Heads Together and Row are back from another training weekend and feeling more confident than ever about our preparations for the race.
This weekend we were rowing off Weymouth and weather conditions deteriorated, not for the first time this year, with higher winds and sea state than forecast.
Overnight we battled hard, while learning a thing or two about the debilitating nature of seasickness! We kept a good watch on our position and progress and by the early hours of the morning, we calculated that the conditions had made it impossible to row back into Weymouth Harbour. So we switched to our second contingency plan to row with the wind along the coast to the East and in to Poole.
Unfortunately, the wind kept blowing us towards the coast and after a few more hours of tracking our path and recalculating our route, on Sunday morning we called the coastguard for advice. We admitted defeat to the elements and graciously accepted a tow back to Weymouth rather than risk continuing in worsening conditions.
A huge thanks to Her Majesty’s Coastguard (HMCG), Solent (part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency), and to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Weymouth, who were completely brilliant. While every effort goes in to avoiding it, calling the coastguard for assistance is always part of our contingency plan. We, alongside other ocean rowing crews and everyone who ventures out in UK waters, are incredibly lucky to be able to call on the vital emergency service provided by HM Coastguard and the RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea.
It was good to see many aspects of our two years of training paying off. We had a good passage plan and contingency options: our decision-making processes were strong and we had all the right kit for our journey. All in all a really positive experience which was not without learning but also highlighted our developing teamwork, resilience and adaptability. It was really good to see how much our confidence in rough seas had developed. We will be stronger and more confident competitors for it.
Did you know that the RNLI philosophy remains the same as it was in 1824: ‘to provide our lifesaving service using volunteers wherever possible, with voluntary donation supplying the funds needed to do so’? In 2017 alone 558 lives were saved, over 24,000 people were aided by RNLI lifeguards and there were 8,436 lifeboat launches. You can support them here.