On Wednesday (the more observant amongst you will notice that this has gone back a day due to kinder weather!) myself and 7 other ladies will be rowing around the Isle of Wight, but who are these people crazy enough to subject themselves to 10 to 12 hours of rowing rather then just going to work on a Wednesday I hear you ask? Well here’s your answer.

TashaTasha is, in the nicest possible way, a bit of a nutter! She has been darting between a yacht in the Carribean, New York, the UK for our training sessions and numerous other places I don’t even try to keep track of. She is fiercely competitive and I suspect she may not even understand the concept of losing. Tasha’a idea of a great birthday is a double crossfit personal training session, like I said, a nutter!

ruthRuth is an incredibly interesting lady, there’s not many people who can slip into conversation “I just bought a cave house” when asked what they are up to! Ruth grabs life by the horns, takes everything as an adventure and always seems to be smiling. Ruth has been stocking up on the bling and bright colours to lighten our boat, I suspect we will be easy to spot!

claireClaire (conveniently for me!) wrote this about herself on facebook:

‘I have never thought about rowing before I volunteered to do this. I have since found that:
Rowers are tall. I’m happy I eventually made it over the 5’4” barrier in my 20s! Rowers are muscular – I’m just not. My lifestyle does not make me muscular. I like my lifestyle! Rowers are seamlessly coordinated with their team mates. I trip over my feet, I can’t catch, and I have trouble coordinating with myself let alone with 5 other rowers. This, officially, will be the hardest 12 hours I have ever been stupid enough to volunteer for.’

Claire has come along leaps and bounds in the coordination stake since she wrote this and I’m looking forward to rowing with her.

MagdaMagda had the most impressive progress in technique that I think I have ever seen. At our first training session Magda was receiving more then her fair share of ‘coaching’ (aka shouting) from our coach. But she did not let it phase her, instead she questioned what she was doing wrong. Two weeks later Magda turned up a changed woman (in terms of rowing!) and I don’t think she got shouted at once. Apparently Magda had watched a few rowing youtube videoes, spent a bit of time on the rowing machine and hey presto, a rower was born! Magda has recently been travelling in one of my favourite places, New Zealand and her photos have made me green with envy and desperate to go back.

HayleyHayley is not part of the past clipper crew but has taken our slight oddness and tendency to talk about the odd world of offshore racing to excess in her stride! I work with Hayley at World Challenge and we have exchanged a few ‘this time in 3 weeks’ and ‘are we really doing this?’ type emails in amongst the usual work chatter! A few days after the row Hayley will be busy greeting school leaders at World Challenge’s Expedition Preparation Conferences, hopefully blisters won’t stop hand shaking and her recovery will be swift. Hayley is the one with blonde, or maybe pink hair!

KateKate is the powerhouse of our crew, more commonly found power lifting before she got into this rowing mclarky. Kate’s fitocracy workouts and 5k times keep me pushing harder in an attempt to catch up! Kate has recently qualified as a yachtmaster and will be jetting off to sunnier climes to kick start her sailing career pretty soon, once the refit of the clipper boats is done.

SamSam (Me!) – did I say I hate writing about myself? Whilst making my decision to start blogging a bit of a odd one, it does mean that there’s loads of other stuff about me elsewhere on this site should you wish to know more. So instead I will tell you about my sweets of choice for the day – apple sour loops from Lidl – at 5 calories per sweet they pack a lot of punch for only £1.20. It is not advisable to eat a whole packet at once, you will have exceeded your calorie intake for the day and will feel rather sick, you have been warned.

“A mysterious 8th lady” I had originally written, but today we have filled our last spot so she’s no longer so mysterious – Catherine Spencer, ex captain of the women’s rugby team and pro-athlete will be joining our crew. I suspect Catherine will bring strength, grit and determination in spades to the boat.

Who’s not in the boat? :-(

Heather and Beccy whilst sadly not in the boat both deserve a very honourable mention. Heather had a nasty ski injury shortly before our training session. She valiantly hobbled along for the first session, coxed us beautifully and as ever made me laugh. She has rowed with us and has been doing her absolute upmost to be ready for the row but sadly had to make the call recently that it just wasn’t going to happen. sad times.

Up stepped Beccy, a last minute replacement for Heather who not only decided to take on this row with less then 2 weeks until our row date, she was on a rowing machine within an hour of making her decision. Whilst sad to lose Heather we were really happy to have Beccy on board, she had rowed before, was super keen and was part of the clipper crew. But alas it wasn’t to be, after a very succesful training session with Langstone Cutters (she stepped in too late to make any of our training sessions) Beccy started to get pains in her wrist a couple of days later. Beccy was pretty desperate to still row with us but after exhausting all the options for a speedy recovery another tough decision had to be made and we were back to 7.

And here’s to the almost rans (!) who were set to join us but sadly life got in the way: roof repairs, court cases, a need to run 5 marathons, broken fingers, weddings, new homes, holidays… Knowing Carina, Bells, Leanne, Gem and Orla, I’ll be writing about their adventures here soon.

So that’s our motley crew, a bunch of ladies who I mostly didn’t know well or hadn’t even met before we decided to take on this crazy challenge together. But I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and am proud to be rowing with them.

Please wish us luck! And if you’re feeling generous why not sponsor us and support a very worthy cause, the RNLI: