Sickness, blisters, dehydration, and lack of sleep, not the most enticing sea crossing but Team Hallin will tackle all these problems and more to tame the Atlantic Ocean and hopefully break a world record. The 6 strong British crew have been biding their time in San Miguel marina over the festive season waiting for the weather they need to row the 3,000 miles (2,600 nautical miles) from Tenerife to Barbados.
Scrambling on board the 40 foot trimaran with a lot of help I got a feel of the cramped conditions they will endure as they aim to break the 33 days, 7 hours and 30 minutes record for an ocean crossing. Sleep will be a 2 hour respite as the crew split shifts with 3 sculling, that’s with 2 oars, and 3 squeezing into the sleeping quarters at each end of the boat. I was only in a “bedroom” for a minute and found it hot dark and uncomfortable, at sea they can add in the constant motion of the waves and the knowledge of a quick return to the oars.
It takes a special breed to take on this challenge, skipper David Hosking MBE (front middle in pic) went to Durham University and served in the Royal Navy and he introduced me to the team. From left to right – Chris Covey is the engineer and another alumni of Durham University where he took up rowing. Paddy Thomas, a chiropractor, is the medic, his rowing has taken him through the Henley Regatta, Durham and Bournemouth Universities and he passed his RYA yacht master exams along the way. Jack Stonehouse took up the oars at University College London and is also a keen cyclist, he is handling the media and sponsorship side of the challenge.
Naomi Hoogesteger with her masters degree in Spanish has been able to smooth the way here in Tenerife when she’s not sorting out the nutritional needs of the crew, but with vast experience in rowing and athletics she is well prepared. Justin Johanneson loves to push the limits mountaineering, running marathons, car racing and cycling.
If the record wasn’t incentive enough, the crew are raising money for Combat Stress as the skipper explains. “We all have military connections either through ourselves or family and Combat Stress deals with the mental heath problems of ex servicemen. Our financial goal is 60,000 pounds and we have so far raised 15,000. We even did a 48 hour event on a rowing machine out on Tottenham Court Road in London, that was fun even the drunks were giving us money.”
Originally Team Hallin were going to set off around December 23 but at least the delay meant they could have a Christmas meal and as much food as they could eat, with the blessing of nutritionist Naomi. “We need to bulk up as much as possible in advance and then at sea we will all eat 6,000 calories a day, 2,000 is normal, we will be getting through 2.5 kilos a day of our half ton food supply and we all need to drink at least 5 litres of water daily.”
Preparation is not just about the crew, the boat Hallin Marine has already had a long journey according to the skipper. “This is only the second of these multi hull trimarans, it was designed and built in America and shipped to our base in Christchurch, Dorset last spring. We put it through its paces in sea trials before making amendments and then it was shipped out here to Santa Cruz just before Christmas and on a trailer by road down to San Miguel.”
Finally the waiting looks like being over. “We need the trade winds behind us and that looks set for January 6 or 7. It will be a relief but we have made some good friends here, everyone at San Miguel marina has made us very welcome. Even at the end of the row we need to keep our fingers crossed for the weather, we are planning to row into Port St Charles in the north of Barbados but bad conditions could force us to use Bridgetown which is slightly further.”
How To Follow And Sponsor
Tenerife Magazine will keep you informed of progress but you can track the journey at the Team Hallin website where you can also make donations to Combat Stress. Good luck and fair winds.