In June, just over two months away, 4 British rowers will attempt to row across the Indian Ocean (3,600 miles!) completely unsupported, to raise awareness of the difficulties people living with Parkinson’s face day to day and to raise money for charities that help them. The three charities they will be supporting are Clear Trust, Spotlight YOPD, and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
One of the crew members was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2015, and hopes to show exactly how Parkinson’s effects him, both good and bad, and is working with researches at Oxford Brooks to hopefully help others with Parkinson’s and similar disabilities.
The crew are also helping to raise more awareness by breaking records, the world speed record to be exact. To do this, they are using a Rannoch, developed by Charlie Pitcher, which has beat out other boats in past races.
We asked the rowers some more questions about their row, their experience, and charity.
1) Have any of you rowed any long distances before? What experience do you have?
Barry and I both rowed together in the Inaugural Great Pacific Race, rowing from California to Hawaii, which was about 2,800 miles, and the crew took two world records in the race. James currently holds the world speed record for rowing non stop around the UK
2) How are you preparing for not only the rowing physical side of things, but being out at sea for so long?
We have a training programme developed by CHHP and professor Greg Whyte (he’s quite famous in his field, find him on Google). As mentioned, 3 of us have experience at sea already, and I have over 28,000 sea miles under my belt from sailing, including crossing the Indian Ocean twice. It’s mainly just about getting into the right mindset. You know that it is going to be tough, but you just have to adapt to whatever is thrown at you. James and Robin will be going to Hamble school of yachting to do coursed in First aid at sea and sea survival (Barry and I have already done them). We are also eating as much as possible to put on healthy weight before leaving, as we will loose a lot of weight while at sea. Then there is also fundraising and logistics to sort out, and PR too!!
3) Why have you chosen Spotlight Y.O.P.D as your chosen charity to raise money for?
Robin has Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD), and I am one of the founders of the charity. Public awareness of the condition is pretty much zero, unless people have a connection to someone living with the condition. It’s a terrible diagnosis to receive……
4) What will be the route you will be rowing?
Exmouth in Western Australia to Port St Louis in Mauritius. Route will be dependent on weather conditions.
5) Are you taking anything to entertain you on this ocean row?
A pillow!! We are rowing in 2 hour shifts, so row for 2 hours, rest for 2 hours. That’s 24/7 from the second that we set off. During the rest period you have to eat, navigate, make any repairs and sleep, so you don’t really get much time for entertainment. I took a book with me when we rowed the Pacific, and didn’t read one page of it. The best entertainment will come from each other. it’s a great crew, and humour will be a large part of what gets us across as a team.
To follow along with Indian Ocean Row 2017, visit their website where they will also be posting live streams, updates, and more information about their row and chosen charities.