US Rowed Trip

A few quick facts:

  • I set off from Miami on March 3rd and finished 1800 miles later on June 12th in New York City
  • The row was supported meaning there was no vessel or land based team assisting me along the way.
  • I completed the event solo without the use of a motor, sail or fellow rower.
  • I used a 15 foot open-decked row boat so there was no protection from the wind or rain.
  • Oh, and I had no prior rowing or seafaring experience – but I guess I have now rowed more than my fair share of miles so can’t keep saying that.

The Route

My route will see me travel along the East Coast of America setting out in Miami and finishing 1800 miles later in New York City.

I spilt my time between the Intracoastal Waterway and the open waters of the Atlantic ocean. Whilst my boat was not designed for ocean rowing I decided to spend a lot of time in the ocean to avoid other boats, running aground on shallow water, the string times and the short steep waves. There were also less alligators out there which was nice.

Training

Before I left for America I had no prior rowing or seafaring experience. Also, since the plan was a last minute one, there was no real opportunity to train. In one newspaper article I was described as not being ‘an experienced outdoorsman’ and whilst I have no idea what that really means, Its true to say I didn’t have a great deal of prior experience of camping or being in the wild. This explains why on the first day I set off without matches, batteries, a map, a compass, a rain coat etc.

But with the row not over and ‘experienced outdoorsman’ embossed on my business card, I like to think that the journey I made is really quite achievable for anyone to do at the drop of a hat.

Here is a picture from my first and only training session on the River Dart. I went with a friend called Steve. We had fun but couldn’t make it through a storm so had to turn back.

The Boat

Bill Larson from Little River Marine was kind enough to make me a super little rowing boat.

It was just 15 foot long, a few feet wide, weighed around 80 pounds and had no cover from the elements. As I was unsupported in my endeavour, I had to carry several days of supplies and had to sleep onboard as well.

It may have been a fairly wet, cramped and sleepless three months but had Bill not made such a great boat I would never have made it to New York. A sail or motor would be the only improvements I could recommend.

 

Sponsors

I am really grateful to have received the backing of a number of fantastic sponsors who have given time, kit and funds to make my project possible. With their help I will be kept safe and will be able to raise money for the Fisher Center.

As well as being my principle sponsor, Iamfine developed a fantastic audio diary where I could leave messages for people following the journey. Take a listen to the ramblings of a heat-stroke suffering isolated rower by clicking here

Iamfine.com is a simple to use telephone service that allows family and friends to care for their loved ones and have reassurance that they are OK. Loved Ones call-in each day. It takes just 15 seconds, if they forget, Iamfine will call them. If there is no response their care circle – a group of concerned friends and relatives – will be alerted by phone or email.

In addition, I am also really grateful to Steve and Calum at Daemon Solutions who have donated an iPhone (and a white one at that) to help keep me connected with the land; Olympus for a waterproof camera; Raymarine for a fancy VHF Radio so I could here big vessels cursing me for using the shipping lanes; Tecmarine for giving me a distress becon (still in good working order); Powerfilm for a set of foldable solar panels and Ocean Sleepwear for an amazing waterproof sleeping bag.

5 Comments

  1. Lewis you are going to need a lot of sun screen. I can probably give you some to get started. It doesn’t rain all the time inFlorida, in spite of what yo experienced on arrival

  2. Excellent point!!! SUNSCREEN and lip balm wiht sunscreen are BEYOND essential!!! And a really good hat. Sure you’ve got that…

  3. We are cruising on The Independence Ship. we have passed you near Sapelo Island. Hope to see you in Charleston. Is it possible to support journey with cash for necessary supplies etc.?

    We wish you well. To support you, where would we send donations?

    Best of Success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Our cruise ends in Charleston. Therefore, a speedy response is needed.

    • Marilyn,

      I do indeed remember your ship passing me. The channel was fairly narrow at that point and for a moment it looked as though I might get run down. Sorry If I slowed your cruise down atall – I met some of the staff when you docked that night in Beaufort.

      I a touched that you took the time to track me down and that you make such a generous offer of supporting me personally. That’s rare indeed! It is a most kind offer but I am not doing this for personal gain (even if a bottle or two of water is hardly personal gain…) but I love the spirit in which you offered. If you are still keen on supporting the charity it would mean a great deal and this can be done through the homepage of this site or by using this link http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/lewiscolam/iamfine

      Please continue to follow my progress (through Facebook, Twitter and my audio diary on this site) and mention what I am doing to friends and family. There is no support or media team so every little help goes a long way.

      Enjoy the rest of your holiday

      Lewis

  4. Well done, brave heart., on reaching your target. The 10 pence I donated must have been the clincher! Don’t get despondent, the end iwill be sweet.
    Love aunts KATHARINE

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