BLOG #7 – June 22, 2021

 

Less than 6 months to race start!!!  At times, it can be a challenge to recognize how much progress is being made while processing how much work still needs to be done.

 

This month didn’t get to include a lot of time on the water as I needed to have boat trailer repairs performed which meant not being able to launch for a bit over two weeks.  But even while being landlocked, progress was being made – I used this time to go back to Bikram yoga for first time in over 4 years.  Hurts so good and working on flexibility is important to offset all the rowing.  I also was able to complete my mandatory Ocean Rowing Course.  Due to the lingering Covid travel restrictions, I did this class via Zoom with team 721 Challenge (UK team) and Sonja from team Prowject X (Swiss team).

 

Race rules require the life raft to be serviced within 6 months of the race start date.  So despite the life raft still being in its current service period, I made a quick trip to Long Beach to drop my life raft off for servicing.  Why Long Beach and not somewhere closer?  The life raft is Italian made and there are only two companies in the USA that are factory authorized service centers.  😊

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After the hugely successful Meet the Boat Happy Hour last month in San Rafael, I headed to Seattle for a mandatory Sea Survival course.  Unfortunately, our instructor was involved in a car crash enroute to the training.  Fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured.  And while our sea survival course was understandably cancelled; I was fortunate to spend time with my fellow rowers – team Pacific Boys.  They were kind enough to take me out on their boat and we rowed to dinner on Lake Union (Seattle).  It was great to compare training experiences.  Being a solo vs. a 4 person team is a completely different experience.  What, you don’t have to get your boat in and out of the dock by yourself?  Someone gets to steer while someone else rows???  But then again, I could never be on a 24 ft. boat with another person for 50 plus days!!!  So, each row has its own benefits and challenges.

 

Even though the boat was out of commission for a couple of weeks, I still managed to get in a Pyramid Lake row.  During this row I got the water maker running for the first time after the repairs I had to make to it.  I also finally figured out the auto helm – it’s almost like cheating.  These were pretty major milestones!

 

Another 24 hr. trip on SF Bay to get more non-lake training hours including a night row.  Nice and varied conditions from heavy wind & white caps to calm seas and skies.  A number of firsts: made drinkable water using the water maker; tested out the AIS system (notifies other ships I am there); used the luggable loo (not socially polite topic but a crucial part of the row), and used my VHF radio.

 

Using the VHF radio was not planned.  I tied up at Angel Island and went to pay at the self-registration kiosk for my mooring.  As I walked back to the boat, I could hear radio traffic coming from the adjacent sailing boat.  Someone reported an unmanned-adrift boat in Raccoon Straits.  Another boat then was telling the Coast Guard that he had seen that boat earlier and it was manned.  As he went into his description of the boat and the rower, I realized he was describing me.  As such the Coast Guard thought they might be dealing with a missing boater.  I used the VHF radio to contact the Coast Guard and explain I was not in fact missing nor was the adrift boat my ocean rowing boat.  Coast Guard was appreciative to hear from me.  😊

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While the row in and of itself is huge personal focus for me, the bigger picture has always been about Okizu.  And while we are very focused on helping raise funds for Okizu; an equally important goal for us is to help spread awareness about Okizu.  If we can help even one family take advantage of the free programs that Okizu offers, that would be a win. 

 

In this regard, we facilitated a meeting last week with Okizu and the Northern Nevada Children Cancer Foundation.  NNCCF provides financial support to Northern Nevada families dealing with childhood cancer.  As such, both programs serve the same population, while offering different but complimentary services.  Nothing could make us happier than to see NNCCF families taking advantage of Okizu’s free family programs.

 

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With only 3 months before I have to ship the boat to the race start, it’s going to be a very busy summer.