Well, it’s been a while since our last written update but this is simply due to the fact that we have been so busy! It’s just 3 months and 19 days away until our departure to La Gomera, the Canary islands, and our start line before the 3000 nautical mile journey to our destination, English Harbour in Antigua, the Caribbean.

Sponsorship is perhaps the single largest task for any expedition, but with the tremendous efforts of our team (to not name drop Claire Birch would be a crime), this aspect of the challenge is coming on far better than any of us could have hoped for and we are well on track although still searching for a head line sponsor. So if you are interested… give us a call!

Our boat, previously know as Maple Leaf has now been named Tracy of Essex, due almost entirely to her location – Burnham-on-Crouch Marina. Those of you that have visited the area will have probably heard of if not visited the best Indian Curry house in the whole of Burnham, named The Polash. This institution has more than a few times filled our bellies and provided Luke and i with more laughter than many other guests can hack, although we have yet been asked to vacate, probably because we are their top customers.

In recent weeks we have been trekking back and forth to spend usually 48 hours at a time on the boat, rowing up and down the Estuary. This as we have found out the hard way is far more tiring and stressful than rowing in an estuary might sound. On one occasion we found ourselves quite literally rowing on the spot due to a counter current of 3.5 knots. This lasted about 45 minutes before we tied ourselves to a Buoy and sat back waiting for the tide to change again in our favour.

These nights aboard Tracy have given Luke and I more than taster of what time together in the tiny cabin will be like, although we will only be cooped up together when storms permit us from rowing. Fingers crossed these will be few and far between. In the next couple of weeks we will be learning how to deploy our rough weather equipment. These consist of a parachute anchor, which is as the name suggests, a huge parachute which creates drag, the theory being that it will keep us in roughly the same spot and help us not get pushed back the wrong way. As well as this we will be carrying two drogues (mini para-anchors) which we can use when the weather is rough and fast but still rowable.

As well as learning about the boat and its equipment Luke and I have massively taken to our gym and eating programmes.

We have gained over 15 kilograms between the two of us. Of which 10 have gone to one person (not who you’d guess!).

This area of training could well be described as disgusting a gluttonous, as we are having to treat eating like our work outs – just one more mouthful! Yes all very meat-heady but completely obligatory.

At present we are camped down in “Boot Camp” in Lincolnshire where we have no distractions. Planning. eating, gyming and sleeping are how we are spending our days and although this gets tiresome, we must keep on reminding ourselves of the magnitude of the challenge we are facing.

Thank you all so much for your constant and relentless support. We appreciate it tremendously and are looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Jamie and Luke

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