So just a couple of days before you start the race – how are you feeling?
The last month has been a whirlwind. Just over a month ago we still thought the US borders would open to British citizens and we could fly directly in to San Francisco in mid-May. However, as we’ve learnt this year, nothing ever goes to plan. So here we are now, at the start-line after two weeks in Antigua, a few stressful runs through airports and a night in Miami!
And how’s the mood in the team?
To be honest, we’re all absolutely shattered. They say ‘the hardest part of rowing an ocean is getting to the start line’ and that feels very true at the moment – fingers crossed that is the case!
Since we arrived here in California it has been non-stop. Up early for phone calls to campaign partners and family before the UK goes to bed, then on to the boat for a full day’s work of DIY and admin along with race briefings and trips to the shops before finally stumbling into bed around 11pm.
How long has the preparations spanned and what has that looked like?
We have been planning this for over 18 months and the last 12 months have been super tough with every curveball thrown at us, mainly due to covid but we have always maintained a positive attitude and a view that together we can tackle anything. Three of us have had covid, we have not been able to train together since October last year and we have been so limited in our training due to gym closures etc.
What’s the team’s previous experience for anything like this?
I have no rowing experience prior to this. I got inspired having met someone on a flight that did ocean rowing. But I’m in good hands. Mary and Bella have both rowed the Atlantic and Mary has three world records. Lily started sailing at the age of 8, has competed in three RORC Fastnet Races and a transatlantic race but not rowed an ocean before.
How are you training physically?
We’ve all have our individual training regimes but have also had help from PT instructors including Gus Barton who specialising in training ocean rowers. I’ve also been doing hypnotherapy to train my body against sea sickness.
What’s the most daunting aspect of this task – what do you think your biggest challenges are likely to be and how can you prepare for them?
Rowing 2 hours on 2 hours off 24/7 for the entire 45 + days and dealing with seasickness, bum sores on top of sleep deprivation. Bella has learnt a lot from her Atlantic crossing in dealing with bad bum sore so is prepped better with seat cushions and medical supplies specific for this.