Rowing the Indian Ocean
From past experience, Maxime knows that as with every such endeavour, it is the members’ men- tal strength and their interaction as a team that will make or break the achievement.
Maxime has chosen to lead a three-man team, which he believes boasts the greatest chances of success during tough adventures. His two teammates: Livar Nysted (Faroe Islands, Denmark aged 42) and Stuart Kershaw (UK, aged 33) have the necessary knowledge, skill, experience and will, for this crossing. Both have successfully rowed across the Atlantic and are eager to embark on this epic adventure.
Bought in Europe, the chosen boat has been stripped of its original paint, re-decked and fitted with a new rudder, center board, and a complete set of electronics. It will be shipped to Lebanon where its final fittings and tests will be carried out on the Mediterranean.
Only then will it be ready to be transported to Australia for the crossing.
Conditions aboard the 29-foot boat (8.8m) will not be comfortable, in fact far from it. When not on row duty, the crewmembers will be trying to recuperate in polyphasic sleep cycles amid damp and cramped conditions. Besides sleep deprivation, slow starvation is inevitable as the row- ers’ bodies will not be replenishing the amount of calories burnt from rowing up to 14 hours a day.
The cyclone season is usually over by May. For this reason, the team is aiming to leave Perth – Australia before the end of July 2013.
The crossing could take anything from 70 to 95 days. During the first weeks at sea the members’ bodies will go into a form of shock.
Despite the relentless rocking they will adjust to the new environment and unrelenting nature of the duties. Thereafter, trepidation and seasickness should subside as the boat inches westward.
WEATHER AND CAPSIZE DANGER
The weather across the Indian Ocean won’t be the same as that experienced during the Mediter- ranean sea-trials. The team will have to row in high seas, often against wind and current. There will certainly be bad weather at some stage during the crossing and there is a chance the boat may be involved in a hurricane. The risk of capsizing is real, but the boat is a self-righting one and the hatches are designed to be hermetic.
Rowing the Indian Ocean
There is far less shipping across the Indian Ocean than the Atlantic for example. Yet, the latter has successfully been rowed across several times. Still, the danger of collision with large vessels is real and taken very seriously. Sharks, whales and dolphins will be common sight, but do not pose any such problems (although a boat considered for this journey survived a hit by an 800-pound sword- fish!) There will be no support vessel, but there is a life raft on board. This is only a measure of last-resort if the boat is sinking god forbid, as one only climbs up to a life raft, never down.
A FINAL WORD
For anyone who thinks that rowing an ocean is a physical activity, they’re less than half right.
It is also all about keeping one’s mind functioning properly when everything around may be going haywire. All three members must approach this project with the attitude of giving more than receiving and helping more than getting help.
Success on this endeavor isn’t given. The number of people who have summited Everest is much greater than those who have rowed across an ocean, let alone the Indian Ocean. As a matter of fact, more humans have stood on the moon than boats been rowed across the Indian Ocean.
From the high mountain to the high seas…
‘There is an Everest for Everyone’