Well, we said goodbye to our darling boat Maple Leaf (aka Tracey) almost 2 weeks ago now which means she will be on a container ship heading south to the Canaries where we will greet her in just 3 and a half weeks time! Putting all the last bits of equipment into her hatches and stowaways really made me appreciate how little space there is on a 24ft rowing boat when you we have to take everything we’ll need to survive for 90 days on the ocean completely unsupported.
When we arrive in Gomera, one of the jobs which Luke and I will have to do is attach on the stickers of the newest recruits to the fleet – our most recent sponsors – Sealords: – Sidley Austin and Buzzacott, and Admirals: Aquila, Advent, Arnold House School and Rees Pollock. Our costs are nearly completely covered now and we are both delighted to be involved with these companies.
Although we have packed the boat fully she will need to be unpacked entirely and repacked at least 2 more times in order for the race officers and ourselves to ensure that we have the entirety of the mandatory kit list. This will also give us an opportunity to streamline her. By this I mean we will do our best to discard absolutely every unnecessary gram of weight in order to make her as light as possible and increase our speed through the water.
Yesterday, our paper charts arrived in the post. We have to carry these in order to please protocol although in reality we hope not have to use these on the boat. They all show a great amount of detail including the depths across the ocean. The deepest sea trench I spotted was 6600 metres deep. Now that is a long way down!
It has got to the stage where I now dream about the crossing every minute of every night. Time could not pass too quickly at this stage as to say we are absolutely raring to go would be an understatement.
Luke is working hard up at Edinburgh to get well ahead of his university studies before taking the 3 months out that he will require. Unlike Bristol, Edinburgh have allowed Luke to continue with his course as normal, so he’s trying to get ahead before he leaves so that the catching up afterwards will be less painful. Juggling his training whilst continuing to maintain that studying mind set must surely be a tricky challenge but he seems to be handling it well.
We had a brilliant day at our old school, Arnold House, a couple of weeks ago. It was their football festival and we had a fantastic time showing the boat and chatting to staff, parents and boys about the row. The great thing is that Arnold House has adopted us/Breast Cancer Care as their charity for the term and they have already raised nearly £3000 which is fantastic.
Jobs between now and 16th of November include various talks and fundraisers for sponsors, some PR work, our highly anticipated launch party, physical (and psychological) training, accumulating our iPod libraries with music and audiobooks and ordering the last bits to an immense kit list, including sheep’s wool for our bottoms and hair ties, lots and lots of them!
‘The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible – and achieve it, generation after generation’ – Pearl. S. Buck