BLOG #5 – May 9, 2021
Another month has flown by, and it’s been a busy month. Despite having a week of business travel, I still managed to make it out to Pyramid Lake 3 times for my weekly on the water rows.
But even more helpful, I made another trip to the SF Bay. I did another overnight row including circumnavigating Angel Island and mooring there. Part of the reason for this trip is that Atlantic Campaigns (the race organizer) requires each team to complete 120 hrs. of rowing on their boat before they can ship the boat to the start line. But even further, they will only count 24 hrs. of rowing on lakes, rivers or lochs toward this requirement. With my weekly Pyramid Lake rows, I have maxed out these hours. And while I will continue to row regularly on Pyramid, I need to spend as much time as I can on the SF Bay and on the open ocean. In addition, Atlantic Campaigns requires that 48 of the 120 hours be completed at night. So, on this trip to SF Bay, I decided to do my first night row.
I got up at 2:30 a.m. with plan to get underway at 3 a.m. As I was eating my oatmeal, I unexpectedly watched an oil tanker go by. Leaving Angel Island, I watched a cargo container ship sail by. Hmmm. Hopefully these were only two ships I would encounter. But as I was nearing the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, I noticed lights behind me that were not there 5 min ago. Turned out to be another cargo container ship heading to the bridge with me.
All in all, it was a totally awesome row. Watching the moon rise. Seeing two shooting stars. Completely serene.
One of the questions I get asked regularly is “How’s the training going”. And while physical training is a critical part of preparing for the row, its only one part of the preparation. We are required to complete 5 courses – Essential Seamanship & Navigation; Marine Radio Operator; First Aid; Sea Survival and Ocean Rowing. This month I took my first step towards fulfilling these requirements and completed the Essential Seamanship & Navigation course. And I am now studying for the Marine Radio Operator exam. I will complete the rest of the courses over the next 7 weeks.
Similarly, we have 19 detailed pages listing our mandatory equipment for the row. This month, I spent time inventorying all my equipment and ordered the items I was missing. Even with the equipment I do have, there is time spent. My emergency locator beacons were registered in Belgium where the previous owner lives. This required me to search out a service provider who could reprogram the devices for the USA. Likewise, Atlantic Campaigns requires the life raft to be serviced within months of the race start. My life raft isn’t required to be serviced until May 2022. But I still need to search out a service provider how could service my Italian life raft. Only a handful of companies in the USA who can do so.
We have also been working on scheduling events that will help us spread awareness about Okizu and the great work they do. We had been in discussions with the organizers of The Lake Tahoe Concours de Elegance. Historical wooden power boats from across the country attend this event, drawing a huge attendance over two days. The plan was to have Jack Keane displayed during the event, where we could inform attendees about the race and Okizu. Unfortunately, due to on-going Covid uncertainties, the Board decided to cancel this year’s event. Very disappointing, but we continue to press forward and hope to announce another event in the next month. Cross your fingers for us.
These are just a few examples of the things we are focusing on besides physical training. In closing, a couple of Okizu factoids. Okizu is the only oncology camp serving N. California & Nevada. Okizu is one of a few camps nationally serving siblings of children w/ cancer. Okizu hosts family camp to support all family members. Please help us spread the word about supporting Okizu.