There’s a new crew on board The Brightsides but they remain as committed to their goal to row across the Atlantic to help raise cash for Get A-Head and Meningitis Now as ever. Team leader Rod Adlington gives an insight into how the team has been preparing, by taking to the water at Weymouth for their first full training session.
The new crew took to the water for a shakedown row, and something more substantial, to put some miles under the boat and test ourselves as a crew. We set off from Weymouth in glorious sunshine and headed south across Lyme Bay down towards South Devon. It was a real taste of what’s to come as we forged away from Portland following the bearing of 242 degrees for Dartmouth. Twenty-five miles offshore, out of sight of land but plenty of other ships and private yachts to keep us company.
At midday a pod of dolphins appeared and stayed with us for quite a while, diving under the boat and entertaining us. We rowed on, into our first night at sea, two people rowing at a time, rowing 90 minutes on, 90 minutes off as we became used to the shift pattern.
The boat will make five knots routinely in a good spell, but put the wind or the tide against you and that can be slashed down to two or even 1.5 knots.
Rowing at night is simply the best. The sky is incredible and the peace wonderful. Our dolphins returned at 3am to make sure we were still on course!
Finally, Start Point came into view and we rowed the final two miles into the outer reaches of Salcombe for a well earned rest. Sixty-five miles in 18 hours, not bad for our first proper adventure. Plenty of blisters, and initial sea sickness, but we soon got to grips with most of these. Beeswax for the hands and motion sickness patches behind the ear for the sickness, seemed to help enormously.
We stayed for a big breakfast and then with the weather looking to change in the next 48 hours, started back up country, at 11.30am heading for Lulworth Cove. This was to be a much tougher assignment. The spring tides now in full flood, we spent one seven-hour period rowing at full pace but just standing still. This was a test for the mental strength!
Finally, after a long night in the rain, we came into the dawn into a beautiful morning, but still had to round the infamous Portland Bill. This is a treacherous stretch of water, but with some great help from coach, friend and mentor Dunc Roy we managed to set the correct course and we arrived directly into Lulworth Cove at 5pm. We’d covered 156 miles in total in 50 hours.
The team of lads are awesome, resourceful , tough and no nonsense. Pez , Guy , Ryan, all performed above and beyond , especially given their relative novice status at this eclectic sport.
We were a bit taken aback by the reception at Lulworth Cove, where we were treated like minor celebrities.
Most importantly is what we learnt on the trip. Tea is important, but food more so. We have to eat more and more regularly, if we are to survive the Ocean crossing, I truly understand now why they say that an ocean rower will consume 6-8,000 calories per day. You need every bit!
After a big night’s sleep we set off the final eight miles back to Weymouth in the most unbelievable weather, I’m sure it won’t always be like this! First training session over, our plan for next time is to head into Cornwall and further south. We will report back!
To find out more and sponsor this fantastic effort visit https://thebrightsidesrow.com/