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.

The Atlantic Row Update from Britannia III

Monday 7th February 2011

07 Feb 2011 07:40 GMT

Nabs El-BusaidyNabs El-Busaidy and the crew of Britannia III Ocean Rowing boat have made good progress over the weekend.  However, with 32 nautical miles covered in 12 hours Britannia III are aware they need to step up their game in order to break the mid-Atlantic speed record.

Although well ahead of the current record holder La Mondiale, Britannia covered approximately 50nm less than their competition in the 12 hours overnight last night. Ideally Britannia III need to be covering between 80 and 100nm per 24 hours.

There are four ocean rowing boats competing for the record.  Britannia III is one of three SWEEP rowing boats currently in the Atlantic and there is one SCULLING boat.

Sculling generally refers to a method of using oars to propel watercraft in which the oar or oars touch the water on both the port and starboard sides of the craft, or over the stern. By extension, the oars themselves are also often referred to as sculls when used in this manner, and the boat itself may be referred to as a scull.

Sweep or sweep-oar rowing is a type of rowing when a rower has one oar, usually held with both hands. As each rower has only one oar, the rowers have to be paired so that there is an oar are on each side of the boat. This is in contrast to sculling when a rower has two oars, one in each hand. In the UK the term is less used as the term rowing generally refers to sweep oar.

While sculling is a fully symmetrical movement (with exception of the handle overlap), sweep oar rowing is slightly asymmetrical and many rowers strongly prefer one side to the other. The average speed of a boat increases with the crew size and sculling boats are significantly faster than the equivalent sweep boats.

Nabs suffered from sea sickness at the start of his ocean row but is now recovered and settling into his routine.  He wishes everyone well, especially Maria and his family, and is enjoying reading all the messages on the website.

Atlantic Allum Cup 2011

Wednesday 12th January 2011
Playa Famara #4

Image by palestrina55 via Flickr

In celebration of the first ever pairs row across the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Woodvale Challenge are pleased to announce a new racing event “The Atlantic Allum Cup”. On January 12 1971 the Allum cousins left Las Palmas headed for America. A drinking water shortage meant that the cousins had to cut their row short and Geoff and Don Allum arrived at Harrison Point, Barbados 73 days after setting off.

Woodvale Challenge is launching the Atlantic Allum Cup on 12th January 2011 – the 40th anniversary of the Allum Cousins pioneering row and will be putting out one of the fastest rowing boats in existence.

Woodvale will run a record campaign for the mid-Atlantic route (La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Barbados – 2600 miles away). The record will be more than just rowing hard…route selection, reaction to situations and a degree of luck with the weather all come into play.

Woodvale is launching Britannia III – one of the fastest boats ever built – a 15 man boat which crossed the Atlantic in 38 days in early 2010

Wedding Message to Salha and Karl

Tuesday 11th January 2011

Congratulations on the wedding in Zanzibar, and apologies for my absence as I prepare to row the Atlantic from the other side of Africa.

Food Glorious Food

Saturday 8th January 2011
San Sebastián de La Gomera

Image by Leo-setä via Flickr

Lesson of the day – 14 people and thousands of packets of dried food, in the heat, don’t necessarily mix…So quickly we split up.

Jamie, Anna, Nabs, Dan, Jen, Beth, Suzanne and Colin have been food packing while Shaun, Roger, Ben, Guy and Mike have tackled the boat prep.

We have finished all the calculations for calorific value and are about half way through vacuum sealing the daily rations.  Snacks are tomorrows task – if only lifes real decisions were as simple as “chocolate” or “walnuts”…

It’s been great for the boys working on the boat to be able to take a quick dip in the Ocean to get rid of the heat.  Our boat workshop area is right next to two beaches in San Sebastian. Britannia has had another coat of deckpaint so she looks nice and sparkly for departure and the watermakers are now in!

More family and friends arrive in La Gomera tomorrow bringing some last minute equipment.  We’re looking forward to seeing our new sheepskin seat pads, made by Devonia in Buckfastleigh.  They are the sort of pads made for fighter jet pilots so should withstand the pressure of 30 days at sea.

Thanks also go to Nivea, Sandbaggers, and of course Be-Well.  Without our delivery from Nivea we would be suffering in this sun, and i’m sure we will all dream of Peronin and Be-Well Lamb Pilaf and Hot Cereal Start tonight…we’ve seen a lot today.  Be-Well are Woodvale’s Food partner and have very kindly sponsored the Atlantic Allum Cup.

Amigo is almost ready to go. Ole and Serge are chomping at the bit to get out on the water and test their equipment.  Their families and friends have arrived and are all getting busy stuck in with packing.  Serge tested his lifejacket today for the first time and nearly got blown off his feet!

The weather is looking good for our departure.  The winds are in the right direction, to push us out and across, and we have been keeping a close eye on one of our competitors who left 2 days ago.

Another night in the Blue Marlin is looming again…Manolo would miss us if we didn’t visit.  He is still joking about doing a crossing at some stage…maybe next year??