Welcome! My name is Tommy Tippetts and this is my website covering my attempt to row the Atlantic Ocean, setting out in January 2012.
Below is my blog where you will be able to keep up to date with all areas of my preparation, from sponsors to securing a boat and all my training to prepare for such a challenge.
Please also take some time to look at why I am doing this row, raising money and awareness for mental health in this country and any small donation you can make will go a long way to improving lives of many people around the UK. Please click below to sponsor me on my row in aid of Mind. I am hoping to raise £25,000 for the charity and any contribution you can make, small or big, would be gratefully received.
Solo Atlantic Row 2011
Read Tommy's blog as he prepares to take on 'the World's toughest rowing race'
Charity 24 hour row
Just a week after the fundraiser dinner I was in London Victoria Station for my big charity event for Mind. Set on the main concourse of the station the plan was that I would row for 24 hours (although not non-stop, only breaking to eat and toilet stops) whilst on a second rowing machine I had friends and family rowing for an hour each.
Now I had written to all the big train stations in London asking about the possibility of putting on this event and Victoria were actually the only ones who came back and said it was feasible and that they could give me a date to do it. Not only that they really did help me out in getting the best pitch possible (right in the middle of the concourse) and not having to pay for it, and for that I am hugely thankful to the station.
Before Saturday I had only rowed for about 3 hours at any one time so I was going in a bit blind, but thought there would be enough to keep me occupied throughout the day speaking to people who came up etc and then it was just the early hours to contend with.
Although starting late (due to start 7am Saturday but first stroke was pulled at 7.15) all went really well throughout the day. Apart from the first shift, everyone turned up to row and a lot then stayed on to help with bucket collecting which was amazing. We were getting a fair amount of attention with lots of people asking questions etc and also a lot of people who knew the charity donating as well.
With the dinner only the week before it was a bit of a rush to get everything together and in hindsight a banner telling everyone it was a 24 hour row would have been a good idea. We had a Mind banner and a banner for my row across the Atlantic, which included information about how many days, how many oars stroked, how many miles etc but we did need to tell people that it was a 24 hour row! This became somewhat apparent when I was asked a few times if I was going to be in the station rowing for 80 days (as it said on the info banner)...
The first 12 hours I averaged at least 10k an hour and breaks of less than 5 minutes an hour. I had even managed not to use seat padding which I am pretty happy with, especially (as anyone who has sat on a rowing machine before) the seats aren’t known for how comfortable they are!
Obviously the second 12 hours were going to be the tough ones, through the night and the challenge was just to keep enough food and water going in. It is also not just about eating anything, especially for what I was doing. When training for a few hours sweets and high sugar foods are good as they give you the kick you need. But I had to be careful as sugar, after giving you a high, gives you a low. So my diet throughout the 24 hours consisted of: pasta, couscous, burger king French fries (amazing!) , brioche, breakfast bars (oats), energy bars and Orbana which is very low in Glucose. This meant that I was getting the complex carbs in that I needed to keep my energy up, but avoiding the highs and lows that comes from eating lots of sugar.
Also water intake is again key. Great thing about rowing on a rowing machine is that you can eat and drink as you row, just use one hand for a couple of strokes. Harder on the boat as you have to stop rowing, but you can still quickly take drinks and mouthfuls of food. If you think about other sports- running, cycling, swimming, it is so much harder to keep the energy you require. So next to me I had a big pile of food and a load of water. Over the 24 hours I think I drank the best part of 12 litres!
So after the evening rush and the station was starting to quieten down it started to then become more about finishing the 24 hours. I hadn’t had anyone sign up for 1-7am, I wasn’t too bothered as I had planned just to stick the headphones in and get on with it, kind of have to get used to rowing on my own as it is...
Anyway Jon Stratford, my trainer, was on at midnight and had come by earlier with his girlfriend Flo and said they would do the night shift with me to 7. Absolutely amazing and i very much thank them for that! Especially Flo as before Saturday she had never rowed for more than 10 minutes on a rowing machine, but pulled 3 one hour shifts. Jon is ex RM pti so no excuses but still very good of him to do it.
Did get fairly tough through 3-5am, the body just seems to know that it’s that time and starts to shut down and want sleep. I was expecting this to be the hardest time, not many people around either (apart from those catching the early trains home after a night out) so was a battle to get through and time went pretty slowly (next time I probably won’t face the rowing machines towards the station clock!) But as I say with Jon and Flo there is was a huge help and got through it!
Mum and Dad turned up at 6 for the last hour and by that point it was getting lighter, more people around and end was in site. Apart from almost getting molested by a prostitute with 10 minutes to go (who really kindly sprayed perfume on my face) jon and me finished up with a last minute sprint. Think he beat me by 3 metres or something like that but I would expect so!
So final totals from the 24 hours: 225km rowed, 12000 calories burned, 7000 consumed, 12 litres of water drunk, maybe lost about half a kg and hopefully raised about £1000! All in all a very good 24 hours!
As I say a massive thank you to everyone who rowed, collected money or just came and supported. It all helped and sure will make a difference in how much ended up going to the charity! There is one photo from the day up on the gallery but I will get more up soon.
Also there was a little competition with the other rowers, furthest distance in an hour (for those who actually rowed for an hour...)
1stPlace: Jon Stratford- 15,142m
2ndPlace: Paul Arthur- 14,437m
3rdPlace: Willie Ashton- 14,367m
Some awesome distances there, great effort from Willie who only lost out by 70m to Paul who has about 25 years on him!