As an organisation we are so appreciative and grateful for every penny raised for us, but every now again, someone takes on a fundraising challenge which quite simply takes our breath away. Meet Shaun Pedley and Ryan Barter, The Oarsome Buoys, who are rowing across the Atlantic Ocean this December, for us.
Can you tell us a little bit about the challenge?
Ryan and Shaun: “The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the world’s toughest rowing race and consists of around 30 crews of soloists, pairs and teams of four. We will set off from San Sebastian, La Gomera in December and end in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua. We will be rowing for 12 hours per day on a rotation of two hours on, two hours off. The race could take anything from 45 – 75 days. A lot of the race is weather dependent and will also depend on if we have any problems with the boat. More people have been to outer space or climbed Mount Everest than have crossed an ocean by rowing boat.”
How do you prepare for a challenge like rowing across the Atlantic?
Ryan: “All sorts of exercise such as running, cycling and rowing at the gym. Our main training starts now that the boat has arrived. We went to Christchurch for a training weekend in September with other teams taking part in the same race, it gave us a chance to put the boat through its paces.”
How will you handle everyday things such as eating and sleeping?
Ryan: “We will sleep every two hours in a pod at the front of the boat, and also have time to eat then. We’ll have high calorie expedition food which has around 800-1000 calories per meal. We’re currently formulating our likes/dislikes so we know what meals to pack. 20% will include wet rations such as peanuts and Mars bars. We have to make sure that we have enough meals to cover a minimum of 75 days. If the race takes longer, we will have to consider rationing our food.”
Why are you setting off in December?
Ryan: “At that time of year, the trade winds are with us. If we went any earlier, the winds would be against us and we would go nowhere fast!”
What are you most excited about?
Ryan: “Getting away from everyday life and the computer, plus the experience of taking on the challenge of a life-time!”
Shaun: “The uncertainty and challenges that each day will bring, and overcoming them.”
What are you looking forward to doing most when the challenge is over?
Shaun: “Fresh water, clean clothes and a comfy bed.”
Ryan: “It will be nice to come back and have the time to return to my hobbies, using my boat, diving and fishing.”
Why have you chosen to support Rowcroft?
Shaun and Ryan: “We have both had close family who have benefitted from Rowcroft’s services. This row is a chance to show our appreciation and give something back by raising public awareness and sponsorship.”
Are you enjoying fundraising for us?
Ryan: “We’ve been speaking to many businesses about sponsoring us and have held fundraising events, sold Oarsome Buoys merchandise and organised a beer festival. We also plan to hold a dinner and dance in October as a farewell gathering. Fundraising has been different to anything I’ve done, it has been hard, but a great learning curve.
Shaun: “I am enjoying meeting lots of interesting people who all have a story to tell about Rowcroft. It is a very special place for many people.”
The Oarsome Buoys are set to embark on their incredible expedition in less than 70 days. If you’d like to show your support for their generosity, determination and (some might say!) madness, you can make a donation to them today at www.justgiving.com/oarsomebuoys. You can also keep up to date with their progress at www.weregoingrowing.co.uk.
If you’d like to find out more about taking on your own challenge for Rowcroft, come along to our exclusive information evening on Monday 30 November at Rainbow House from 6.00pm. Register for free here, or contact Community Fundraising Manager Hayley Norrish on 01803 210835.