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The Dangers

The Atlantic Ocean is 41,100,000 sq mil and can be a treacherous place. It is hard to imagine putting yourself up against such a force of nature. Moving from unpredictable monstrous waves to motionless still waters that bring almost unbearable heat, the guys will experience the full effect of the ocean. Whilst rowing 2 hours on - 2 hours off for up to 90 days, they will experience all sort of situations and scenarios along the way. The boys have a monumental challenge ahead of them.  It will not only be the physical and mental battle that they will have to contend with but a list of potentially catastrophic events such as shark attacks, equipment failure and collision with large ships.    

Sharks & Whales
Confusion on the shark's behalf, mistaking an ocean rowing boat for a meal is not unheard of. As a result, damage to the boat can disable it and therefore end the race for the unlucky competitors. Holes in the hull and damage to the rudder are common effects of such attacks.


Whales have on occasion  been known to confuse a boat with a mate. The end result being, whale 1 - boat 0.

Rogue Waves

Rogue or freak waves have in the past been regarded as something of a myth. However in 1995 a rogue wave hitting an oil rig in the North Atlantic was successfully measured at over 80ft (25m). If the guys are unfortunate enough to meet such a phenomenon it could be catastrophic.  


Imagine being in a washing machine...  Not exactly ideal!  Now put yourself in the middle of a raging Atlantic storm, at night, with your 24ft boat upside down beside you and your mate in the cabin; even less ideal.  This is a common occurance that can lead to the retirement of teams.


Not only is it incredibly painful as well as terrifying for the competitors but it can potentially wreck the boat as water can corrupt the electrics on board; destroying the water maker, communication systems and navigational equipment.  This can happen more than once during a crossing.  Some competitors have been thrown overboard and lost their vital equipment over the side.  It goes without saying that it is vital for the guys to be permanently attached to the boat at all times. There are NO excuses!


Risk of Collision

Unfortunatley the risk of collision is a real threat. Shane and Theo have both witnessed ships that practise bad watchkeeping and ignore the basic concept of safe navigation at sea.


Rule 5 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, states that 'Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means' i.e. looking out of the widow, having the VHF radio on with adequate volume and using the radars to their full potential. Sadly these fundamental methods of collision avoidance don't always happen. 


To greatly reduce the risk of collision the boys will do their utmost to gain the attention of the approaching ship's nautical command centre, or bridge. They will have a collection of equipment for such a scenario, such as white hand-held flares and a laser pen but first and foremost they will attempt to communicate with the ship with either their fixed or hand held VHF radio. The boat will also be fitted with a radar reflector which will maximise the size of the rowing boat on the radar display screen of the large ships.




Equipment Failure

The water maker, comms, steering gear, solar panels, batteries, rowing positions and so on. There is a lot of gear to potentially fail on the team. Although if they had to be stripped down to the bare essentials (food, water and a compass) they could still carry on. There is spare water on board that is used for ballast but the race rules state that if the competitors drink any of the ballast water they will be penalised. If equipment does fail along the way, the direct effect on the team is a delay to the finish line as it will take time to repair and carry on.  

Shane and Theo's plan is to get used to testing the equipment while rowing great distances, there will be no better training for the real thing.

The Effect on the Body 

Sun Burn

Rowing an ocean leaves a competitor very exposed to the elements. For 12 hours a day each of the guys will be embracing mother nature and finding out what she can throw at them.  Regular monitoring of their skin and application of sun cream is very important as, considering they will be in a degree of pain throughout the race, sunburn on top of that will not improve morale on board.

Blisters and Chafing

Blisters and chafing are both inevitable!!!  As a result of sweat, salt and repetitive movement, blisters and sores will come.  A method of reducing chaffing is to row in the nude! 



2 hrs on - 2 hrs off for 2 months or more. This is not a sprint and the guys know it. Their diet will consist of about 8000 calories per day and is incredibly important for the success of their race. It is a fact that the body will keep going if the mind is telling it to. The two guys are very good friends and trust each other to fight together until the end. There will be good days and bad along the way; the guys will have to take each day as it comes and, as Winston Churchill said, "When you are going through hell, keep going.

Weight Loss

As a rule of thumb someone that rows the Atlantic looses 20% of their body weight during the expedition. An important part of the training will be to put on a large amount of weight in preparation for the experience.

Medical Emergency 

Any medical situation, that we consider to be serious, will be considerably magnified on board during the race. The guys will have 24/7 medical assisants through their sponsor NGS and the race organisers. 


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