Written by the Entrepreneur Ship Support Team
RACE DIARY – THE FIRST WEEK ON THE WATER
Today we caught up with David, and he sent us this picture to accompany it!
Their adventure so far has surpassed expectations. The biggest concern was always the impact of exhaustion and sea sickness. But despite the punishing shift pattern and the ever moving ocean, they have been far less affected by these issues than expected.
Avid dot watchers may have noticed that the team have taken a slight left turn away from the direction of Antigua in the last 24 hours. Do not panic, this is not a mistake!
At the moment the whole fleet is expecting unhelpful weather conditions over the next few days. Nothing terrifying, but certainly conditions that aren’t particularly conducive with ‘progress’. This turn is partly to make the most of the Northerly winds (winds blowing from the north to the south) but also to try to avoid the worst of the conditions that are incoming and they feel that they are most protected on the Eastern side of the fleet. If this pays off there is potential that they will get more support from the winds than rowers on the western side and so could make up some valuable ground.
Over the next 24 hours it will be tough rowing with variable winds and messy waves coming through – but Guy and David are strong, when we spoke to them yesterday they sounded so relaxed that you’d think they were on a luxury cruise!
Incredible work team – inspiring us every single day!
Currently the team are directly south of the Canarian island of La Palma.
This island has recently been severely damaged by the eruption of Cumbre Vieja – an eruption that began in September and, as this amazing photo (taken by David’s wife from the plane on the way home) shows – is STILL erupting. It has, in it’s three months of eruption completely wiped out an entire town and caused the evacuation of large parts of the island.
But, despite many flights in and out of the islands being cancelled due to the ash cloud, Guy and David continue on, unaffected and completely owning their incredible adventure.
And that’s perhaps the draw of this experience – they are in control of their own destiny. They are isolated and unaffected by flight cancellations, by covid restrictions, by borders, by political whims, and by propaganda…there is perhaps no other place in the world where they can be so utterly and completely free.
Their world is now defined by the cycle of the moon and the stars, by the roll of the ocean and the strength of the wind. Thick cloud will make their world at night become pitch black, and on clear nights they will have the most incredible view of the universe above them. The sun not only provides light and warmth, but it is also their power source – too many cloudy days will mean they will need to reduce their power consumption hugely.
And watching this pair adjust to this world with such ease, is a complete testament to their immense strength and character.
Excellent job team – keep on keeping on!
We’re being asked why Guy and David, and indeed the rest of the fleet are all heading South West rather than directly towards Antigua.
Surely the fastest way between two points is a straight line? Well, no, not at sea!
As the earth spins it creates an interia force called the Coriolis effect. There are lots of elements to this effect, but for the purposes of this post, it essentially dictates the way that the air and the water move on a massive scale.
It creates circular patterns of winds, and circular currents, that span the entirity of oceans. There are several of these oceanic currents, known as gyres, and for this race we’re interested in the North Atlantic Gyre. In simplest form this giant current does a huge clockwise circle around most of the North atlantic. Currents are complicated, but there is a general direction of the current that sweeps down from the canary islands, across the Atlantic, swooshes through the carribean, up to Miami, joining up with the gulf stream, and swinging up past New York and back across the Atlantic, before heading south again to the Canaries.
In addition to the currents, the Coriolis effect also does a similar thing with the winds. The winds are more changeable than the currents, but the predominant (prevailing) winds in the North Atlantic tend to follow the same route as the currents.
So, if the boys rowed directly to Antigua they would be effectively going straight through the middle of this giant circle of winds and currents – getting little or no support from either. Instead, they are following the route of the prevailing conditions, which although considerably further, is much quicker.
If Guy and David decided once they got to Antigua that they wanted to row back to the Canaries, they would not be able to row the way they came as they’d effectively be rowing against the direction of the conveyor belt – instead they would have to head North up through the Gulf Stream towards the UK before heading south back to the Canaries.
The conditions are well known by all sailors, and are used even today to increase speed of transport, and to reduce fuel used during trade – and is why they are known as the ‘Trade Winds’.
INCOMING VIDEO FROM THE OCEAN!
We’ve just received this short but brilliant video from the crew! And, whilst very little is actually said – we can take a lot from it.
Firstly the conditions looks nice and calm, the sky is largely clear, and with the sun starting to go down in the background, they look set to have a fantastic sunset. Aboard the boat, everything looks tidy and shipshape. To David’s left is his ‘Snack Pack’ – this is 24 hours of treats that help him with his calorie intake, but also provide a mental boost. The snack pack is open so he is probably grabbing a treat and popping it in his mouth between strokes on the oars. But the best part…is simply how happy they both sound!
The little jokes between them, David grinning, and although we can’t see Guy, you can just hear in his voice that he is smiling!
This is amazing to hear at this early stage. This is the stage they were warned would be absolutely brutal. And it’s no exaggeration; the first few days of an ocean row can break people – the sickness and exhaustion can cause total expedition failure in a young person – this pair are the oldest pair to row an ocean…and they are making it look easy!!!
By doing this expedition, and by managing to stay so positive under such pressures, this incredible pair are redefining what we think is possible. They are proving beyond doubt that our ‘active years’ are far longer than many of us give ourselves credit for. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it – Guy and David are inspiring us all, every single day.
Overnight David and Guy have climbed the leader board by SEVEN PLACES!!
As you can see in this video, Guy and David took the most southerly track to begin with to help them get clear of the wind shadows created by the land.
Wind shadows are simply when wind blows towards a sticky up bit, like an island, the opposite side of that island is very sheltered and you then don’t get as much supporting wind, hence wind shadows.
Smartly, the men and their amazing weather router knew all about that and so tried to get out of the shadow as quickly as possible.
Going directly South meant that they were making absolutely almost zero progress towards Antigua which had put them in the unenviable position of last place.
However at midday yesterday they hooked a right and started swinging across the fleet in a more Antigually direction – and that, along with their excellent rowing has seen them climb the table extremely quickly!
Amazing work men!!
Their first night on the water is over and despite a punishing routing of 2 hours on 2 hours off 24 hours a day, the boys are still feeling strong!
Normally we would write a piece on behalf of Guy and David, but Guy is feeling so comfortable aboard the good ship Lily that he’s written his own update! So let’s hear it from the man himself!
“After a roaring start with some 3 to 4 knot moments, the wind and waves in the night were on the beam, making it very difficult to maintain the 175 degree easterly course that Simon recommended. We did our best, even though some of the time we were doing less than one knot with a heavy roll. Horrible rowing!
As dawn arrived we got a blast of easterly wind with a tiny bit of north in it, building our speed to between 2 and 3 knots. That wind has now lightened and we are currently doing around 2 knots, with a bearing of about 190 for the next 10 to 12 miles. Assuming things continue as they are, at around midday we will alter course to 210. Simon believes this will be good for the next 300 or so miles and that a north easterly at about 12-15 knots will build later in the day.
David & I are both well and excited that we are on the way. We are operating a two hour shift pattern and our first 24 hour period will come to an end at midday. Current weather conditions are sunny, with an easterly wind of about 5 knots.”
At this early stage we expected exhaustion and sea sickness, so to be able to get such a good update from the man himself at this stage is outstanding!
As the sun dips below horizon and darkness falls, Guy and David’s world slowly transmutes into a very different beast.
The blue skies streaked with white clouds and the distant views of land, fade away to being able to really only see a few metres from the boat under torch light.
Tonight the moon is in it’s first quarter (a half moon with the dark side on the left and the sky is fairly clear so there will be some light offered from that which is a real help to them.
The moon, it’s timings, and it’s phases will affect Guy and David’s night shifts. In future nights with total cloud cover, if they look out to the sides it can often get so inky black that they’ll question if they’ve gone blind – but on a clear night, with a new moon (dark side only) there will be a phenomenal starscape, with the milky way streaking through the night like a vast glittery interstellar highway!
The team are doing really well, they’ve taken a more southerly track than some others, aiming to get free of the wind shadows (more on those soon) and hopefully picking up stronger supporting winds!
We wouldn’t normally expect to see anything from the rowers for the first few days as they deal with the nerves and excitement and magnitude of what they’re taking on. Not to mention the exhaustion and potential sea sickness!
But, just like they’re redefining boundaries in ocean rowing by hoping to be the oldest pair to row an ocean, they’re also redefining our expectation by ALREADY getting imagery back from the boat!!
It’s soooo good to see the pair in good spirits as they edge their boat further and further from land!
At this stage they’re still able to use the last of the terrestrial ‘4g’ signal, but that will soon fade and then we’ll only be getting imagery back via satellite comms.
What a day, what an adventure, what a team!!
What a phenomenal morning!
Guy and David – aiming to be the oldest pair to row any ocean, pushed away from shore and began the challenge that has taken over their lives for such a long time.
As they row off into the distance, their emotions will be all over the place – but they’ll also perhaps be breathing a sigh of relief that it’s finally happening, and they can just concentrate on the rowing!
As they may their way across this incredible ocean, we’ll be reporting several times a day on their progress, giving insight into their position and what’s around them, but also hopefully we’ll get to hear some of their thoughts and feelings throughout!
These two are proving that not only the age just a number, they’re redefining the boundaries of the sport!
Unfathomable dedication, an unquenchable thirst for success, and UNSTOPPABLE determination has brought these two men to the start of what is perhaps the world’s ultimate test of the mental and physical strength.
It is finally here, launch day!
In just over three hours Guy and David, the pair that we have followed the story of all this time will finally push away from their moorings and begin rowing towards a landless horizon.
These two men are supremely prepared, they are expertly trained, and they have huge family support. But as they push away from land – it is finally just them.
What and incredible day!
Before the rowers take to the high seas they need to go out for a confirmation row.
The confirmation row ensures that the rowers are completely ready, completely prepared, and as comfortable as they can be about what they are about to take on.
The wind has been blowing a hooley this week in Gomera so they’ve not been able to get out easily, until today!
Duncan Roy was on hand as always to head out with them to assess their skills, impart any last minute advice, and to simply instill as much confidence as possible in this pair.
Because despite the pair not having rowed an ocean yet, they have invested huge amounts of time and energy into preparing for this project, and they are already accomplished rowers.
The confirmation row went really well, this was the final hurdle…now it’s time to enjoy their final night on land, and TRY and get some sleep later tonight!!
Less than 26 hours until launch!
Guy, David and indeed the rest of the fleet are now ready to go. Everything is prepared and just the final ‘fettling’ will take place.
Family will be attending the family briefing today to furnish them with the information to help them whilst the rowers are at sea. This will hopefully allay some fears and give them lines of communication and escalation.
In an expedition of this nature where communications with land are scarce, often hard to hear, and made by two people who may be exhausted – ensuring that there are very clearly outlined lines of comms for the family members so that no confusion or double-work occurs are so important.
Taking on an ocean row is an intense thing to do, even before launch it makes you feel everything in a deeper and more meaningful way.
So having family with you at the beginning or the end creates the most intense feelings of connection, happiness, and love.
Yesterday the guys took the opportunity to spend important time with their family and friends that have made their way out to Gomera. David’s wife Alyson and Guy’s wife Nicky are an enormous and endless source of strength to the two men, and their bond will support them all the way across the Atlantic.
It’s an important reminder that it’s not just Guy and David that are going through an enormous mental battle with this row – their loved ones also have to go through it. Perhaps their battles are more challenging.
Because Guy & David know where they are, they can duck and roll, they can make decisions, they can take action – for their family and friends they are just watching a little dot moving slowly across a blue chart, and if the guys stop rowing to make some adjustments, or fix something or because the wind isn’t playing ball… all the family see is that little dot not moving and they don’t know why.
Mental strength comes in various guises and both the rowers and their close loved ones absolutely exude it.
Just a day and a half remain before launch!!!!
Launch time is confirmed!
At 12:10 on Sunday the 12th December 2021, our fearless duo will launch their boat in what may be the most memorable lunchtime of their lives!
To avoid all the boats racing off at the same time and banging into each other like a 1970s Le Mans start, each vessel is assigned a three minute slot. That slot allows them to push off, row to the mouth of the harbour, wave goodbye to their loved ones, and begin their historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean in the 2021 Atlantic campaigns Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge!!
The race start will be streamed LIVE on the Atlantic Campaigns FACEBOOK feed! So make sure to follow them now! If you miss it we’ll share the video after the fact on the Entrepreneurship Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.
IT’S GETTING EXCITING!!!
David & Guy will row out from La Gomera in the Canaries on 12th December. They hope to arrive in Antigua by the middle of February. Please give generously at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-entrepreneur-ship