New Team member Charlie Smith!
There has been an intense last few weeks in the Rowing from Home to Home camp, and some big progress has been made. See the updates in brief below:
Firstly I would like to make a huge welcome to Charlie Smith who is joining the team as the second rower and crew mate for the journey from Singapore to Australia. Charlie hails from Essex UK, and if you know much about Essex you may leap to the conclusion that Charlie is a skinny, pasty faced, tracksuit wearing fella with a gold chain around his neck who speaks loudly on his mobile phone and loves football. Charlie has none of these traits and instead is a strapping, handsome, intelligent, 25 year old investment banker who is currently based in Singapore. An adventurous chap, Charlie loves mountains and spent his time climbing when he was based in the UK. Since moving to Singapore, Charlie has turned his attention to the sea and has his own long terms plans to take part in the Atlantic Talisker Challenge Rowing Race in a few years time. Charlie has bought a huge amount of positive energy to the team in the short time he has been on board. He is strong as an oxe with a down to earth attitude, good sense of humor and has shown his immediate intention to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into the hard grind of preparation for an expedition of this magnitude. I am looking forward to getting to know him very much better as we spend countless enforced hours together over the next year.
Another new team member is Wendy Riddell, a lovely Scottish lady with a beautiful accent who is a professional personal trainer and nutritionist based in Singapore. Wendy is assisting us putting together out nutritional plan which is not an easy task. Somehow we need to bring 60 days of food on board for two people, which will will supply 8000 calories of the required carbohydrates, protein, fat and essential minerals to keep us going on a grueling 2 hours on/2 hours off shift, 24 hours per day. The food has to weigh maximum 1.5kg per person per day and as we have no refrigeration on board, needs to be able to last in 30 – 40 degree heat for weeks on end without spoiling!
Expedition name change – Some of you may have noticed a slight change on the expedition logo. The original name of ‘Rowing Home’ has been changed to ‘Rowing from Home to Home’. This is due to the fact that Singapore is my current home having lived here for 18 years of my life. So I really do feel as if I have two homes, one in Taranaki, New Zealand, my original home, and one where I live now, Singapore, hence the change in name made the expedition seem more fitting. Thanks Cory Bellringer for designing the logo.
The boat – more exciting news here and she is currently tucked away nicely inside a shipping container on a much larger boat on her way to Singapore. She will arrive in Singapore next Friday 11 March and be delivered to her new home for the next 9 months, the beautiful Raffles Marine based here in Singapore. She is officially registered as a New Zealand vessel, complete with her own name, registration number, MMSI number and VHF radio call sign. (Her name to be be revealed in the upcoming weeks). I have to say a huge thank you to Charlie, Mike, Lottie and the team from Rannoch Adventures who have done a wonderful, 6 month effort to build this beautiful craft. She has some interesting modifications which I have added in to combat the conditions we expect to face along the way.
Training and preparation – physical preparation is ongoing with 5 times per week gym and erg (rowing machine) sessions. Registrations and paperwork for the vessel have been completed which was a time consuming exercise, navigating the safest and most cost effective options in terms of what country to register the vessel in. I have undertaken and passed my marine VHF radio operators exam so am now legally allowed to operate a marine VHF radio at sea. I am currently partway through my PPCDL – powered pleasure craft drivers license, which is a requirement to operate a boat in Singapore (even though our boat is only ‘human powered’). This is an intense course with two exams (practical and theory) but a great foundation to learn about navigating around the busiest port in the world which is not for the ignorant, the untrained or the faint of heart.
Over the next two months we will fit out the boats electronics including the water maker, VHF radio, autopilot, GPS chart plotters, radar reflectors and AIS transponder. Both Charlie and I are also taking the following technical courses : Sea survival, First aid at sea, Coastal Navigation Theory, Offshore Navigation Theory. And of course we will be spending countless hours on board the boat, training, learning, adapting and getting used to every single inch of her so that once we depart we can handle everything that is thrown in our direction.
Have a wonderful weekend ahead!
Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson