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.
Here is something I’ve never had to contend with before – bergy bits. They might sound cute, but these mini-icebergs, calved from larger icebergs further north, are causing no small amount of consternation in the OAR camp.
Yesterday I was sitting in the boat shed with Mos (and Bojangles, of course) as we discussed our safety strategies. This is top of our minds – and for good reason. If you go to the Ocean Rowing Society website, the little box at the bottom of the page that sums up the stats on Atlantic rows from West to East reads like this:
Completed: 19 Incomplete: 33 Rowers lost at sea: 5
These are sobering statistics. A closer look at the numbers however, shows that the odds are actually pretty good.
Bojangles has come a long way since her maiden voyage across the Pacific. Although still structurally sound, a lot of work has been required to get her ready for the OAR. Learning from experience, a number of improvements have also been made to her original design. Here’s just some of the things the OAR team have been busy working on over the last few months.
We’re delighted to formally announce that Sentinel Consulting has joined the OAR Project as a Gold Sponsor. Having been involved with the OAR Project since its beginning, Sentinel Consulting will be providing emergency support 24/7 while Andrew and Roz are out at sea.
Sentinel Consulting provides practical solutions for people operating in remote areas, specialising in health, safety and logistics. Sentinel Consulting’s business is built around a network of experts who have years of experience both working and playing in the wilderness. It is based on ethical practice both in the wilderness environments they love and in their straight-talking business relationships. The Sentinel Consulting team is proud to enjoy long term relationships with their clients, seeing projects right through from a back-of-an-envelope sketch to well-run, sustainable and commercially-viable solutions. Read more
The rigorous 2012 training regime is well underway with a focus for Andrew Morris on managing a number of injuries sustained during his last row in 2005. Andrew has enlisted the help of leading expert Dr Rodger Oldham to regrow the damaged ligaments in his back using a groundbreaking technique, prolotherpay.