July 18, 2022
Author:
Nicola Douglas

Atlantic Ocean 2022-23

Roxy Expeditions 2021-22
Whilst on the Atlantic Ocean, this blog, the videos and photos are all brought to you courtesy of Range Global Services

Our 2022-23 Roxy crew will be setting off on 4th December 2022 on their 2,600 nm expedition across the Atlantic Ocean. Meet the team:

Skipper & co skipper: Dawn Wood and Honorine van den Broeck d'Obrenan

Crew: Euan Fraser, Trine Hansen, Heike Loewenstein, Neil Lomas, Tonya Mueller, Robert Owens, Paul, Carla, Mark Brownjohn and Ted Jackson.

Training week in the Outer Hebrides

Our Atlantic crew has just completed their training week up in Scotland, in preparation for their Atlantic Ocean crossing at the end of the year. The crew rowed from the Outer Hebrides (Stornoway) to Raasay, Mallaig and Oban, in an intense but hugely positive week.

While the rest of the UK was experiencing a heatwave, our crew enjoyed some chiller but dry weather in the little harbour of Stornoway, where we all gathered for the first time to meet in person. What a joy to meet this international crew coming from New Zealand, USA, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the UK!

Our first morning was spent familiarising everyone with the boat, systems, gear, and answering some of the most basic questions: how to poop at sea, how to ensure safety for all, and what puddings we can enjoy as freeze-dried food. Our skipper Dawn, ran the team through all elements of the boat (water maker, solar panels, life-lines etc...) with her endless energy and signature smile. The session was interrupted by a seal, joyfully splashing his fisherman friend, and setting the scene for more wildlife sightings through the week.

Crew briefing
A seal enjoying breakfast
Our Roxy Atlantic 2022-23 crew leaving Stornoway on their first training row

The crew then set off for their first row AND overnight row, 54 miles to Raasay. First night rows are always challenging, as the body is not accustomed to the rhythm yet, and requires an extra effort to wake up and get ready in the middle of a dream. Our crew, however, managed to get through the night in a positive mood and with a brilliant sense of humour as seals, dolphins and puffins came to visit regularly. The sunset offered stunning light over the Outer Hebrides and we awoke to see the cliffs of the gorgeous Isle of Skye. With a Geologist onboard, we all learnt about rock formations!

The row to Raasay extended to the middle of the afternoon, leaving time for everyone to get to know each other, as we switched shifts and got to sit next to new rowing buddies each time. The national treasure of Scotland - RAIN - appeared just as we were anchoring with a perfectly-timed shower after 24 hours of rowing. We all gathered for a beer and fish and chips and everyone finally understood that physical pain is Mother Nature's way of telling us we need to improve our rowing technique!

It's all smiles on board
Neil and Dawn
Trine and Euan (on the left)
Darren
Sunset over the Isle of Raasay

We woke up early to meet a star at the Skye Bridge (15 miles away from Raasay). Ross Edgley, ultra-marathon sea swimmer, was here to train by the bridge. He welcomed us with his massive smile and positive outlook, and we enjoyed racing against him, taking photos and videos before continuing our journey to Mallaig.

What was supposed to be an easy row with the tide became a much bigger beast - the tide was not strong but we had a huge headwind! The crew demonstrated real commitment by pushing extra hard along these 22 miles. It was good strength training and gave us the opportunity to practice some of the rowing tips given the day before! Luckily we escaped the pouring rain of Skye and arrived in the dry in Mallaig.

Setting off on day 3 from Raasay towards Mallaig
Dawn with Ross Edgley, ultra-marathon sea swimmer who was training with support from Rannoch's Charlie Pitcher in Loch Alsh the same day that Roxy was rowing that stretch of water.
Ross vs Roxy?
Ross vs Roxy

It's amazing what a full night of sleep can do for morale - the positivity of the crew was palpable the next morning! With the Rolling Stones playing full blast and a good pack of Haribos, we were ready to roll for our next 24 hour row! This time we were aiming to get to Oban (51 miles).

This was a long row, and it required good navigation skills between islands and to ensure the tides were with us. The day row went by quickly with plenty of music and a good speed of 3 to 4 knots! So fast in fact that we needed to take a short break on the Isle of Mull to wait for the tide to change, before settling in for the night row. This second night was easier than the first one, as our bodies were more acclimatised and the conditions were smooth! Stars came out then disappeared again behind clouds in the early morning. The final slog was a long one but we enjoyed a final appearance from dolphins and seals before we arrived in Oban.  

Looking forward to the next chapter in Tenerife!

The crew photographed by a passing yacht