Fw: Race Day WebBlog

JJ Rowers
Jamie Facer-Childs and James Thysse
Sun 26 Apr 2009 22:05
Jamie Facer-Childs writes:

Here in Western Australia it is Sunday 19th April, RACE DAY.  In a couple of hours time an epic event starts; an historic moment; the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race commences.  This is deemed to be the ocean with the most difficult beginning and end of any crossing - statistically it has recorded  the most failed attempts.  
During the first two or three days we must struggle against the local southwards moving current and we will have to give it everything simply to get past the Abrolhos Islands - that mass of 122 islands and reefs which lie up to 60 kms between the start line and the open sea.  At least we will still be fresh and (hopefully) blister free but, once passed the islands two tired men will then hit the brunt of an ocean, as a continental shelf meets the oceanic plate and the choppy seas become the massive waves that continually build up to frighten us, even as we sleep.
The challenge will then continue as we try to avoid just following the Trade Winds taking us up to Somalia rather than Mauritius - an event which has its own excitements and dangers.  In our nightmares we have already seen the monstrous sea battering our little boat around; we have seen sharks circling the boat ready to their lunch if we fall overboard.  And then the finish - and the potential disaster of missing that tiny dot called the finishing line.  But we have prepared, we are ready, it has been done before and we are set to achieve it again.  Our dream is to rise to the challenge, face the waves, feel the joy of working with the sea with every stroke of our oars. 
We are finally doing what we feel is the main challenge - although when we started from scratch 9 months ago many said that making the starting line was our biggest challenge.  We have put every ounce of our energy towards raising the money so that we can be in this first ever race as the youngest competitors.  We have "worked our fingers to the bone," "broken our backs," and whatever other sayings (which certainly has involved a change in sleep patterns) in order to get Southern Cross prepared, equipped and funded for this expedition.  

We cannot begin to say how much we have been supported and helped by so many people and we would like to thank you all for getting us this far.  Now we are here, we have no choice but to succeed.  We will not let you down.

Hi, I am James' mum and was able to be with them during their last few days preparing for this amazing trip.  Jamie asked me to post the above blog. 

These boys were stupendous in the run-up, they were cool, collected and very focused.  They impressed the race organisers as they rose every day at 0600hrs and started work on their boat, hours before anyone else.  They worked tirelessly in getting their boat ready and packing all their supplies to support them during their many months at sea.  Their hard work paid off as they were one of the first boats ready to make this journey and were one of the most well equipped teams as many others were borrowing equipment off them and asking their opinions on how they had tackled several tasks including the route and steering equipment.

They set off at 1100hrs on Sunday showing the world how coordinated and well they could row as there were many TV crews there.  They were correct to be nervous of the first stretch as a storm was brewing and when I flew over the fleet the next day I could really see how choppy the conditions were.  However, due to their brilliant team work and unceasing effort fighting through their sea-sickness they have passed the islands and have made it into the main ocean. 

Their progress has been good, just going north last night as they have entered the ocean.  I think this must have been due to the storm and they would have put out their para-anchor and gone inside as they have been advised not to row in winds of over 25 knots.  Their progress today has been in a more westerly direction.

You can follow their progress on http://www.indianoceanrowingrace09.com/progress/ 

God speed to you both and well done - although that doesn't come close to expressing the admiration I have for you two in your preparation and now on your journey.