Changing Course

I’ve had a bit of a delay in updates recently. And, it’s not because I haven’t been able to get around to writing. It’s because I’ve had a few things brewing behind the scenes. And now I’m changing things up a bit.

My dream is to row across the Atlantic Ocean solo, yes, that’s a fact. But, since the beginning of embarking on this obsession I’ve always been open to getting out on the ocean in whatever way might work. I’ve explored two different options to create a pairs team and neither seemingly appropriate options were quite right. I tried out a team of women going across the Atlantic, also not meant to be. And now a new opportunity has emerged: rowing in an all-female team of 4 in the Great Pacific Race in June 2016. It’s confirmed and we’re all good to go. We will be rowing to beat the time of the current record for all-female fours, which is 50 days 8 hours 14 minutes. Upon succeeding I could become the first Canadian ever to row the Pacific Ocean. That’s pretty cool. On the Atlantic I’d be the “first Canadian woman to go solo east-to-west”, but this one could be “first Canadian to row Pacific”. Period. But, I may not be the only Canadian in the race so it could get interesting. It is a race after all so perhaps there will be various competitions to report on in that regard.

I’m really excited about this trip. The women on my team are awesome. So athletic, really cool, and super gung-ho to get out there and kick some ass. The rowing challenge is essentially the same. There are a few give-and-take elements with the new challenge. The Pacific is possibly more challenging, depending on the weather, but the route is about 1000 km shorter. Being with other people, rather than solo could be seen as both a challenge and a relief. Depending on how each of us deal with the situation it could be great or it could be terrible (I believe it’ll be great). And the benefit is that you have someone to chat with while you’re rowing, someone to watch your back, and someone to save your life if it ever came down to that. Another benefit of being in a team is that the trip will be faster, likely. I suspect we’ll arrive at our destination between 40 and 50 days. Whereas, going solo, I could be out there for as many as 90 days and I was thinking maybe 70 or 75 days. The challenge of going as a team is the cramped quarters. The solo boat isn’t really that much smaller than a 4-man boat. The other major aspect that’s different is the rowing and sleeping schedule. As a solo I make my schedule up as I go and I would likely spend 12 hours on the oars, plus breaks, then shelter in the cabin for 8 hours. With the team we’ll be rowing 2 hours on- 2 hours off, 24 hours a day for all 50 days. At first glance that sounds like an incredible challenge, but I can see myself adapting to that fairly quickly. It’s nice to know that I’ll never be sitting at the oars for longer than 2 hours at a time. Going solo, I might pressure myself into doing super long shifts and burn myself out unnecessarily.

All in all, it’s going to be great! It’s going to be a fantastic experience. I’m going to learn a lot that I can apply in the future when I go solo. I’m going to give it my all, and drink up every moment of this incredible experience.

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