Woodside, California
A few people have raised the very valid point that putting extra weight in my boat will slow me down. Fans of Rob Hamill’s book, The Naked Rower, will recall that he was obsessive about keeping excess weight to as little as possible, taking only the bare (!) minimum of personal items and even dumping food overboard when it became clear that they were going to finish sooner than expected.

By adding up to 100kg (220lb) of lead to my boat – the equivalent of a pretty big passenger – I will undoubtedly be slowing down the boat. However, the effect on my daily mileages may not be as great as you’d think. These words from Phil Morrison, the boat designer:

The extra weights (50kg or 100kg) will increase the whetted area and hence the drag by 1.8% and 3.5% (we can ignore the other forms of resistance at the speed you will be moving). This amounts to 0.9% and 1.7% decrease in speed for the same power input. That equates to 0.6 mile per day for the worst case, assuming you can manage around 35 miles a day. It may be possible that the extra stability will make the boat easier to row and you’d get that back in practice, who knows?

So I think I can live with that as a percentage. My priority for the Pacific, which is not a race, is to have a good time, rather than make good time.

On the Atlantic I made life difficult for myself by being impatient to get across. In fact my original goal had not been to compete in a race at all, but simply to have a big adventure and hopefully learn a few things about life along the way – and to share that adventure and those life lessons with anybody who might be interested.

So if it takes me a few extra days, but those extra days are good days, then I don’t mind.

Remind me I said this when I’ve been eating ocean rations for 4 months!!

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