Overview. Another fantastic year of amazing challenges and incredible journeys. As Safety Officer it has been an enormously rewarding experience having seen the rowers from the first days when they started looking at the challenge, through their training, inspections before shipping, La Gomera and then the whole journey.
All the crews have had a life changing experience. Nobody is the same as when they started. Being mid ocean is humbling and it strips away any pretence. It is an incredibly honest and raw experience and everyone grows. The lack of choice and the need to just get on and row means that everyone has to step up and deal with problems. It shows people what they are capable of and opens up a new world of options – I am already talking with rowers about their future adventures and challenges.
We have seen fast crossings, immense displays or grit and determination, emotional highs and lows and everything in between.
Every year the fleet is different in character and this year has been defined by the sheer goodwill, camaraderie and care for each other. It has been a real pleasure.
Though the race is over and all rowers are safe ashore the process continues with boats being shipped back, crews giving presentations and fund raising.
This was another diverse fleet – age, intent, background and expectations – yet all came together and shared a life changing experience and we have seen friendship that will last a lifetime.
The crews have encountered – tiredness, isolation, anxiety, elation and have a strengthened appreciation of home and adventure, and the freedom that comes with lack of choice in a tough situation. Confidence and self knowledge will have grown and part of them will always be changed by this experience. It has been everything a proper adventure should be – physical, emotion, technical, with a real chance of failure and obstacles to overcome.
As Safety Officers, Lee Fudge and I are now training and preparing the fleet for 2019 and 2020 so it is time to sign off and say thank you to the fleet and thank you to the Dot Watchers and let you know that you are helping shape the future of the race. Friends, families and those who have found the race and become followers your support and engagement has been massively appreciated.
For those that are already missing following the dots – less than 290 days until the next race…