Gavan is 27 days into the row now. He's covered a distance of nearly 3000 kilometers and he's worked really hard physically and tactically to maintain his position of 1st solo boat and 3rd place overall out of 12 boats. The only two boats ahead of him are two teams of 4 people. Gavan is ahead of all the teams of two and three people and he's ahead of another team of 4. He's got about a days lead (67 miles) on the team trying to catch him. He's also ahead of the other 3 solo rowers and is leading the solo race by over 500 miles. The teams in the race have the advantage of having someone to power the boat 24/7, whereas when Gavan rests, his boat stops. So for him to be in 3rd place is extraordinary! Gavan is doing extremely well and hopes to complete the race in under 52 days which would be a new international course record for a solo rower and a new Irish record.
Gavan has had some very positive interactions and some not so positive interactions with nature. He has enjoyed a meeting with pods of dolphins who have woken him early in the morning through sonar and nudging his boat Doireann. He has had a close call with a large cargo ship when he was on a collision course. He has had flying fish appear over the boat during sun sets and he has come across the notorious Atlantic gyre. He has been in an actual sand storm! ... the sands from the Sahara desert were blown out onto him and the other competitors in the Atlantic. He has caught fish, met one bird and he has swam in the ocean alone, tied to his boat for fear of losing her in the open seas.
On New Years he turned the lights off on his boat, had a little emotional moment and celebrated the turning of the year under the bright and beautiful Milky Way.
Gavan is coping well considering the physical and mental demands. The winds have been northerly and strong recently and because of his westerly course he is on, the risk of capsizing had been high all last week. Trying to row in those swells is made particularly difficult by the flying oars that were picked up after each and every stroke and thrown back at his face. His hands, wrists and shins have taken a pounding but as he is a trained paramedic, Gavan is looking after the wounds well. Despite the, at times, harsh environment, Gavan has enjoyed surfing the huge swells in his row boat which he has called Doireann, after his niece! Now he is experiencing more changeable weather. The winds have died down and right now he is having to work hard on calm seas, in which he is very exposed to the sun. He is having to monitor his fluid intake meticulously due to the risks of exposure and dehydration. Gavan cannot use an umbrella to take shelter as it is an automatic disqualification as per the rules of Ocean Rowing, so when he is rowing he is exposed to the direct sunlight and the reflective and refractive elements of the sea. Covering up in as option, but then heat becomes an issue over the long periods of rowing. He is rowing naked most days! It's hot and the friction from the salt causes issues with his skin. He's got some nice sheepskin mats to help relieve the friction! He also has over 650 baby wipes on board to ensure his skin remains clean and intact throughout the row. He's got a strict regimen of cleaning himself down after each and every period of rowing. You may have heard that Gavan had an issue with his arm which required him to strap his hand to one of his oars during the week to allow him to row without straining the muscle further. Gavan is mostly eating Kilbeggan porridge oats and Irish Biltong as a lot of other things have been causing him cramps. They are good fuel and easier to digest.
Mentally, Gavan has proven himself to be firm and resolute in his objectives. He is in a harsh and dangerous environment but has remained calm and he has stuck to his processes. The messages of support he has recieved via email and social media has been unbelievable. Gavan sees all of these message and he is so appreciative of them. He can't always reply though. He has energy to row, eat, look after Doireann and sleep. There's not a lot left for much else after 16 hours of rowing! He is taking it one stroke at a time, one session on the oars at a time. He is looking towards the next way point and doing his best to get there as fast as he can. He has trained hard for this. He has planned meticulously for this. He has made some very good decisions out there alone and he is prepared to suffer for those small gains that keep him ahead of the chasing pack. So far he has pushed his body and mind to the extreme to achieve his goal of not just solo rowing the Atlantic but making a race of it.
Gavan is raising money for Cancer Care West and Jigsaw and people can donate on his website www.gavanhennigan.com
Gavan is an adventurer. This is his career now. He has no corporate sponsorship. He sponsors to date have all been product based and for that he is very grateful. Gavan is looking to act as a brand ambassador and an influencer and he has plenty of life and corporate speaking experience. To hear him is to be in awe. He can offer the complete package to any corporate sponsor willing to financially support him and his adventures.
Follow Gavans journey on his social media pages which are updated daily @soulogav on Twitter and Facebook.
Contact Kevin Thornton for more enquries