February 1, 2021
Louise Brown

Grandmother who still feels like a kid at heart

I’m a married grandmother with 3 sons and 3 grandchildren, I still feel like a kid at 55 and keep thinking in terms of “what next”.

A few years ago I came across a video clip on Facebook of a tiny little boat rowing into English Harbour in Antigua, it was surrounded by revving dinghy’s and yacht horns blasting, flares going off and spectators clapping and cheering. Well that was it, regardless of the fact I knew absolutely nothing about rowing, in that single moment I decided - I’m going to do that.

Louise with Sian, another of the Atlantic 2021 Roxy crew

I had made up my mind which boat builder I would go with and was looking through their website for the 100th time when I saw they were building a flagship 12 man boat, Roxy, and, even more exciting, would be taking her around the world. I couldn’t believe my luck, this would actually happen, I no longer needed to coerce my friends or family onto a little rowboat with me.

Being selected as part of the Roxy crew last summer was just the best feeling. My husband and family were so pleased for me- I think they were secretly relieved that they were now truly off the hook.  

I’d started training with a New Zealand rowing coach, Chris Jones, who had been watching me go up and down on my rowing machine via video. The man should be given a medal for that alone! He worked on my technique and has given me weekly programs ever since - I don’t know how I would have managed training by myself at home without his kind and generous help. I really want to do the best job I can on the oars to make him proud.

Louise on the Roxy oars with fellow crew members Simon and Sophie behind

Meeting the rest of the crew at Burnham on Crouch when lockdown ended was fantastic. To be with other people who also wanted to row an ocean was incredible. The dynamic was fabulous, particularly given the age range of 18-60 so being a granny didn’t matter one bit.

We had three training sessions with Rannoch Adventure and each one was brilliant - it was like being a kid at holiday camp every time. I loved it and Charlie, Nicola and Dawn were every bit as wonderful as I had imagined. We started out on Explorers in the first session and the next time, we all got to row an R45 ocean rowing boat. It was such fun and the boys did over 7 knots on the river (with the tide!). The final training session was the day after the RX80, Roxy, had been launched. We were all so keen to get on board and she looked fabulous. She was such a cracking boat to row and literally glides through the water. She has so much room to move about on - a proper party boat!

We are now just a short month before our flight to Tenerife - the anticipation is huge. All we need now is for the travel ban to be lifted so we can get out there and we’ll be off!

Challenges are meant to be exciting edge of the seat stuff after all.