Looking on the Brightsides – Windemere report

The Brightsides rowing team – who are preparing to row across the Atlantic at the start of 2024 to raise money for Get A-Head and Meningitis Now – have been hard at work on Lake Windermere preparing for their big adventure. Here, Rod Adlington tells us a little about what the latest training session was like.

The weekend of August 5th and 6th 2023 saw the Brightsides Atlantic rowing crew heading to Lake Windemere for another training weekend. The plan had been to row to the Isle of Man from the mainland, but Storm Antoni put paid to that!

The crew were very impressed with the huge stretch of water as a training ground, and the lack of tides to focus on performance training and were soon putting all of the rowing technique training into practice.

Low hands, steady 21 stroke rate, straight back, head up and steady speed. The boat will speed along at five knots with the wind behind but only 3.5 into the wind.

For the lower speeds we spent time working on a shorter stroke and maybe rate at 23 not 21. The crew rowed from 11am till 10pm, in two-hour-on, two-hour-off shifts, eating and trying the dried expedition food on their rest period. This form of nutrition is proving to be challenging and will take some getting used to!

On Sunday, the team practiced and recorded on video the training of specific tasks. Man overboard, throwing the grab line and retrieving the man in the water.

As part of the race entry, we have to have proof that we are proficient in these different and essential tasks. This was followed on by the deployment of the para-anchor.

Much hilarity followed as we became slightly tangled in the huge canvas umbrella that is put out of the front of the boat to try to stop a reverse drift in very heavy weather, where everyone has to stop rowing completely.

It was completed and retrieved well in the end, with the team realising that the next time they use it the conditions could be very, very different! The four lads finished off with a 10-mile row – the length of the lake  – before heading back to the slipway .

There was a lot of interest in the boat and the expedition, and the team were entertaining interested passers-by for almost two hours as our boat Mrs Nelson was carefully packed away, before heading south back to the Midlands.

We will be back, a very friendly welcome and a great place to put all this theory into practice.

You can find out more about The Brightsides and make a donation here: https://thebrightsidesrow.com/