Q: How big is the boat?
A: It’s approximately 24 ft x 6ft
Q: Where do you sleep?
A: There is a cabin at either end which sleeps one. So with two on the oars there is plenty of space. Sort of.
Q: What will be your routine?
A: We’ll probably start by rowing 2 hour shifts in the day and 3 hours at night, but we might change it as the days go by. At the end of the row, you stretch, clean yourself with wet wipes, eat, update the blog, check your course and carry out any essential maintenance. Oh yes, and get some sleep if you can.
Q: Ah yes, the sleep. How much do you actually get?
A: If you’re lucky, you might get 90 minutes between shifts (or ‘not enough’ as it’s also known). Hallucinations are pretty much guaranteed!
Q: What do you eat?
A: We’ll need to consume around 6000 calories each day to manage all that rowing. Most of that will come from freeze dried meals, which are every bit as delicious as they sound. We’ll make up the short fall with chocolate, snack bars, nuts and so on.
Even allowing for all those calories, we’ll still lose around 2 stone each on the crossing.
Q: Where does the water come from?
A: We have one electric desalinator and a few hand held water makers. The gentle wheeze of the desalinator doing its thing is one of the rower’s favourite sounds. If it breaks, making fresh water by hand is extremely time consuming and very hard work. In an emergency, we can drink some of the fresh water ballast, although by day 40 it may be a little less fresh.
Q: And the power?
A: Energy from solar panels is stored in batteries. The most important things to keep powered are the navigation and safety electronics, along with the water maker. Least important are our Ipods, so we may have to relearn the art of conversation.
Q: How do you steer?
A: There is a complex of GPS satellites. We’re not sure how they work, but we’re very glad they do. We’ll also have auto helm to guide us, along with traditional foot steering. Provided the sun rises in front of the rowing positions, and goes down behind them, we’ll be roughly on the right track.
Q: How do you communicate?
A: We’ll have laptops so we can send emails and write blogs. We’ll also have Satphones so, like ET, we can phone home. VHF radios will be used to hail any ships in the vicinity and in an emergency a beacon will alert the Falmouth coastguard we need rescuing.
Q: What do you when it’s stormy?
A: At some point it’ll get too rough to row. That’s when you put out a para anchor (a parachute which keeps the boat steady and head on in to the waves) and go and sit in the cabins. With two in, these become a little cosy.
Q: Will you be naked when you row?
A: Quite possibly. The fewer clothes you wear, the less possibility there is of chafage. And you dry faster. Equally, you need to protect yourself from the sun, so a big hat and a high SPF is a must.