Race Diary - an interview with Alyson and Nicky.

Written by Clare Facey – Marketing for The Entrepreneur ship

This week I was lucky enough to enjoy a FaceTime call with David’s wife Alyson and Guy’s wife Nicky – two incredible women who have supported their husbands on this amazing record-breaking attempt to be the oldest pair to ever row an ocean. With their arrival in Antigua growing ever closer we chatted about how they have been feeling and if there are any positives to having the house to themselves for a few months!

Question: The team have shown a competitive edge and a commitment to complete the row as quickly as possible from very early on.  Have you been surprised by this?

Nicky: This hasn’t surprised me at all!! Guy is a naturally competitive person and I know that as soon as the event started, he would have seen this as a race!  He wouldn’t be happy to watch anyone overtake him at this stage!

Alyson:  David is very much on the same page as Guy. David has completed many competitive races in his life including Iron Men and Marathons.  His competitiveness is what has led him to push himself every time and I was in no doubt that this event would be the same!

Question: How much have you been able to communicate with Guy and David whilst they have been out on the water?

Alyson:  Nicky and I were prepared for very intermittent communication from Guy and David.  We had no idea how they were going to cope with the sea sickness, the lack of sleep and the general exhaustion of the event. We have both been so lucky to have continuous communication though.  I have spoken to David sometimes 2-3 times a day which I have loved. As we are in the middle of building a house David has even been giving me a list of jobs each day and as they row ever closer to Antigua, I think our conversations about the house build will continue to grow!

Nicky: Throughout Guy’s career he has worked incredibly hard, with long hours and a lot of travel.  I am therefore used to Guy being away from home for periods of time, although not usually rowing an ocean!  I was therefore not expecting too much communication as we are used to time apart, but I have been delighted to speak to Guy every day.  To hear what he has been up to each day has been fantastic and I look forward to our call each evening between 8 and 8.30. As a more natural worrier than Alyson, Guy has kept some of the details of the challenges away from me, focusing on the positives and allowing me to worry less.  I am very grateful to Guy for this, it’s meant I have had less sleepless nights than I thought!

Over the weekend the first team, SWISS RAW, finished the race.  I know that you both watched this live.  How did seeing another boat arrive in Antigua make you feel?

Nicky: It bought back some fantastic memories.  It was 5 years ago when Guy and I were staying in Nelson’s Dockyard for our wedding anniversary that Guy first came up with this idea.  We were lucky enough to see one of the boats complete the race and I suppose ever since then Guy has been thinking about arriving in Antigua with his own boat and team.  It was therefore not just watching SWISS RAW that made me emotional but thinking about how myself and our family, who will be joining us out there, will be feeling.  It’s certainly going to be an emotional moment!

Alyson – Watching the SWISS RAW team finish made what Guy and David are doing even more real and I was certainly very emotional watching this incredible team of four men finish this race in such a quick time.  Funnily enough David called when I was watching the live Facebook feed and I think he was surprised to hear me crying when I answered the phone! I think though if anyone understood how emotional I was feeling it was him.  I can’t wait to watch David finish with our two sons – we’ll be with the Rigby’s cheering them both in!

How have you both coped with David and Guy being away for so long?

Nicky – I thought that I would be much more worried than I have been, mainly because Guy has been able to communicate every day and has kept any more challenging moments away from me! As I am used to Guy working long hours, I am used to not seeing him and have therefore enjoyed spending lots of time with family and friends. As we speak there are roughly 900 miles to go so as a family we are getting excited to see him again and Camilla, my Daughter in Law was given the job by Guy to plan our trip to Antigua.  With the whole family hopefully flying out it’s going to be quite a task!!

Alyson – If we could have planned when David was going to do this race we might not have chosen 2021!  We are currently in the middle of an exciting building project that David has been very involved with right up until the moment he left (and whilst he’s on the boat!!).  We have already sold our old house so I’ve been living in a rented house which has certainly had it’s challenges but I’ve been busy running our company Hot Smoked and whilst David has been on the water we have been shortlisted for The Giftware Association Gift of the Year 2022 in both Food & Drink and Garden & Outdoor categories. So it’s certainly been a busy time and there’s definitely been a big void with David being away so I’m looking forward to seeing David, finishing our new house and starting another adventure!

Finally, do you think that once Guy and David have recovered, they will look for another challenge

Alyson – Although this is the most extreme adventure David has taken on, he is often involved in extreme sporting events which we have taken part in together.  Once David is back, we will be focused on finishing our house, but I would like to think the next adventure we can do together! Not sure what that will be though!

Nicky – as with so many people the impact of Covid has meant Guy has spent way more time at home than any point in his career.  That was quite an adjustment so I think he will have loved being away from his computer and his desk and to enjoy this time of reflection and extreme activity.  I think that he will return committed to the sports that he loves, such as skiing and sailing, but I’m hoping that this will be his last extreme adventure!

Thank you so much to Alyson and Nicky for taking the time to speak to me and for sharing their thoughts and insights over the past few weeks.

As the Entrepreneur Ship support team, we have been focused on supporting Guy and David but at no point have we lost sight of the fact that this record-breaking attempt could not have happened without these wonderful women supporting them.  So far Guy and David have raised over £500,000 for UnLtd , with the total going up every day.  Thank you to everyone who is supporting them including all the friends and family who have been messaging, phoning and looking after Nicky and Alyson.  Thank you for being part of the support crew! David & Guy left 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