Blog Training

Coastal Scull Loan!

I suppose by now we thought we’d be able to get out and train together in the same boat or gym. To be honest we’d take training in the same garden right now! We’ve started using a great online platform called Ergworld which lets us link up our rowing machine monitors and train together virtually, but it’s not quite the same as being on the water. Luckily we’ve been given a great alternative!

Just before Christmas we bought 4 pairs of Concept 2 sweep oars for our Atlantic crossing from the great guys at Oarsport, and when they heard about our challenge they very kindly offered us the loan of the new Wintech Coastal Single Scull, which has been developed to compete in FISA coastal rowing competitions, for a few weeks. And it’s great!

Having this single scull has allowed us to get out onto the water whilst restrictions prevent us from training together, so it’s been a fantastic tool to help us learn how to scull! As you’ll see from the footage, none of us are scullers so it’s been quite a steep learning curve to go from pulling one big sweep oar in a 4 man skiff to feathering 2 oars in a finely balanced racing shell, but it feels like it’s improving our technique as well as forcing us to be more flexible in the hips to absorb the waves – something we’ll have to get very used to on the Atlantic!

The model we’ve been using is the carbon fibre-based racing shell, but the same design can also be constructed using cheaper materials to produce an affordable alternative for those who’d rather explore than race. If you’re interested, get in touch with the guys at Oarsport for more information.


Ergo Marathons

We enjoyed our first World in a Day event so much we agreed to do it again this week, but this time some of the participating rowers online suggested that doing only 20 miles when just another 6 would take you to a full marathon was just a wasted opportunity!

The response from our crew was that the guys were keen and if they couldn’t do it on the day (taking around 3 hours out from home-schooling and work may not be popular!) they would get a full marathon knocked out asap. Fraser still hasn’t got access to a rowing machine so has to sit this one out, but we will be reminding him of his obligation as soon as that changes.

Once again it was difficult to know how to pace it, but after last week’s 32k at least we had a better idea of what we were in for. I had no target other than completing the distance in one go without my arse falling off, and I’m pleased to say the whole thing felt pretty comfortable and my average split was faster than last week’s.


Four of us have now completed our marathons as you can see above. Much like the row itself I think this was as much as test of mental fortitude as physical capabilities, and seeing the evidence of my crew-mates’ efforts only reaffirms the faith that everyone is willing to push themselves to conquer these challenges.


World in a Day

Lockdown is a real problem for training. There’s the obvious lack of opportunity to train as a crew, but the bigger issue (at least for me) is trying to maintain the motivation to jump onto that ergo and row. Clive, Dunc, Ross and I all compete on the Scottish Coastal Rowing circuit and we, like many others, are staring down the barrel of an entire season going by without ever stepping into a boat. It’s not good for your head.

Dunc messaged the group to say he’d found a lockdown ergo challenge for us to do and we signed up immediately. Anything that breaks from the current norms and gives you a challenge to get your teeth into has got to be good!

World in a Day is the brainchild of Mark Beaumont, cyclist and adventurer extraordinaire, who wanted to recreate his epic Round the World record by covering the 240 miles that he’d cycled each day during that challenge, but this time on his turbo trainer. His aim was to get another 79 cyclists to do the same so that between them they could cycle the whole world in one, very sweaty, day.

The first session, hosted on a massive live Zoom call last Thursday, was a great success and on the back of that John Davidson (of Mad Giraffe Atlantic Rowing) decided to get in on the action and recruit 150 rowers to help him cross the Atlantic in one day. It meant rowing 20 miles or 32k each which would easily be the longest any of our crew has ever sat continuously on an ergo.

What a fantastic day! The online peloton (Zoom chat) meant you could see and chat to the other rowers and cyclists taking part, and periodically Mark brought on special guests to be interviewed, including Jamie Maclean of the Broar brothers who rowed Talisker last year and Laura Penhaul of the Coxless Crew (their documentary Losing Sight of Shore is on Netflix) who rowed the Pacific in 2015.

There was no competition mentality and since it wasn’t a distance any of us had tried before it was quite relaxing to just find a rhythm and stick to it. The other guys all had childcare and homeschooling to deal with, so split the distance into manageable chunks, but I had decided to do it in one go, reasoning that I might not want to get back on again if I stopped! I started fairly conservatively to make sure I didn’t blow but by the end had found my stride and was ticking along very nicely. I finished in 2 hours and 15 mins and had a little trouble standing up after the finish, and my crew mates all put in big finishes for their last sessions. The video below is of our post challenge reactions. We’re all in surprisingly good form, which probably explains why we’re going to do it again next Thursday!