Heads Together and Row: Come hull or high water

9 January 2019

Heads Together and Row: Come hull or high water

The photos in this blog post may appear to show Ali and Justin enjoying a leisurely swim, but they are actually completing an essential maintenance task.

To give themselves a fighting chance of a fast Atlantic crossing, Heads Together and Row need to keep Trilogy’s hull clear of barnacles which have latched themselves on for a free ride to Antigua.

So this is what they have been doing today - as explained in the video below.

According to skipper Toby, they believe their clean hull has made them 1/4 knots faster!

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Ali also reflects on their hopes for a speedy second half of the race in her latest email:

How do you get four people and all their kit for several weeks into a 29ft ocean rowing boat?

That’s not the start to a cheesy joke but a real conundrum on Trilogy. With all the hatches full of ballast water, food, boat equipment and spares, wet wipes etc, our bags of clothes and personal items are loose in the rear cabin. Interestingly, the softest of the bags always manages to find its way to the top of the pile as that’s also where we have our power naps in between two-hour rowing shifts, so someone is unwittingly providing us all with a nice pillow!

There is literally stuff everywhere, which adds to the challenges of living and moving around on-board. This also means the boat is heavy which makes for uncomfortable rowing in the hot calm conditions we have been experiencing in the last few days.

Most of the weight is mandatory and will not change. We have 150 litres of ballast water on board, for example, which is a safety requirement and involves disqualification from the race if it’s been tampered with.

Rumour has it crews in the past have sawn their toothbrushes in half as the handle is wasted space and weight! While we were never going to be that competitive, we are appreciating the extra space we have and less weight we are carrying as the weeks go by.

Food is being eaten, and bottles emptied. This all gives us extra inches in which to spread out and make our off-shifts more comfortable and the calm days more bearable as the boat becomes easier to move. It’s also a way to measure progress and time. We have no shoreline to travel along, only a black and white dotted line on the chart plotter to show we’re moving westward through this expanse of blue ocean.

Hopefully with a lighter boat we’ll have a slightly quicker second half, weather permitting.

In any event, although my toothbrush remains intact I do know that with every squeeze of the toothpaste tube we are one step closer to Antigua.”

As of 1600 GMT on day 29, here’s how the team are getting on:

Position: 18 degrees 31.83 N, 039 degrees 36.79 W

Speed/Direction: 2.4 knots @ 264 degrees

Distance rowed: 1444 Nautical Miles (1661 Miles)

Distance to go: 1268 Nautical Miles (1459 Miles)

12th in Fours crews

15th overall

Henley Business School is working with Heads Together and Row on a research project looking at individual and team resilience. Click here to find out more.

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