Updated: Aug 20
Written by Emily
Group dynamics can lead to the success or the failure of a high-performance, endurance sports team. This is especially true for our crew; as we’ll be living together for upwards of 30 days confined to an 8m long boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, for the majority of which we’ll be closer to the International Space Station than to fellow humans on dry land! Not to mention, that this is after the 500 days we need to spend training and campaigning together to get us to the start line... Needless to say, you can understand why I was a little nervous ahead of our crew’s first meet-up in July.
With more people having attempted to summit Mount Everest in the last year alone compared to those having rowed across an ocean ever - it’s not easy to find like-minded (or as i’m told: similarly-driven nutters) to undertake this challenge with. After exhausting all possible real-life connections, skipper Jen reached out via the world-wide web to find her crew. We all enthusiastically responded to her call and, following a rigorous social media and virtual vetting, we were tentatively welcomed aboard.
Early days of getting to know each other, during the Covid lock-down were heavily Zoom based. Whilst this provided a great starting point, we were eager to meet in person. Following the ease in restrictions, we embraced (not literally) the chance to meet up for the first time.
Thanks to Erin’s kayaks, our first taste of getting to know each other was out on the water, off the Dorset coast. Learning about each other is a critical part of forming a strong team - finding out what each of us can bring, how we respond to different situations and how best we can work together. Although our first meetup was only a day long - the sunburn, capsize, mild seasickness and convoluted train journeys provided some helpful context to start getting a feel for how we all worked together.
Having made the decision in my head that these were the strong, motivated and committed women that I wanted to row an ocean with, it was a huge sigh of relief to hear the others reflect the same message back as we returned to shore. We celebrated the end of the day but beginning of our epic adventure over fish & chips watching the sunset over the ocean.
Row On! Emily