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Meningitis Now Trustee Rod Adlington takes on the Atlantic

6th September 2023

Rod Adlington, along with three other crew members, will take to the Atlantic Ocean in an epic 3,000-mile row in memory of Rod’s son, Barney, who died of meningitis when he was three

Meningitis Now trustee Rod Adlington takes on the Atlantic

The 4-man crew will be taking part in the ‘Atlantic Dash’, an ocean rowing regatta.

Starting on the 3rd of January, the team’s route will take them across the Atlantic Ocean from Lanzarote to Antigua.

The important 5th member of the team is Mrs Nelson, the ocean rowing boat, who will be the most experienced crew member with five successful Atlantic crossings already under her bow.

Trusty (Trustee) boat

Although only the size of an average family sofa, the trusty boat will house Rod, Guy, Ryan and Alex for six weeks as they tackle 40 ft waves, 90 minute sleep sessions, and minus 40 degree temperatures.

Although Mrs Nelson’s bathroom could do with a few more mod cons (it consists of a bucket on-deck!) she does boast solar panels to charge the all-important navigation system and satellite phones, and even a gizmo that turns sea water into drinking water.

Training is an arduous but necessary aspect of the crew’s preparations. Rod told us about a recent training expedition to the Isle of Man:

“We had to search for somewhere to train and row without winds above 25 knots or harsh tides. The hardest part of this whole challenge is trying to row and train in the UK, where there are strong tides, winds, and lots of coast to collide with!

“The south coast was the initial plan and to row to the Scilly Isles, but this was quickly scuppered as 25-35 knot winds from the West were forecast.

“Finally, the team opted for a trip up north to Barrow in Furness and an attempt at rowing to the Isle of Man. The winds were forecast a lot lighter in this region and the team duly departed Barrow at 3.30pm.

Battled on

“The voyage started very well - lovely sunshine and light airs. The first six hours were uneventful, and the crew fell into a two-on, two-off routine. But, as dusk fell, the winds and waves increased. We battled on but at the tide changed, Mrs Nelson was struggling to make forward motion.

“We were a man down due to sea sickness, and after five hours of fighting against the sea and tide, and with the wind forecast to only increase, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and we should turn around.

“An exhilarating row back was had as the boat surfed down some waves as we made our way back through dawn to our base in Barrow. We filled the rest of the morning with ticking off activities required for race entry - we even fired up the water maker and made our first fresh water from sea water.”

Training will continue until January, with the next trip scheduled for September, which will involve a mandatory capsize drill in a marina in Chichester! We wish the crew so much luck for their training and will keep readers up to date with their progress.

If you would like to read more about the team’s exploits, or to support them with a donation, please visit the team’s website.