4 day's to race day - La Gomera
We awoke to a breeze through the window but it became quickly apparent that this breeze was actually a very persistent and strong on shore wind, and not conditions one wants to row an ocean rowing boat in (while we have the choice), and all rowers were told they weren’t able to get on water which was a disappointment for all.
James had made an early start and taken charge of the inner workings of the technology and the very essential need of knowing which direction we should be rowing in and got everyone moving. There was also general concern that we had to rationalise items in the boat as we simply had too much and the very real lack of space became apparent in our first row. We needed to programme Way Points into the GPS and learn how to use the water maker which will of course be essential. So we set about emptying the front (and smaller of the two) cabins and working through what we really did and didnt need.
Mid afternoon saw an interview in front of the camera with the event documentary guys. We were asked numerous questions, one of which was "one word to sum up this challenge". Bobby replied; astronomic, Fergus; adventure, James; brutal, and Henry: big – all much to our and their amusement. We were asked what our objective is and we are all very clear that we are in it to win it but firstly we want to get out of the harbour without capsizing or going into the rocks as the first achievement! Then we need get through the first week – although we are told the hardest bit is the first two weeks in totality. From then on in, we are out of the ‘mix’ adjusted and will go for it.
In the meant time all the PLBs (personal locator beacons) were registered to the maritime race safety officer hub, of which we have five in the boat. Our boat registration number issued and sent to the printers for production to be placed on the back of the boat and our remaining kit branded.
We had the crisis planning meeting after this hosted by the two scrutineers where only competitors are allowed as it was a straight talking, frank and at times a harsh reminder of just what this challenge could entail. During this meeting we went through all scenarios and we took our satellite phone to this to programme in key contacts and we should contact in the event of an emergency. We feel extremely confident in the structure set up by the race organisers Atlantic Campaigns, and those individuals in place there to co-ordinate a rescue if necessary.
Henry and I (Fergus) headed to the DIY store for a few items for the tool kit after wearing out quicker than expected when using tools around the boat and we all returned to the boat to squeeze in the last bit of work before darkness fell. We then set up the music on the wireless speaker (which we will be using for music/audio books etc on the row), and had a bonding session with the boat and chatted about what life will be like once on the water.
We wondered back towards the normal hang out, the Blue Marlin for a decent chat with the other teams, and now our good friends and hatched plans for the following day. Today Bobby and Henry have some media interviews and then we are booked into the Talisker Whisky photo shoot for 4.45pm.
So we were sad not to get on the water today, but the up side we got some more good prep and progress with readying Tiny, and ourselves, for our voyage.