When the OAR team first dreamed up the idea to row Bojangles home to the UK, it was clear that this project was to be about much more than their individual challenge. Andrew “Mos” Morris has always been passionate about working with young people, and the motto of the expedition quickly became ‘to inspire the next generation of ocean rowers and adventurers’.
Thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors and the individuals we told our story to, team OAR has been able to buy a brand new Flashboat for Penryn Rowing Club, allowing them to expand their junior programme.
Phil Starkey from Penryn RC said “It was a pleasure to meet Andrew, and we are so thankful to him and the OAR team for their amazing rowing efforts and for choosing us to receive such a wonderful donation towards a new Flashboat. Many, many thanks. The Flashboat, now registered as Number 3, will be used for training junior members of the club and enabling them to race competitively. We are already taking steps to try and gain more junior members by posting flyers around the local community and are in talks with the local college to arrange a regular event or after school club, where groups of children will be able to come and learn the sport of ocean rowing. Now that we have a much more up to date and comfortable boat, we hope that this will help to encourage youngsters to join the club and stay with the sport.”
In the words of Andrew Morris “It’s amazing how in this Olympic year, people across the country have been inspired by a new kind of role model and are seeking to take up sport as a result. I hope that we too have played some small part in helping young people get out on the water and broaden their horizons. Our thanks also goes to The Rowing Foundation, who facilitated the OAR fundraising efforts and selected Penryn Rowing Club as a deserving club amongst many seeking to encourage more young people to take up their oars.”
The OAR Just Giving Page is still open. If you would like to continue to support the great work of The Rowing Foundation, please click here.
A great day on the water today as the OAR team made their way from Bray Marina (right opposite Dorney Lake, the Olympic Rowing Venue) to Twickenham Yacht Club.
Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris put in an incredible 11 hours of rowing almost non stop to cover well over 30 miles, our greatest distance to date. And finally a taste of British Summer time! Lots of day trippers out on the River Thames, plenty of people stopping to ask what on earth we were up to. Credit to the boat at Chertsey Lock who threw across a couple of cold beers when they were told Bojangles had made it all the way from Bristol.
It was gone 7pm by the time Mos made it to Twickenham Yacht Club, where once more we received a warm welcome. Big thanks for the homemade soup and nibbles, sustenance was much appreciated!
The dizzy heights of London town are definitely getting closer.
Another wet day on the inland waterways. We started out from Theale, destination Reading. Final day on the Kennet and Avon canal was one of twists and turns and we spent a fair amount of time negotiating reeds, and a few trees…
Once again great support along the way especially as we came into Reading city centre. Thanks to the welcome committee from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, who bid us farewell as we entered the River Thames.
Also great to see the guys from the Amber Foundation back with the support team, the extra pairs of hands have been greatly missed on the locks over the past couple of days.
Next stop, Henley-on-Thames tomorrow. Can’t wait to take Bojangles down the historic Regatta course.
Don’t forget we’re raising money for the Rowing Foundation along the way, to buy boats for young people, getting the next generation of rowers and adventurers out on the water. To find out more or make a donation click here.
Should have more pictures for you soon, but in the mean time check out our twitter feed, @oatlanticrow.
Today a task of marathon proportions lay ahead for Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris, Bojangles and the OAR support crew; the notorious stretch of locks up Caen Hill. No fewer than 29 locks over 2 miles, rising a total of 237 ft.
Luckily, team OAR had a fantastic team of volunteers on hand from the Amber Foundation, who had perfected their drill through the locks over the last couple of days. It went a little something like this;
Amber crew Dom and Tyler run ahead to open up the next lock
OAR mother ship (a narrow boat more commonly known as foxtrot) enters lock
Mos punts Bojangles into lock and maneuvers alongside the mother ship
Mos jumps off Bo and onto the mother ship, tying her alongside (very hazardous in wet conditions)
Amber crew and Mos fend Bo off the side of the lock with oars/mop/variety of limbs
Amber crew Jo and Keely close lock gates behind Bo and the mother ship
Dom and Tyler fill the lock, easing Bojangles up to the next level before opening the gates
Mos punts Bo out onto the pond
Jo and Keely run ahead to open next Lock
REPEAT 29 TIMES…
Of course we all had a bit of fun along the way, and were invited to join a celebration of the amalgamation of the waterways half way up. Bouncy castle and all! Even when the heavens opened after lunch, the Amber crew worked on. By the time we were greeted by the Mayor of Devizes at the top of the hill, everyone was soaked to the skin, but still smiling! A massive thank you to our amazing team. Job well done.
Technical difficulties uploading photos but stay posted over the weekend or check us out othe twitter @oatlanticrow for regular updates!
Today was a day of two halves for Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris and the OAR team. It was an early start from Bristol where Mos was joined by journalist Peter Crush. Familiar with rowing on the River Thames, he soon learnt that rowing Bojangles, our 800kg ocean going boat, was an entirely different sport.
The end of the Bristol basin was as far as Mos was allowed to take Bojangles, however. Flooding on the river Avon meant the Harbour Master at Bristol and river authorities determined no boats were allowed to leave the safety of the harbour by water.
Undeterred, team OAR went for plan B… A short while later, Bojangles hit the water once more at Bath, where we were joined by a whole host of helping hands from the Amber Foundation . The Amber Foundation helps homeless young people gain confidence, motivation and skills to get their lives back on track and find work.
” A total of 8 Amberteers got stuck in opening the locks and manning the ropes to help Mos through Bath city centre. Consensus was everyone had a really good day and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We’re delighted to be a part of this very worthwhile venture and will be right by Mos each day for the next week lending our support” said team leader Janine.
Team OAR team was given a fantastic reception in Bath from local river champion Dave Lammings and guests, who joined Mos on the river as Bojangles became the first boat to enter the Kennet & Avon canal following the amalgamation of the waterways; the canal trusts, river authorities and British waterways.
Mos soon found that certain arts of the canal weren’t quite wide enough to entertain oars. It turns out Bojangles is easily adapted to punting!
As Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris gears up for his journey across the UK through the Inland Waterways, it is clear that he wouldn’t get nearly as far without his valued support team. This time, he’s teaming up with the Amber Foundation. Each day, between 3-5 Amber residents aged 17 to 28 years will be coming along to escort Bojangles from Bristol to Pewsey. Their main contribution will be opening the many locks en route, clearing the way for Andrew to make it through to London in time for the start of the Olympics.
Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris explains what’s in store for the OAR boat and team on the British inland waterways this summer. We’ll be raising money for the OAR Legacy fund to help get young people out on the water, rowing.
I don’t doubt that Roz and I could have made it across the North Atlantic. When the two of us put our minds to something, there isn’t much that will stop either one of us. But this time, the risks were simply too high. The responsibility we have to our families, friends, sponsors and supporters to ensure a successful outcome, left us with little choice. To make the decision not to row is hugely disappointing, but we were here to do something inspiring, not something stupid. Bojangles would have been no match for sharp, compacted, several-thousand-year-old ice.
I had hoped that this would be a final blog to bid farewell to dry land before we started our voyage across the North Atlantic. But if you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of weeks you will have noticed our growing concern about the unusually large quantities of ice off the coast of Newfoundland, largely due to the huge chunk of ice that broke off a Greenland glacier 2 years ago which has now drifted south into Canadian waters, breaking up into a minefield of icebergs as it goes.
Given our immovable deadline of reaching London in time for the start of the Olympics, we unfortunately don’t have the option to wait until the ice dissipates, which will take another couple of weeks at least. After much soul searching, it is with regret that we have come to the difficult decision to postpone our row for this year. The chances of hitting ice – and the serious consequences of a punctured hull in freezing North Atlantic waters – meant that the risk to our safety was simply unacceptable.
“That’s the biggest iceberg I’ve ever seen in these waters,” said Harry Spurrell, native Newfoundlander, as he took us on a tour of the icebergs around Torbay today. Mos and I were out in his speedboat to get up close and personal with the bergs that could impede our progress across the North Atlantic.
Yesterday I went out on a plane to check out the ice situation offshore. Despite a favourable forecast, Mother Nature decided to hide her icy secrets in an extensive layer of fog. After being in the air for over 5 hours, the only icebergs I was able to see were within half a mile of shore. Those further offshore were shrouded in mists and mystery, pending further visual investigation, I decided to do some research online.
Given our current preoccupation with unusually high numbers of bergy bits and other ice fragments off the coast of Newfoundland this year, it seems poignant that we have just passed the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Mos and I plan to take a wreath with us in remembrance of those lives lost at sea.