FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My NY2SY challenge has generated many questions and I have listed some of the most frequently asked ones below.
WHAT WILL YOU BE EATING?
My diet will consist mainly of freeze dried meals, the sort commonly used by people undertaking long term expeditions. They are light, easy to store and simple to prepare...I just need to boil some water. I will supplement my food with treats such as chocolate, dried fruit and nuts and homemade flapjacks! I will need to consume around 6000 calories per day so I will need to get as much fuel into my body as possible.
IS THERE A DANGER OF CAPSIZING?
Yes, and I fully expect to capsize at least once during the crossing. My boat, as are most ocean rowing boats, is designed to be self-righting and this is why having enough ballast is crucial. The ballast in the bottom of the boat acts as a counterweight in the event of capsize, causing the boat to return to the upright position. A capsize will undoubtedly be an uncomfortable, and frightening experience, but if I accept that it is more than likely to happen, and am prepared for it, then hopefully I will be able to cope better. As part of my preparations, I will also undergo sea survival training so that I will know what to do should I find myself in an emergency situation.
HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU ARE NOT ROWING?
I will be rowing in a shift pattern (e.g. 2 hrs rowing 1 hr off) and when I am not rowing I will either be eating, sleeping or doing general maintenance on the boat. I feel that it is very important that I establish, and adhere to, a regime to get me through each day. Other tasks will include writing a daily blog which I will post on this website to keep everyone updated on my progress. I will also be able to watch films and read books on my laptop as well as listen to music on the boat's rather impressive soundsystem!
WHERE WILL YOU GET YOUR DRINKING WATER FROM?
“Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” Thankfully, due to modern technology, this will not be the case for me! Onboard I will have a watermaker which will supply me with all my freshwater. It forces seawater through membranes at high pressure to produce drinkable water and should it stop working for any reason then I will also have a hand-powered watermaker onboard too. As a last resort, I will be able to use the dozens of litres of freshwater which I will be carrying as ballast.
HOW MUCH TRAINING DO YOU HAVE TO DO?
A lot! My training consists of cardio-vascular exercises and targeting specific muscle groups with weights. I am working on my stamina by going running, cycling and swimming on a regular basis and I have a workout regime which focuses on the core area of my body (abdomen, back) as this will help me develop a strong foundation for the rest of my body to move around. I am also building up the muscles in my legs, shoulders and arms. But it’s not all about physical exercise for as the departure date draws nearer I will need to start bulking up and storing fat. Basically, I will be able to eat what I want, so it's not all bad! In addition, I need to make sure that I am prepared mentally and will seek advice from experts as well as talking to people who have completed ocean rows previously to see how they coped during the most difficult times.
WHAT SORT OF EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT DO YOU CARRY ONBOARD?
I will be expected to carry a certain amount of emergency equipment or else the US Coastguard will not let me leave New York...and quite right! This will include a liferaft, immersion suit, EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), flares and a Grab Bag (this will contain items that will help me survive should I have to abandon the boat). I myself will be expected to have attained certain qualifications to prove that I am ready for the challenge ahead and these include First Aid, sea survival and navigation.
WHY ARE YOU DOING IT SOLO?
I have never considered doing NY2SY with anyone else. I am fascinated by the isolation that I will face and, though there will undoubtedly be times when I wish I had some company, I will have my friend Frank the Ewok to talk to. He has travelled with me all over the world and although he doesn't say much, he is a good listener!
HOW WILL YOU GO TO THE TOILET?
This is the question I get asked the most...people seem fascinated by it! My toilet facilities will be less en-suite and more al fresco! I certainly will not have to worry about locking the door or putting the seat up or down, it's simply a case of 'bucket and chuck it'.....well, you did ask!
WILL YOU HAVE A SUPPORT BOAT?
This is one of the questions I get asked most often and the answer is, no. It will take over 3 months to complete the crossing and would costs tens of thousands of pounds to have a boat accompany me....and they would probably get very bored, very quickly! I will carry everything that I need for my crossing onboard the boat and will not receive any help from other vessels, other than in an emergency. I will be in regular contact with my shore support team who will be able to help me with any problems that I may be having with the boat or my equipment, and especially my weather router, Stokey Woodall at who will provide me with weather forecasts and assist with my route planning.
ISN'T IT DANGEROUS?
Yes, it is dangerous. I will be rowing across a very treacherous and challenging stretch of ocean and, even with the very best equipment and preparation, it is only the Atlantic Ocean that will decide whether I succeed or not. Luck will play a large part but that is the case in our everyday lives. We reach the end of each day unaware of the near misses or good fortune we had to get through the day.....but I realise that I am putting myself in a dangerous environment and I have complete respect for the ocean. People often ask me if I am scared? Well, I'm not...I'm terrified! But I am equally excited about the prospect of rowing across an ocean alone.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE NY2SY LOGO?
That's an easy one to answer...I didn't! I wanted a striking logo for NY2SY that people would recognise straight away and which I could use on clothing, promotional materials, and also the boat. I had a few ideas myself about what the logo should be like (incorporating water, the name and the start and finish locations) and I also received a variety of logos after appealing for people to send me their own ideas. Although these designs were very creative, and had potential, none of them seemed to quite work. Finally, I gave Nigel Hindley at a brief about what I was looking for and, thankfully, he ignored it and came back with his own vision of what the logo should be like, and that's the NY2SY logo we all know now! It may surprise some of you to hear that I wasn't all that sure about it when he first showed it to me...but the second time I saw it, I realised that it was the perfect logo. It's a very clever logo as the famous Manhattan skyline is reflected in the water as the famous Callanish Stones on Lewis and I think that it's a very useful tool in spreading the word about NY2SY.
“If but a safe voyage is sought, the boat should never leave the harbour."