hard work) it was much easier than having to start from scratch!
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail! - Speak soon – Matt
7TH JANUARY 2012: BRUISES AND BLISTERS
Well with clear head and eyes that work (to be honest I have never felt so sea sick on this boat before) I am able to write my first blog of the trip.
The lads have all settled in really well, we have hit a good routine and the mileage is starting to show. We are posting good solid mileage with less than average conditions and when the conditions improve (which they have to at some point) we should see them tick past very quickly!
I had a knock to my left knee two nights ago which has seen me able to row almost pain free but unable to weight-bare on it at all, it’s well strapped and it’s on the mend. We have a few serious bruises and blisters but on the whole we are all well.
The temperature is creeping up and the shift from loving rowing during the day is about to be replaced with the love of rowing at night – much cooler conditions and the whole night and day thing for us now just isn’t the same as it is for you at home. The two on two off pattern has turned us upside down and inside out to the point where we are now just awake or asleep, day and night do not have the same meaning as when on land!
6TH JANUARY 2012: CURRENTLY UNDERWAY
The crew of the Atlantic Odyssey are currently underway having left Tarfaya at exactly 13.00 hours on 2nd January 2012. It’s a huge relief to be at sea and see the land drifting away from us – the crew are eager and the weather is great. By the end of the first day we had completed 101 nautical miles: a great start! The wind then took a slight turn to the east and it has been tougher rowing in these conditions, however the dolphins swimming by the side of the boat was a great sight to see. We are nearing the end of our third day at sea and the crew have all settled in nicely, the lack of communication is not uncommon as there’s been a heavy bout of sea sickness on the boat, myself included. It really does take away from your energy as well as rowing for twelve hours a day, the body almost seems to go into a form of shock that is so severe you just have to cling onto hope that you will eventually get through it. It seems at the moment we have a routine on the go – the cabins are cleared, everybody is starting to eat well, everybody is starting to rest well and everybody is starting to row well. We have good news from the weather router at the moment – we are taking a slightly more direct route than past years and we hope to have some confirmation later today on exactly what positions we are going to be taking across the Atlantic for the foreseeable ten days.
1ST JANUARY 2012: DEPARTURE DUE 02/01/12 AT 10:00AM
Getting in to Tarfaya at 3am on new years day after fourteen hours crammed into a truck made me appreciate some of the less exciting New years Evenings I’ve experienced over the years!
This New Years Eve gently passed by with the words ”Bonne annee et bonne santé” from one of my new Moroccan friends in the truck that I found myself in. But being 400km away from the rest of the crew and in the middle of the Sahara Desert what more could I have expected? If anything it just showed up my lack of language skills and my lack of ability to be fully involved in their conversation.
The crew are showing all the signs of wanting to leave, as am I and it’s not too long now until I can give them the go and unleash the power we have as a crew against the might of the Atlantic Ocean! With the green light from our weather expert it is approximately 24hrs before departure and I think I can speak for all of us when I say it couldn’t happen soon enough.
27TH DECEMBER 2011: TIME TO REFLECT
Sitting in a restaurant in Tenerife completely relaxed and spending time with my family, I’m in a good place mentally for the coming weeks, my batteries feel recharged and I’m enjoying the last week of a normal life style. In the coming eight months I will row across 8000 miles of open ocean and if everything goes to plan I will become the first human to row two of the worlds major oceans (Atlantic & Indian) in one calendar year!
It seems so simple to write the words, but the past three years have prepared me for what is about to come in both the mental and physical challenge that awaits me. Sleep deprivation, total exhaustion, but most of all the removal of all the things I hold closest in my life!
By this I mean my wife Helen. So much so that sometimes I wonder why I accepted the challenge? Deep down I already know the answer and it’s the thought of the challenge and asking myself the question of “can I do this” it is a huge part of who I am and if I hadn’t accepted the challenge, the not finding out “if I could” would be worse for both of us in the long term.
When I started this faze of my life I uncovered a passion that burns so deep inside me I’m now unsure if I’ll ever be able to ignore it, although I feel selfish at times I know that Helen supporting me and the acceptance of my “just having to do this” is a good sign! Because the not trying would take away huge part of who I am and I know that I would be unhappy that I hadn’t at least tried. Her unwavering support of these expeditions let’s me know just how strong our relationship is, how lucky I am to have found someone that excepts me as me no questions asked.
Her ability of putting my happiness before her own just reinforces that I found the one in a million and that without her it would be impossible for me to succeed!
22ND DECEMBER 2011: SKIPPER ARRIVES IN MOROCCO
Arriving in Agadir and seeing my Moroccan friends that I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the 2011 record breaking Atlantic expedition made me stop and realise just how quickly this last year had passed. It was almost a mini celebration of what had been achieved on the crossing, with tales of how they followed us across the ocean from the comfort of their computers while I filled in the gaps of what we had gone through at sea.
As I recounted what had made the trip a success, I began to realise just what its going to take to cross this year in a time I believe we as a crew are capable of! With a lighter boat a physically bigger team and a strong team ethos everything that is under my control has been put in place for us to achieve the dream of a sub-30 day crossing, the rest is beyond the control of any man, I’m talking about the weather! Perfect weather is impossible to guarantee but we have the best in the business in Stokie Woodall guiding us through the best of conditions that are available to us while at sea, it will be a waiting game at the start but in Stokie we trust!
The final piece of the puzzle was completed yesterday, arranging to move a boat 700km by road in the UK is a challenge, but moving a boat 700km by road in Morocco through the Sahara desert is almost impossible. As well as the boat we needed to have suitable lifting equipment waiting for us at the departure port! This lifting equipment has to be mechanically mobile, be able to lift 3000kgs and be transported from Agadir, so it will also be making the same journey as the boat.
Against the odds of everything regarding the complex logistics going smoothly my pre-planning has fallen into place and everything I arranged in August has arrived on time and will be at our departure point on the edge of the Sahara, I would like to thank my friend Samir for all of your help past and present, you make a near impossible task seem mundane.
The boat will clear customs today and will be shipped by road on the 31st of December at midday with the crew in toe for a 24hr road trip through the desert…. Should make for an unusual new-years eve experience!
26TH NOVEMBER 2011:
Its that time of year again… everything that I’ve worked so hard for is now in place!
The crew are selected, the boat ‘Sara G’ is race ready and on her way to the start line. I’m now left with 5 weeks of what used to be my normal life at home with my wife Helen and our dog Dexter. It’s a strange to no longer have lots to do when I get home from a days work, apart from training and family time.
Whilst walking Dexter tonight under crystal clear skies, the two ocean companions that have been with me on each of my expeditions were high in the sky. They were calling me back to the ocean – the friends I’m speaking of are Orion and the North star. With these two at night, I’ve become accustomed to setting a mental bearing to such an extent that with just a glance at the sky I can determine if the boat is on the correct bearing. Its just a shame that you don’t get to see the Milkyway from the UK due to the artificial light that we live by.
I find it hard to believe that in the past I had lots of spare time and never really did anything with it really apart from day-to-day life. Looking back I wonder where I found all the new energy needed to make these ocean rowing projects come to life, but I’m glad that I found it from somewhere, because the thought of never rowing an ocean again is 10 times worse than the thought of doing all the work next year to make it happen all over again.
I can not wait to head out on expedition with this years crew – the feeling of team work and team ethic this year is higher than I thought possible with any expedition. We are six near -strangers who share the common goal of not only breaking a world record but also in raising the bar beyond what was thought possible. This is a once in a life-time chance.
The temptation is to train harder now, due to the increased time on my hands, but experience has taught me well. I feel ready, and over-training wouldn’t improve my performance much at this stage, instead it would risk a strain. I will continue my 2hr sessions 3 or 4 days a week at the gym – this has served me well until now.
The start in Morocco will be here sooner than I can imagine so I’ll just have to stop wishing the time away and enjoy life with my family until the time comes for the ocean to call me back… but knowing the call is coming is like a child waiting for Christmas morning.