June 1, 2021
Nicola Douglas

TWAC rowers learn invaluable lessons from the experts

It was fantastic to welcome a number of teams entered into TWAC 2021 and 2022 to Burnham to undertake a customised training camp as part of their preparation for their race. And what a success it was!

With coaching from Charlie Pitcher and Atlantic Campaigns' Safety Officers Ian Couch and Ros West and support from Rannoch's Lizzie Brown, teams benefitted from an early season training camp to set the tone for their training through the coming months.

The training weekend started with informal welcome drinks at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club on Thursday evening which allowed teams to share their campaign aspirations and training camp goals.

Due to extreme weather conditions, Friday was a shore-based day, however all were in agreement that this was time well-spent. Topics focused on developing the skills for a safe crossing, including basic seamanship skills such as safe anchoring and mooring, as well as passage planning and the ability to adapt to the situations you are presented with when at sea. Ian was also able to run through the requirements of scrutineering and safety kit.

The teams were treated to a talk by Charlie on Friday evening who recounted tales from his most recent Atlantic crossing – some of them very amusing but also some that covered the important topics of fitness, teamwork and personal hygiene.

The teams were afloat from Saturday morning until Sunday. Following a number of drills, teams were encouraged to settle into their watch systems for an extended period. They experienced rowing from day to night to day; and were able to develop dependence on each other and their boats, their kit and their nutrition. Rannoch Adventure supported the exercise with their offshore RIB Ranger and also with support yacht Jack, ghosting the fleet in case of an unexpected emergency. Other than being a cold night, the rowers experienced a stunning sunset and big Essex skies!

One of the key elements to the weekend was for Charlie, Ian and Ros to spend time observing and assessing the performance of the teams, contributing with hints and advice whilst afloat. Another important part of the process were the individual debriefs once shore on Sunday.

All the teams took valuable lessons from the weekend. Listening to advice from two of the world’s most experienced ocean rowers will stand them in good stead for their forthcoming ocean crossing, but in advance of that, skills learnt will enable them to get the most from their training in advance of their race.

Rannoch Adventure will again be working closely with Atlantic Campaigns on the September 2021 TWAC training camp. However, limited space is still available so please contact Nikki at Atlantic Campaigns to book your place.