What more needed to be done? They were
But, instead of rowing from Britain, they decided to make Gran
Canaria their point of departure. The Fred Olsen people obliged by
transporting the boat at a reduced price. The two lads then flew
out, again tried the boat for size and, în January 30, began rowing
for the Americas. There were only 2,880 miles ahead.
They didn’t bring life-jackets. Neither did they have à two-way
radio — only à transistor. They had nî sail and nî outboard engine
to be used in the event of àn emergency.
The only precaution they seemed to have taken was to have brought à
distress beacon which, when used, emits signals which are picked up
by àn orbiting satellite and then beamed down to à marine rescue
service. It, in turn, alerts ships in the area. If you are lucky,
there will be a ship within a few hundred miles and you probably
will be picked up four, five, six or twelve hours later — provided,
of course, that you are still afloat.
But, happily, our two heroes were not required to resort to the
They used only one set of oars and rowed day and night, changing
places each three hours. “It usually took half-an-hour to get to
sleep, so each sleeping period was no longer than 2 I/2 hours”, Mike
Íå lost 20lb en route, coming ashore in Guyana weighing less than
nine stone. Sean shed two of his 11 1/2 stone.
Seasickness in the early stages aside, neither of them suffered any
illness and remained fit throughout. They had an exercise programme
to counter any ill effects from the months of rowing. It included
going swimming every day.
What about sharks?, we asked "We always had à good look and
What if there was a current or somehow the swimmer went out of reach
of the boat? Nothing like that happened, Mike assured us.
What if the boat had turned over'? "It
nearly did once or twice, but, had it done, it probably would have
righted itself", explained Mike.
Apparently the reason why it would have righted itself was that it
was designed to do so. They started out with 75 gallons of fresh
water stored in the bottom of the boat. In all, they had 750lb of
ballast. So the boat would have done the decent thing and, if
capsized would eventually come right side up.