Well I'm barely off the Atlantic Ocean and I'm heading back for more! Last night on the Late Late Show, Irelands big news chat show, I spoke about my past and what led me to row the Atlantic solo in the first place, then got to say the very exciting news about rowing back across the Northern route from New York to Ireland. Approximately 3,000 nautical miles.
I used to have a chuckle to myself all of last year when people balked at the price of my Ocean Rowing boat and quickly assumed i'd be selling it after I'd finished. Not a chance, this was such a huge investment into myself, I was hardly going to sell it and go back to being normal.
I had the idea before setting off from La Gomera and had already organised my trailer to be shipped to Antigua, so I was already half committed. But about 2 weeks into the row I was loving it and even on the bad days I still fancied the idea. The idea was born out of rowing home into Galway bay, via Blackrock and into the Docks. This is the part of the Atlantic that most intrigues me, this is the real deal. There is a reason some rowers call the trade wind route the 'Holiday Route'
The trade wind route has been rowed solo 123 times sucessfully. The Northern route only 15 times, there are many starting and ending points. Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada, Cape Cod and NY area in USA. To Ireland, UK and France, ranging in length from 1,500 Nautical Miles to over 3,000. With the Gulf Stream and it's northern extension - The North Atlantic Drift are a huge factor in getting across. of course it will be nice to get a push on from these but it's not as simple as that, the currents often have huge eddies coming off them. Rowers in the past have sometimes been stuck in one of these eddies travelling in a anti-clockwise direction for upto a week. Before being able to pop out the other side. Forecasting these is tough, but I will have a temperature transducer which will help indicate whether or not i'm being taken on a merry go round, the goal is to stay away from the colder water. Not only all that but last time you looked out the window in the middle of a so called summer in Ireland it could be mistaken for winter. The North Atlantic loves to throw up big summer gales and storms. Only last year Stein Hoff had to abandon his attempt to row solo after a 55 knot and 8 meter sea battered him and his boat. I have warned loved ones already there will be a point on this crossing when we are all going to be very very scared.
Setting off from Battery Park on the tip of Manhattan will be amazing yet a tricky under taking. This is the exact point the 2 Norwegian born Americans Frank Samuelson and George Harbo set off from, they were the first men to row an ocean and did so in 55 days back in 1896. Trying to get the exact conditions will be tough. Leven Brown and his team including Galway man Ray Carroll rowed this route in 2010 breaking Samuelson and Harbo's 114 year record of 55 days. Yes they were a 4 man team, but did it in an incredible 43 days. Leven who has helped me with weather routing for my crossing told me about them having to wait 6 weeks before finding the right conditions to get away from the continental landmass.
So my boat Doireann is now snug inside a container and about to be put onto a ship in Antigua to travel to NYC. I've alot of work to do over the next 3 months! Henry and myself are having a proper sit down to draw up a battle plan after the weekend. Time is tight, I need to get her cleared of customs in the USA, find storage and then do some mods on her such as - add extra power (less sun up this side!) either another battery and solar panel ,wind turbine or fuel cell, temp transducer, oar stanchions and lots of small things. All that and trying to get another load of weight back on to me, currently up at 77kg.
So with all that I hope to row into Galway sometime this summer, Rowing both ways within 12 months, the first solo from USA to Ireland, maybe even a speed record, if you like all that stuff great. But i'm rooted in adventure and the challenge, maybe this will close the chapter on Ocean Rowing in my life or not? Stay tuned.