Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge BP.5

We start where BP4 finished. The start of May 2022. We’d just taken part in the Macmillan Rowathon. We’d just been given a new training plan by Andy to keep us focussed in the Gym. We done a handful of rows up to 4 hours in Lilly Mae in a variety of conditions. The 6th May saw us head out for a gentle row in idylic conditions. We rowed south east of Jersey quite leisurely despite these being the roughest, most confused conditions we’d been in and our shins taking a bit of a battering. After about an hour we stopped, chilled our a bit, had an alcohol free beer and decided to row back only for the wind to pick up and the change in tidal direction to give us none of the assistance we were hoping for. A tough 2 hours + to get back to the safety of the harbour and a few more lessons learnt. All good experiences. Anyway, enough rambling, back to the normal format………
Pete dealing with the Para Anchor. In theory this is a large parachute that will be put in the water and attached to the boat at a distance of about 50 metres. It should prevent the boat from being blown backwards but it does take some practice and is a bit of a mission to deploy and retrieve
The Boat We’re starting to put a few things in place, last of the equipment ordered. A hurdle with our two new pairs of oars in that the chap making them in Devon didn’t mention that he couldn’t arrange shipping or delivery so hopefully one of our lovely sponsors Griggs & Mackay will be able to bring them over on his yacht.
Steve modelling his new Gill foul weather gear. Great bits of kit
We finally received confirmation that the boat would need a full rewire so we reached out to Chris Goguelin of Ocean Works to do the work along with replacing the three gel batteries. This work was scheduled for the hottest week of the year in the middle of July. The first challenge would be taking delivery of our brand new Trailer and figuring out how to set it up for our boat. Then we have to find a car with a tow bar, get her out, and get her stripped of all contents to give Chris some space to work with. Once done we’ll replace a couple of the main solar panels, replace a couple of hatches, refit and connect the water maker and then have the survey. Once this is done and fingers crossed we’re given the all-clear to row, we’ll set about learning to antifoul a boat and get her fully loaded with all the kit we’d take across the Atlantic and get her launched again ready for a couple of months of solid rowing through August and September.

A few images below of the works done recently – rewired, antifouled, new solar panels

The training Due to work and family commitments, we didn’t manage to get a lot of training in but did manage two overnight rows. We’re keen to experience as much overnight rowing as possible as that will make up half of our challenge and it doesn’t have such an impact on our work and family lives.
Check out the Lats on this guy, he’s like a Silverback. Rowing away from Jersey
The first overnight row was an experience – 11 hours ish of pretty open water rowing, nowhere near land with fairly big rolling swells, a few bouts of heavy rain, a nice sunset, an even nicer sunrise and an absolute battle to get back to Jersey against some strong crosswinds. This was our first experience of sleeping on the boat which will take some getting used to and we also managed to cook up a couple of meals. There was a small bout of sea nausea (not sickness) so good to find out now and put preventative measures in place for the next rows. Our second overnight row didn’t go quite so well as the wind had picked up to 25knots. We decided to call it a day after making about 3 miles in as many hours so we rowed into a local bay, dropped anchor and set about having a snooze, two up in the cabin. It wasn’t so bad. Macaroni cheese for breakfast, a bit of Pilates on the boat to straighten us out and then a couple of hours rowing back to the harbour. It wasn’t what we’d planned but still useful and some valuable lessons learnt.
Two’s up in the cabin. Pretty cosy.
The morning after the night before
Behind the scenes We were invited to talk at several events this month, two by Rossborough Insurance and one by the local 41 club. The first was a talk to about 20 corporate clients of Rossborough insurance. This was Q&A style and focussed on mental health and resilience as it coincided with Mental health awareness week. We both think it went very well and the style was great. The listeners seemed to enjoy it aswell. Thanks for having us. The second was shorter but we were invited to sell our sponsorship packages at a local Rugby club dinner, again hosted by Rossborough. This was fabulous as we spent the evening sandwiched between Nathan Hines, ex Scottish and British Lions international and John from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. A great night was head by all……we think! Next up was the Barclays Jersey Boat show back for the first time in three years. This was a great weekend of socialising and getting lots of sun. Non-stop talking about our challenge, getting willing bystanders onto the boat and taking part in several live radio interviews. The aim was to boost awareness locally and hopefully it worked.
Steve’s eldest two kids – Isla and Evan helping out at the Jersey Boat Show
The 41 club dinner at a local pub involved talking to about 15 chaps about our row. A great night, loads of questions and a few bevvies. Lovely company. We managed to get out when Steve was under the weather for some drone videography with Channel Island TV.  The rowing was a bit of a struggle so as a rest we decided to do a bit of fishing.  Three fish in the first 10 minutes – bodes well and is reassuring if we get bored of freeze-dried meals. Sponsors We were delighted to welcome on board our newest Bronze sponsor in Investec. We’d been chatting with our friend Andy Smith for over a year and eventually managed to grind him down. We had a nice meeting with Hydropool, one of our Gold Sponsors and even managed a little dip in one of their hot tubs. Nice to know that they’re trying to come out to Antigua for our finish. Other Partners Starting to put the wheels in motion with regards to Nutrition and have placed a large order for the bulk of our freeze dried meals from Expedition foods.
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