1 Year ago – Nabs and Britannia III make land in Barbados

Thursday 15th March 2012

Nabs El-Busaidy and the crew of Britannia III arrived in Barbados on 15th March 2011 at 02:36 GMT. Their final journey time was 42 days, 17 hours, 54 minutes.

Back row L-R (Guy Griffiths, Jon Paine. Miek Palmer, Shaun Pedley, Roger Gould, Simon Chalk. Ben Gothard, Colin Gray) Front row L-R (Beth O’Kain, Anna Lewis, Nabs El-Busaidy, Suzanne Pinto, Jennifer Weterings)

All crew are well and have rested and refuelled with food since arriving in the luxury marina of Port St Charles, Barbados. They were welcomed in by many friends and family who had been waiting for their arrival eagerly by the beach. Flares were set off just before 10:30 local time as Britannia III took her final few strokes to make land.

This row marks Simon Chalk’s fifth Ocean Row. He now takes his place in history alongside Emmanuel Coindre who completed his fifth Ocean Row in 2005. Another Ocean Rower, Roger Gould, was on board Britannia and this marks his second successful crossing. Roger participated in the first ever official Atlantic rowing race in 1997. First-time American Ocean Rower Suzanne Pinto has become the oldest female to row an ocean – she is 58 and from Longmont, Colorado. Nabs El-Busaidy has become the first Arab to row an Ocean.

Although Britannia III set out to break the mid-Atlantic speed crossing, a record which was broken at the beginning of March by Matt Craughwell and his team on board Sara G, the crew had an enjoyable and successful crossing and skipper Simon is already planning his next record attempt.

Kate Battes

Events Director

Woodvale Ocean Ltd

Marquis House | 2, North Street | Winchcombe | Gloucestershire | GL54 5LH

01242 602939 | 07864 288609 | www.woodvale-challenge.com


Nabs and Britannia III Make Land in Barbados

Wednesday 16th March 2011

16 Mar 2011

Nabs El-Busaidy and the crew of Britannia III arrived in Barbados on 15th March 2011 at 02:36 GMT. Their final journey time was 42 days, 17 hours, 54 minutes.

Back row L-R (Guy Griffiths, Jon Paine. Miek Palmer, Shaun Pedley, Roger Gould, Simon Chalk. Ben Gothard, Colin Gray) Front row L-R (Beth O’Kain, Anna Lewis, Nabs El-Busaidy, Suzanne Pinto, Jennifer Weterings)

All crew are well and have rested and refuelled with food since arriving in the luxury marina of Port St Charles, Barbados. They were welcomed in by many friends and family who had been waiting for their arrival eagerly by the beach.  Flares were set off just before 10:30 local time as Britannia III took her final few strokes to make land.

This row marks Simon Chalk’s fifth Ocean Row.  He now takes his place in history alongside Emmanuel Coindre who completed his fifth Ocean Row in 2005.  Another Ocean Rower, Roger Gould, was on board Britannia and this marks his second successful crossing.  Roger participated in the first ever official Atlantic rowing race in 1997.  First-time American Ocean Rower Suzanne Pinto has become the oldest female to row an ocean – she is 58 and from Longmont, Colorado. Nabs El-Busaidy has become the first Arab  to row an Ocean.

Although Britannia III set out to break the mid-Atlantic speed crossing, a record which was broken at the beginning of March by Matt Craughwell and his team on board Sara G, the crew had an enjoyable and successful crossing and skipper Simon is already planning his next record attempt.


Almost there…

Tuesday 15th March 2011

14 Mar 2011

Nabs El Busaidy and Britannia III have almost arrived.  They are in their final stretch and are 30 nautical miles from the finish line in Barbados. The website will be updated every few hours with their progress and images will be available of his arrival as soon as possible.


Mind the Sharks

Wednesday 9th March 2011

09 Mar 2011

Britannia III have seen their fifth week of being in the Ocean fly past, safe in the knowledge that the sixth week should be their final one at sea. Britannia III have averaged 66nm per day towards the finish this week and since passing the 1000nm (to go) mark have been dreaming of the white sand and sun in Barbados.

Along with a weird weather forecast from a Nigerian tanker, Britannia III and her crew have been followed by a school of Dorada, been hit in the head by Flying Fish and have celebrated yet another birthday at sea (Suzanne).

Tuesday 1st March was the day in which Britannia III travelled the furthest towards the finish (76nm) and since then Britannia has been rowing harder each day and has hit the over 70nm mark again (4th Mar 71nm).

Yesterday Nabs El-Busaidy thought he saw a fin in the water.  Knowing about the dorada following the boat he wasn’t overly concerned, but after a few minutes he realised that the fin was a different shape and actually belonged to a shark.  Sharks are a pretty common sight when rowing the ocean and generally they don’t bother rowing boats. They are a bit like whales in that they are inquisitive and come quite close to the boat to see what’s going on.  Luckily this shark didn’t come that close to Nabs and the crew but it did have them on their toes for a few minutes!

The final stretch of Nabs’ mid-Atlantic row is when the boat is most likely to come across big waves and the chance of capsizing becomes higher. Capsizing refers to when a boat or ship is tipped over. The act of reversing a capsized vessel is called righting. If a capsized vessel has sufficient flotation to prevent sinking, it may recover on its own if the stability is such that it is not also stable upside-down. Vessels of this design are called self-righting. A vessel may be designated as “self-righting” if it is designed to be able to capsize then return to upright without intervention (with or without crew onboard). Britannia III is a self-righting boat.

At the time of writing, Nabs and Britannia III have 365nm to go towards the finish and we wait with baited breath to see them arrive in Port St Charles.


Nabs has Less than 1000nm to Row!

Tuesday 1st March 2011

28 Feb 2011

News this week has been quite slow for Britannia.  They have had adverse winds and haven’t been able to make the progress they would like.  However the wildlife has been amazing this week – pilot whales, dolphins and of course Nabs’ whales.

It was great to start the week off with  “Britannia have reached the half-way point” and to be able to finish the week off on a positive note and say that as of 07:02 GMT this morning Nabs and the crew of Britannia III have only 968nm to row towards the finish. Exciting not only for friends and families to know that they will see their loved ones soon, but a huge motivator for the crew.

Our current ESTIMATED arrival date for Britannia is around the 11/12th March.  We have chosen these dates to ensure that families and friends can be in Barbados to see their arrival.  Although a few days before they should make land (going by their daily mileage), in our experience crews tend to speed up in the last few days of their crossing and we wouldn’t want families to be in a position where they miss the arrival of the boat and crew.

This week will see Nabs and the crew crossing the mid-Atlantic ridge, the longest mountain range in the world.

Since January 31st life has moved on.  People have gone to work every day, looked after their families, cooked 30 dinners and drank approximately 150 cups of tea each.  There has been a massive earthquake in New Zealand, people have been made redundant and found new jobs, babies have been born and shown their first real smiles.

And all this time, Nabs and thirteen other brave souls from all around the world have been rowing.  Day in, day out. Only resting if the weather is so bad they are forced to stop. They haven’t eaten a single green vegetable, drunk a single drop of beer or been able to eat their usual breakfast cereal with ice cold milk.  They haven’t seen a duvet for 30 days, or a toilet seat, let alone watched the television with their feet up on the sofa. They’ve had to prescribe their own medicines, ration their t-bags and drink water that’s come out of a machine.

Today we raise a glass to our intrepid rowers and wish them fair winds and smooth passage for the rest of their journey to Barbados.


Nabs and the Whale…

Tuesday 22nd February 2011

08 Feb 2011

With the thoughts of the record now out of their minds the crew of BRITANNIA III have been enjoying their rowing experience and some of the wildlife in the Atlantic Ocean.

whales from the rowing boatFirst up were three pilot whales (not the ones in the image above).  Nabs El Busaidy from Bahrain was the first one to spot the whales and he recounted his experience to Kate Battes, Woodvale Events Director via satellite phone, “It’s amazing when you see a whale from a rowing boat – it gives you a massive appreciation of the size of some of the creatures that live in our seas.”  Naturally inquisitive, the whales approached the boat and circled it a few times.  “It was scary at first” said Nabs. “They’re huge. But it really was a spectacular experience for me and one that isn’t guaranteed when doing an ocean crossing.” He continued “I feel very privileged to be able to see these magnificent creatures and spend time on the Ocean.”

While rowing over the weekend Anna Lewis, a Graduate Student at Oxford University, felt a slight drag on her oar. Due to her rowing experience Anna sits in the stroke position when rowing on board Britannia and so sets the pace for the rowers behind her. They noticed she was pausing slightly when taking a stroke, asked her what was wrong, and very calmly she said “Oh nothing really, I’ve just got a squid stuck on the end of my oar”.  Needless to say a few giggles were heard around the boat and the crew jumped up to see what was going on.  It turns out that the squid (not the one in the image above) had taken umbrage to the fact that Anna was invading its space with her oar and had suckered itself to the blade.  Anna managed to stifle her laughter, shake the creature off and clean her oar and continue rowing.  Now it’s not every day in Oxford that Anna has to deal with things like that while flat water rowing!

Nabs and the crew of Britannia III are nearly at the half way mark and have their sights firmly set on reaching Barbados. Barbados is an island nation of the Lesser Antilles, 34 kilometres (21 mi) in length and 23 kilometres in width. It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic Ocean and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. The island has an estimated population of 275,338 people, with around 80,000 living in or around Bridgetown, the largest city and the country’s capital. In 1966, Barbados became an independent nation and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourist destinations and is the most developed island in the region.

Britannia III should be arriving in Barbados in the middle of March 2011.


Britannia III Presses On To Be The World’s Third Fastest

Monday 14th February 2011

14.02.2011 | 14:15 GMT

This week has been a week of getting heads down and getting on with the task in hand. Nabs and the Britannia III crew have been suffering with sore hands and bums, as all ocean rowers can sympathise with, and are rowing as hard as they can to get to Barbados.

Nabs witnessed his first container ship this week when it appeared out of nowhere and came alongside the rowing boat to say hello.  The liner tooted her horn a few times and then sped off.  It’s pretty scary seeing a 1181ft container ship that close when you’re in a 38ft rowing boat and Nabs commented: “At the time our hearts were in our mouths and we were seriously considering abortive action but when we realised the ship was just coming to see what we were up to we calmed down.”

This week Britannia III have been ruled out of the Blue Riband Trophy (the fastest crossing).  It appears, from their daily progress, that Britannia won’t be able to break Sara G’s record, set earlier this week.  They have decided to focus on trying to become the third fastest boat over the ocean.  Some of the statistics from Nab’s row so far are as follows:

Average “Distance to Finish” = 58nm per day

Average “Distance over Ground” = 61nm per day

Rowed 870nm so far (just over a third of the way)

1785nm to go

Average speed = 2.975 m/h

Ocean rowing is the sport of rowing across oceans. The sport is as much a psychological as it is a physical challenge. Rowers often have to endure long periods at sea with help often many days, if not weeks away. The challenge is especially acute for solo rowers who are held in especially high esteem within the sport. The history of ocean rowing is sometimes divided into two eras. The first 12 ocean rows are considered “Historic Ocean rows” as they were completed with very limited if any modern technology. The subsequent rows are described as “Modern Day rows.”

Despite the now regular rowing races, fewer people have rowed an ocean, than have climbed Everest or been into Space.  Nabs joins this elite group of people as the “FIRST ARAB TO ROW AN OCEAN.”