Update on my preparations, research, information gathering, concerns and thoughts.
Hello there. After a few weeks of “radio silence”, I felt it was important to post another update (video) given the constant developments to my story and preparations which I find exciting and hopefully you will as well.
Before I start, I want to let you know that this video is about 30 minutes long and if you do not want to watch the whole thing. I highlighted some main points and add starting minutes in my comments bellow, so you fast forward and or just skip to what you find interesting and or not. Hopefully it’ll be helpful.
The season for ocean rowing in New York ended in late November and is over for me until the spring.
My weekend routine became somewhat simpler not having to row outdoors,which would usually take me the full weekends time. Now, I am mostly training indoors with the occasional morning run, which opened up my schedule and gave me time to research online, read and continue, preparations.
Having said that, it is not less time consuming nor less stressful.
Good thing is that I choose the level of my own stress that I am putting onto myself in order to push towards what I need to accomplish in the long run step-by-step from now to finish.
(NOW) What am I focusing on? What is my research about?
What are my concerns? and
What is my source of information?
So, some of the things am I researching about?
in terms of logistics are:
1. I am trying to choose the most favorable departure date for me.
Originally, I was thinking mid- June, but based on my recent research and conversations with Lawrence Walters, who rowed with Tom Rainey together from NY to UK in 2015, I am now I am thinking of leaving mid- to late May.
I am not sure how long it’ll take me to row the extra 1200-1300 miles distance between my departure point and the solo rowers preferred northern position due to its closer proximity to UK, the destination. Given the fact that I am the first person attempting to do this as a single rower and without any support… . here is what I am interested in the most. The difficulty and challenges of this section in particular, and not that the rest will be any easier. To date, there were exactly 5 solo rowers who rowed from St. Johns (Newfoundland Canada) and on average it took them 60 days to reach land from that point so it’s very important for me to be able to tell how long this section is going to take me.
Once I arrive to the northern point, it will be somewhat easier to estimate my time out, but from where I am starting, it’s a big unknown. So, I don’t want to be out there too late in the season and be exposed to more storms as they build up.
2. This ties into another concern of choosing the right weather service so I can hopefully have a little edge in knowing what’s coming my direction, how fast and, or how long decent weather is going to last which would help in planning my rowing schedule.
3. Also there is still a minor detail in deciding and hoping to find some spot to leave from downtown Manhattan to make my journey's start more ceremonial similar to how George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen left being historically the first ocean rowers from Battery Park in New York City in June of 1896. It would great if I could leave somewhere from Manhattan as well, being proud New Yorker.
What are my concerns?
1. Now I am also in the process of also making sure that all my equipment on the boat are fully functional: I need to register my EPIRB device, I need to choose my network provider which will be basically my connection with rest of the world; although, the data plans are limited, I would still love to find service where I can actually share some videos and / or send out pictures in decent resolution other than 3 times resized photos in 20 minutes, but that may very well be the reality of my only way to send out information. I know I will have limited access, but I should be able to send out email, send out text message and make a phone call in case of emergency.
2. Also, I will have tracking service via satellite via this yellow device that I actually had to send to England for repair because its connector was broken off and it didn’t work. This will be a direct link to on my website and anyone who is interested in following my journey will be able to see my progress and location in real time.
3. I have to make sure I have all the essentials such as para anchor, drags, ropes, rigging hardware, my water maker which needs to be serviced tested ( that I’ll do in spring) and it is crucial for me to keep these in mind. I am constantly making up lists for which I keep journal/log. I am trying to be methodical and plan as my life depends on it because it absolutely does. I am concerned about the food I’ll eat much I should bring,what to buy to make it as interesting as possible.,I am somewhat expecting to be out there for about 4 months based on what I see, so I must have enough food for the entire time and hopefully not to get completely sick of it in the first month.
4. I am also checking and making sure that the batteries I have are properly tested. To be safe, I am looking into getting replacements, I am in touch with several experts on batteries so now I am becoming expert myself. I need to find out a whole lot about the load that I will putting under during my trip, how much power my electronics require including water maker and the charging capacity of the three solar panels on the boat and so on. This is also crucially important for me to be safe, have a connection with the world to be able to charge my phone, be able to read my chart plotter navigation, have a simple light and / or to be able to charge my cameras so I can record my life on the sea.
5. Another thing that I am still in process of getting is my clothing. Again I am very limited with my funding given the fact I don’t have any external sources of income, so I cannot afford to buy 2-3 jackets in case one fails so that I have a spare or couple pairs of offshore trousers and some heavy duty shoes and or couple spares of offshore sneakers.
I was told that the best-case scenario is to have some spare clothing. I will take what I can, but I really need to choose one good jacket, one good quality pants for bad weather and one for worst weather, and some good quality deck shoes that will last me for the trips entire duration - I am keeping an eye on a couple of those. I would like to choose some gear soon and I will so I can have it shipped in time for me to try-on , row with it at home and hopefully see whether the sizing is okay etc. North Atlantic is known for its harsh weather and I am rowing the colder route, so I need to be absolutely one hundred percent ready.
Where do I gather my information?
Reading books, asking questions, researching online and studying other people’s experiences and or journeys crossing the Atlantic. In this case I am very fortunate because I can talk to my friend Bryce Carlson who I bought my boat from and is the American that who rowed across the North Atlantic from Newfoundland Canada with record- breaking time to the same destination as mine, so his feedback is invaluable to me and he has been and is more than helpful. Also as mentioned previously to Lawrence Walters whose feedback and advice is also tremendous, since it’s nearly impossible for me to find anyone who’d been recently rowing from New York, and certainly nobody who has done it solo.
How do I feel about all this? It hasn’t even been a whole year yet since I decided to do this and I am super excited as this whole thing is very new to me. I do feel like I am quickly becoming an expert on the sport and all that comes with it. I am sure people who’d accomplished this would say that this sounds kind of arrogant to say and I am not trying to sound this way, but I do feel like I am getting answers to most of my questions (ASSUMING I’M ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!) and becoming more and more confident in my knowledge and with the whole process. I’m very determined, dedicated and focused. I am on decent diet, I am following my daily workout routine and since last September I drink no alcohol which helps me with my overall preparation not only physically but especially mentally.
I am of course very concerned about the weather , the ocean, the pains and aches I must go through, but I can always talk about the details that I think can really make my trip miserable another time. I am aware of those and not underestimating any of them.
So, this is mostly what’s on my mind these days.
What can you expect from me in the near future?
I am preparing one short video of my daily routine in terms of training.
Another video will be related to my cause and what message would I like to spread
Before I press the turn off button
I have a couple things I would like to ask you.
1. please comment on my post, … this one or the previous, ask me any questions, see view my website.
Be critical, it’s okay. I’ll be very happy to respond to everyone and if you have any kind of advice, information, tips and or experience, please share with me. As you can see,there really is no second Milan and or another person that I’d be working with to make this happen. It’s all me and I am truly happy and proud that I can create such a challenge and tackle this endeavor relying mostly on myself, making something out of nothing.
2. If you have any advise in terms nautical navigation or source of information other than what I’ve already mentioned please let me know.
Thank you !
You can also see full video at :