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Last Minute

Atlantic Rowing Race: Blog 7

Our first outing

On Wednesday we had our first outing in Explore, we'd been looking forward to it for weeks, we really wanted to see how she rowed.  We were happy with the way we'd stowed everything and how she sat in the water, she wasn't listing to one side and was slightly lighter at the bow which is what we wanted - so no unpacking and packing of food which was great news!  Our only experience of ocean rowing to date has been in a plywood four, so we were very interested to see how much faster Explore is as she's carbon fibre, and we're happy to report she's quick - Malcolm, one of our shore crew, had to run down the pontoon to keep up with us, and that was when we were rowing light in the marina!  It was with the wind behind us though which made us very aware of how much influence the wind is going to have on our crossing.

Explore on the water

As it was quite windy and choppy we only went for a short row outside the harbour to check our blades were set up right, and they weren't, on one set the blade handles crossed over (which isn't what you want as you would then permanently bash your thumbs) and one were so far apart it was actually quite funny.  But it was great to be out there getting to know our boat and trying to imagine life onboard for 70 days.

We've spent most of today so far fiddling about adjusting our blades, it's amazing how much time rowers can spend adjusting various things on their boats!  But it's really important we get this right to ensure that we can deliver maximum power with each stroke - we think we've got it sussed and will try a longer outing tomorrow to put everything to the test. We're off to a meeting in a minute to run through the crisis procedure, it certainly brings home the challenge we're taking on when you start discussing man over boards and emergency drills!  There is also another issue which needs to be discussed, there has been a problem with the importing of the flares for all the race entrants and it looks like that could delay race start until next Wednesday, we will keep you posted on the outcome.  Much as the delay is really inconvenient and we just want to be off, it does give us a few more days to get Explore totally shipshape, which is no bad thing. Mel

If you would like to find out the full story behind Annie & Mel’s epic rowing adventure across the Atlantic, and why we are involved with them, you can find out more at You will also find details about how you can get involved and help them achieve thair other goal of raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.