My role is to be the @virtualstowaway on Ellida and report to you, via the boys, what is happening between oar strokes. This weekend, Ben, Cam, Isaac and Jack rowed 60km along the stunning Jurassic Coastline to raise awareness and much needed funds for Multiple Sclerosis. I was off in the mountains of Wales, so this is my first 'reported' blog.
The first All nighter...
So, to start, the logistics were a challenge. Friday night, after a long, hot week, you're dreaming of a cold beer, right? Sorry, none of that for Atantic Discovery. The team had to drive nearly 300 miles including airport pickup, essential kit in Bath, and tow the beautiful Ellida from Weymouth to Poole Harbour - arriving at 4am. Then, it was straight to work to set up shop: banners, balloons and flags to show the lady off to the 2,000 runners and walkers taking part in the Jurassic Coastal Challenge.
It is All about Multiple Sclerosis
From 6am to 11am the boys smiled non-stop, chatting away to anyone interested in their phenomenal challenge, and they were particularly thrilled to have three special guests on the day to support them:
- Ben's inspirational mum Rose.
- The lovely ladies representing Berkshire MS Therapy Centre Samantha Hall and Yvonne Parks.
- The MS Society's enthusiastic representative Caroline Kew.
They even attracted the attention of St Johns Ambulance (They told me it was to offer the team their support, but I think they might have come over because Isaac was wearing his all-weather gear in the hot sun!)
Time for Ellida to show her moves
At midday, to coincide with wind and tides, Ellida was craned into the water and the boys navigated out of Poole Harbour and met up with adventure photographer Daniel Gregg Williams on the beach to get footage of the boat and crew from the air. The team rowed three-up for the first time and were quite pleased with the speed they achieved. Dan bagged some exceptional images which have performed incredibly well on our digital platforms (including the images featured in this blog) - more kudos and followers for this extraordinary journey. Thank you Dan! Your support means a great deal to the team.
The second all nighter!
Now, I have always wondered how Atlantic Discovery would perform under pressure. Would they fall apart, would there be conflict and combat, with losses overboard? Or, would they pull together and support each other? Saturday night proved to be their first test. Remember - they didn't sleep Friday night - at all. And, it's been a long, hot, challenging day. Added to this, a brisk 12-knot headwind and, only manual steering. Why? To make things a little harder and test the team's mettle. This was tough. They adopted the following rowing timetable for 12 long hours: rowing two-up, two hours on, one hour off, one hour steering. How did they do on so little rest? Great! (And I asked all of them separately just to check they weren't having me on!)
The team pulled together, when things got tough. They are all really feeling good this week. Go boys!