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  • Writer's pictureThe FriendShip

The FriendShip Journal - Episode 7

News from the Ocean

We are now three weeks into the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic challenge and the Friendship continue to do amazingly well! Excitingly, this week saw them pass the halfway milestone meaning at the time of writing they have rowed 1,728 NM in the 21 days since they set off. Reaching the halfway mark gave a huge boost to morale, as Antigua feels even more in sight.

The strong winds and big waves which picked up after Christmas carried on into the beginning of this week, continuing to make rowing and resting conditions difficult for the boys. The most dramatic moment being a wave catching Eppy side on, tipping her to 90 degrees and knocking Jack and Hamish out of their seats. Luckily, they did not capsize but it definitely made for an interesting night of rowing!

Since then, the weather has calmed down - to the slight disappointment of the team! The calmer weather has brought with it smoother seas and some rain. The latter proving very welcome as it is the closest thing they have had to a proper shower in quite some time.

As well as passing the halfway point, this week also brought another great milestone, New Year’s Eve. They celebrated the new year at sunset, each sharing their highlights and lowlights of 2022, deciding on their new year’s resolutions, and raising a toast of homemade sloe gin to mark the occasion. None of the resolutions seemed to include another ocean row yet, but there were murmurings of a team Iron Man at some point in the future!

Other highlights of the week included two sightings of humans, the first the boys have seen in over two weeks! The first being a US Coastguard vessel which decided to pay them a visit, ‘just popping by to say hello’, and the second was a 120m long container ship passing them at 1am. Eppy’s alarm went off to alert the team that the ship was in their vicinity and they radioed the Captain to make sure he had seen them. He quickly replied to say that he would now change his course and wished them a great onward journey.

After another exciting week onboard, spirits are still high, and this is helped hugely by your continued support. The team want to say a huge thank you again for all of the donations, which have now reached an amazing £78,890! Please continue to donate via the link below.

Wishing you all a very happy 2023.

Answers to your questions:

I know this is a ROWING challenge. Is there some motorised back up though? or alternatively a motorized safety boat that will be making the rounds among the different teams? How much connectivity (esp' to internet) might you have? There are no motorised components onboard – just the oars!

There is a support yacht, provided by Talisker Whiskey Atlantic, moving between the boats however the teams would only take support from them in an emergency.

If an emergency were to occur, the closest boat in the Atlantic would come to the team’s aid – whether that be the support yacht, container ship or a cruise liner!

Finally, they have a sat phone to make calls with and bgan on which they can send and receive emails, and send limited photos and videos.

How do solo rowers manage with no-one to alternate with to sleep etc?

If the conditions are pushing them in the right direction, they can take a rest from the oars knowing they will drift forwards and on course. However, when the conditions are not in their favour, they will put out a para-anchor to stop them drifting backwards while resting.

How long will your rowing shifts be? Will you be rowing round the clock? How much sleep will you be getting?

The team are rowing in a pattern of 2 hours on the oars, 2 hours off, meaning they are each rowing for 12 out of 24 hours. They try and sleep for around 1 of the hours on each of their rest shifts and reckon they are sleeping overall for about 5 hours per day.

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