Coming Together

22 October 2012

Since my maiden row on 10th October, there has been a whirlwind of activity albeit behind closed doors. Tim, who has been managing the sponsorship campaign, has been constantly on the phone and emailing, we've both been to numerous meetings and I can honestly say it's been pretty depressing…most of the time. Lots of interest from potential sponsors and the typical "we'll get back to you this week" which of course is never the case. What do you do? We can only keep on calling them at the risk of becoming a public nuisance? Well, having had my little moan, I do actually understand this was always going to be the hardest part of my campaign and anyone reading this who is searching for sponsorship, mark my words. However, last week brought not one, not two, but several "real" offers of sponsorship and support which is the most fantastic news. Out came a bottle of Champagne on Friday and we are all keeping our fingers crossed. I know at least one of our sponsors will join up with us and that is a great start. Maybe then it will become easier for other potentials to join having seen some well known sponsors are backing me.

A few weeks ago I visited some of our existing sponsors and suppliers including Raymarine, Barden, Fuizion and Ocean Safety. I spent time at each understanding their products and going over the equipment I have opted to take onboard, but I must say I've always wanted to learn the process of "freeze dried food" and now I fully understand the process. The food I am taking is being made especially for me to my liking and with the chosen amount of carbs for each meal. When Tony has cooked it, he will immediately freeze it, pack it and the next time it is opened will be on the Atlantic Ocean. Yum! As for the technology behind my solar panels and lithium batteries, charge criteria etc, I am finding this harder to understand.It is more complicated than having normal deep cell batteries onboard, but at a massive weight saving (and cost increase!), it is essential.

Whilst this has all been going on, Mike Wood and myself have been tweeking the boat and making small changes. This will continue over the next few months as I test, make changes, test again until I am completely happy with everything. That is when I can think about getting down to the Canaries for final testing before I go. My strength and fitness is improving, but not massively. Another visit to Greg Whyte last week for a test confirmed I am going in the right direction, but just need to change a gear. I have gained 5kg of muscle with a small improvement on my VO2, but with all the things that have been going on over the last few months, I am actually quite pleased. The next few months are going to be much easier as my work list has reduced to just "training, eating, rowing, equipment and logistics". The sad news is that Tim is leaving me at the end of this month to travel before hopefully joining the Royal Marines next year. Over the coming days, he is handing over OPS to me and then I'll be back on my own again. I will miss his support, especially in this final build up to my departure from the UK after Christmas.

I am off down to the boat now for a row and have to launch our support RIB and get it all ready for a BBC film crew who are turning up on Wednesday to do some filming. The forecast is rubbish so let's hope they wrap up nice and warm. This will be for BBC Look East later on this week….I think!

I have been wound up like an elastic band over the past few months wondering when everything would come together, but I feel a release of tension as I know today I am rowing on the River Crouch for the first time. The weather couldn't be better and I'll be away from computers and phones and lists of things to do until I get back! Will report in later and show off some photos of the big day.