'You can never cross an ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore'...
In June 2018, I'll find that courage and wave goodbye to friends and family on the shore of Monterey, California and head 2,400 miles across the Pacific to Hawaii. Myself and the other three ladies in the 2400 miles crew will row in pairs two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day. The world record currently stands at 50 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes. Our plan is to change that.
So how did I end up here? I'm not really sure. I've always loved the ocean, I love being on water and feel at home on a boat. Two years ago I followed the Coxless Crew row for nine months across the Pacific, setting world records as they attempted something never done before. It was incredible and inspiring. Ever since I've been unable to get the idea of rowing an ocean out of my head. I didn't even row but that didn't worry me. Fast forward a few months, and once again I found myself in a situation where I had told just a few too many people that I was going to row an ocean and it was time to make it a possibility. The Atlantic had always been on my radar and was what I thought I would row, but an advert appeared for a place on a crew to row the Pacific in the Great Pacific Race and suddenly everything fell into place. Before I knew it my race deposit had been paid and I was 9 months away from the start line.
So what exactly does it entail? Seven days a week of intense training for the next seven months, on the water, on the erg, in the gym, on the track, alongside an abundance of cross training. I've learnt to row and the hours on the water go so quickly I love it that much. My body needs to be the fittest and strongest its ever been, robust enough to work through 12 hours on the oars a day and reduce my risk of injury. Those who have rowed an ocean say its 70% mental and 30% physical. Extreme tiredness, isolation, pressure and environment will test us to our limits, so staying strong and mentally in the game is crucial.
During the row we will make all our own water with the onboard water maker, eat freeze dried expedition food, fix anything that breaks and have no assistance from anyone else. The boat is 26ft, with a small cabin to sleep in and protect us from the elements should we hit a storm. We have a great support team around us, helping us with training, nutrition and a team who will provide us with onshore support as we cross, updating us on weather, winds, and the best route to take.
As with any adventure it has its hiccups. Already we have had a crew change, losing two crew members but gaining two new ones. That was probably the best thing that has happened, the new re-branded 2400 Miles crew is incredible and I 100% trust each of them on the boat and to get us to Hawaii in a record breaking time. They are all good flat water rowers, but each bring something to the boat that makes the crew a great one. I'm excited to row with these women and excited to do something extraordinary. For me the more crews in the Great Pacific Race, particularly female, the better. I don't want to go out and win a race because we were the only female crew. I want to go out and win a race because we were the best crew out there.
50 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes is ingrained in my brain and is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to sleep. For the next seven months, rowing the Pacific is my priority and pretty much all I will think about. Get ready for the ride...