Our latest blog post is by Rowena Hennigan, Gavan's older sister and a member of Team Gav, the support team for Gavan's solo row as part of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge.
The new year is upon us and in our modern world we often take for granted being connected at all times; instant messages, posts, emails and tweets. When my younger brother Gavan decided to row an ocean solo, taking part in one of the most dangerous challenges on earth, gosh was I glad for modern communications. Things have really changed since morse code!
Gavan is originally from Galway, with roots in Mayo from his mother, an Egan from Castlebar. Apart from his Irish based family, he has a sister, brother in law and 4 nieces in Bali, Indonesia. The whole family was relieved to learn that as part of the Talisker race rules, he must be accessible via a satellite phone to monitor his safety and performance. (see all the "Modcons" section here: https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/the-challenge/boats-equipment-and-technology/)
Selfishly, we knew we would get regular updates and possibly (satellite location dependent), they odd text or phone call from him! Three weeks into the race, he is also keeping his family, support team, friends and growing fan base up to date by regularly posting to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@soulogav). It is mainly text-based messages, but he is managing to send the odd image with some beautiful insights into his world on the ocean.
During race preparation, Gavan and his support team spent significant time setting up his Social Media channels, testing his satellite equipment and planning how updates would be sent from the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Back in November he wrote about the preparation details in a blog update here: https://www.gavanhennigan.com/blog/2016/11/21/about-time-i-wrote-some-stuff
The Talisker Atlantic Challenge race is trackable via YB App and Talisker Race Tracker, where Gavan's fans can track his performance, see all the race statistics and check out how the competition is faring. Along with Gavan acquiring a host of new fans, he has also encouraged a new community of race "dot watchers"; a term the community has labelled themselves as they watch the dots that represent the boats plotting across the Atlantic course.
Fans can then also comment and show their support with replies on Social Media. You can see a prime example below from Gavan's Mum, Julie showing her encouragement on Instagram.
Needless to say, suddenly the whole Hennigan/Egan family are massive fans of Satellite Phone technology! I have read up on Iridium and was very impressed to hear they recently supported Sean Burch in his world-record success in Nepal. Satellite phone technology assists many extreme environment athletes and it is a real reassurance to family and friends of those adventurers around the world. We sleep well at night knowing Gavan is safe and well, progressing in the challenge and following his life's dreams.
Follow Gavan on @soulogav and contact Kevin Thornton on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0863571714 for further details....