I still struggle to believe this but its less than 225 days to the start of the race. For nearly 10 years rowing across an ocean was simply a dream: Id lay in bed thinking what it would be like to be in the cabin of a boat, alone, with nothing around you. No houses, no roads, no traffic, just water. Id speculate on how Id react in various situations, broken equipment, injury, pizza cravings! But it was all in my head and those thoughts were swiftly overwhelmed by thoughts of exams, work, and life in general.

Then in 2013 I visited La Gomera for the start of the 2013 Talisker Atlantic Race I remember arriving with the ferry, seeing all the boats lined up in the marina, talking to the rowersit was truly great. When I left La Gomera, I promised myself that Id be back on the Island and the next time Id be there as a rower.

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Fast-forward 18 months and this dream is coming true. I have a boat, the website is up and running, the search for sponsors is underway and Im working to raise funds for the two fantastic charities. This is all incredibly exciting although sometimes it is also somewhat overwhelming. There are literally thousands of things to think about and prepare lots of new things to learn and on top of that there is the mental and physical preparation. Id been warned by many of the previous competitors: getting to the start will be a major challenge some went as far as saying that the true challenge was getting to the start of the race there is certainly some truth in this!

I thought Id use my first blog to give a general update on the progress of the campaign and then post regular blogs on various aspects of the campaign.

I’d say that there are 3 main aspects to preparing an ocean crossing: training, promotion, and seamanship.These are very large categories. Training includes anything from physical and mental preparation to nutrition. People always ask me about training. Without fail, this is the first question that you are asked. The truth is that although training is important and it’s tough, it’s only a small part of the preparation for an ocean crossing. I’ll go into more detail of how the training is progressing in a future blog.

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Promotion – Here we have fundraising for the charities, finding sponsors, running a social media campaign, trying to raise awareness of the crossing, engaging the media, etc. It’s a very large category and probably the one that takes up the majority of time for a budding ocean rower. Crossing a ocean is s very expensive undertaking and if you are not lucky enough to have very rich contacts or to be working for a supportive company then finding sponsors becomes essential. This is hard, very hard, the race is a truly unique opportunity for companies to promote their brand but communicating this effectively to the right person within an organization is a major challenge.

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Seamanship – This is the more technical aspect of the event: preparing the boat, learning navigation techniques, life on board, etc. This is another very challenging aspect of the preparation and where I’ve got the most to learn. A very steep learning curve but the boat is on the water now, and last week I was in Devon for a for the RYA Ocean Yacht Master Course. I feel that although sometimes a bit of a struggle, things are progressing well.

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Overall preparing to row solo across an ocean is a major challenge and preparing for it is incredibly demanding but step by step I feel Im getting closer to my dream and come December Ill be ready for the crossing!