The Heads Together and Row crew passed another significant training milestone at the weekend, rowing for two days and two nights at sea in preparation for the big event. This is part of their progressive training regime and they aim to be out for a continuous three-night period in August. Here is a blog post about their training.
Conditions on the Solent were good. It was hot, which was useful acclimatisation for the race itself when we will need to maintain our performance over two-hour rowing shifts day and night. There is nowhere to hide from the heat during the day with the cabins expected to reach 40°C and the hatches kept closed to avoid waves swamping the boat.
Crew member Jeremy Reynolds said: “In these conditions consuming enough liquids, calories, minerals and nutrients, and cleaning ourselves with a limited supply of biodegradable wet wipes after each rowing shift are vital to a successful crossing. Otherwise fatigue and body sores, on top of sleep deprivation and sea sickness can rapidly become seriously debilitating.”
Winds were fair but strong enough to make the rowing tough going when head to wind and against the tide. Overnight many hours were spent with only one person rowing at a time rather than two.
Fellow crew member Alison Wannell explained: “This is to allow for three two-hour sleep breaks each, and to maintain a coxswain/lookout for navigation and safety given our proximity to the coast and busy shipping channels – two things we hope not to have to deal with very often during the race itself!”
Nevertheless we clocked up over 150 km in 46 hours – a solid average speed given the conditions and testament to our development as a crew through our technical, physical and mental training programme.
Overall it was a very successful weekend and not all hard work. Highlights included two amazing sunsets, rowing alongside the Needles silhouetted by the moon at the far West of the Isle of Wight, and the brilliance of the night sky.
Read more about the Heads Together and Row partnership.