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Registered Charity No. 1003314

Precious Lives

ATLANTIC

CHALLENGE

2014

June

2014


Precious Lives

ATLANTIC

CHALLENGE

2014

On 6th June 1896, in their oak shiplap rowing boat ’The Fox’, George Harbo and Frank Samuelson set out from New York in the first ever attempt to row across the mighty Atlantic Ocean. They reached the Isles of Scilly 55 days and 8 hours later, setting an ocean rowing record that has not been broken by 2 people rowing the Atlantic since.

Chris ‘Darby’ Wal

ter s, R

Darby and Elliott will leave the same Battery area of Manhattan as close to 6th June 2014 as weather and tides will allow, commencing this journey as Norwegians Harbo and Samuelson did 117 years before. Rowing their state of the art Rannoch pairs ocean rowing boat, ‘Row4PreciousLives’, their aim is to cross the 3246 miles of gruelling Atlantic Ocean in less than 55 days, bringing a new rowing record home to Britain.

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It is so inspiring when you go to the hospice and see the staff and the care provided, you couldn’t do anything but leave there and want to help… visiting the hospice has galvanised for us why we are doing this challenge.

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Chris ‘Darby’ Walters and Elliott Dale are two experienced British ocean rowers from the South West of England. They visited Little Bridge House, one of Children’s Hospice South West’s three hospices, in February 2013. They were so moved by the journey of the children and families supported by the hospice that they decided to embark on their own journey of endurance, choosing to undertake one of the toughest rowing challenges, whilst raising valuable funds and awareness that will help to make the most of short and precious lives across the South West.

Photo: Andy Neale


Rowing for short and precious lives Children’s Hospice South West has three hospices across the South West, caring for in excess of 400 life-limited children and their families. We support the whole family, providing palliative, emergency and respite care, giving a rare opportunity for the whole family to have time together or to rest and have a break from the considerable demands of their individual journeys. We are also there to provide end of life care and bereavement support, helping families as they deal with the death of their child. By creating a homely, loving sanctuary at each of our hospices, the children, Mums, Dads, brothers and sisters can find the time and space to be together and to have fun without the worry of caring. The comfort and dignity of the children are key priorities and all of the care we provide is agreed with the family, with every consideration given to how they want us to care for their child. At Children’s Hospice South West we have a simple goal: to make the most of short and precious lives.

After visiting Little Bridge House and meeting the children and families Darby and Elliott feel they can now put their own journey into perspective; describing their Atlantic Challenge as ‘nothing in comparison’.

How your donation could help benefit children with life limiting conditions and their families: Worn down by care for my child day after day, I am refreshed here and return home renewed.

A place where a precious child is cared for with as much love and compassion as a parent could offer.

This is not a place that concentrates on death but rather making the most of life, however short.

We feel we are part of a larger family: the staff and also the other parents and their children.


The Rowers’ Journey Darby and Elliott have chosen to undertake one of the toughest Atlantic journeys. Darby and Elliott are very experienced, they have a support team, and are very prepared. Row4PreciousLives and the equipment she carries is the best available. She is light, strong and tested, hugely reducing the risk to their lives.

Journeys of Coura Challenges the Rowers will face Sleep Deprivation Rowing individual shifts 2 hours on and 2 hours off during the night, and both rowing constantly with minimal breaks during the day. Poor quality of sleep and the need to wake up and deal with possibly life threatening situations at any time.

Physical and Ongoing Hardship Impact of constant physical exertion on their bodies and minds, including sunburn, blisters and injury.

Inspirational and treasured moments for the rowers: Companionship, overcoming significant discomfort to achieve something incredibly challenging. The experience itself – the ocean, the weather, the sky, ocean wildlife. Being a part of ocean rowing history – hopefully setting a new rowing record. Coming home safe, being reunited with friends and loved ones. Helping others on the most difficult of journeys.

Weight loss from burning off more calories than they can consume each day. Hallucinations - Elliott had a Jack Russell dog run alongside the boat during their last Atlantic row. It is a long way from land and from friends and family.

The Unexpected The weather – a storm could push them back as much as 600 miles, which would then need to be rowed again. The size of the waves, capsizing, the danger of being hit by another, much bigger boat. Harbo and Samuelson had to row for three days and nights without rest when they were hit by a storm after losing their sea anchor. They were capzised, narrowly avoided being hit by a steamer and nearly set their boat on fire when making coffee.


age and Resilience

The Families’ Journey It is not chosen, and is the toughest of journeys, expected to end with death in childhood.

Challenges the Children & Families face

Support is given by extended family and friends, the local medical community and by children’s hospices such as those provided by Children’s Hospice South West.

Sleep Deprivation Parents often take it in turns to sleep, this may be by sleeping in relays or by sleeping apart and taking a night each in turn.

Equipment, staff and care at our hospices is the best it can be, giving as much treasured time and respectful support as possible.

The quality of sleep is poor, constantly broken by the need to give medication, feeds, support for a child in pain, the need to listen out for choking, or a fit.

Physical and Ongoing Hardship The physical demands of care, including hoisting and lifting a child. A child’s behaviour can be very physical, reflecting their frustration or limited communication. This situation can last for weeks, months or years – the average amount of time that a family is supported by Little Bridge House, Little Harbour or Charlton Farm during the life of their child is 7-8 years. Difficulties leaving the house – physical demands, complex clinical needs and equipment, regular medication and feeds.

The Unexpected A sudden deterioration in condition. Fits, choking, respiratory and other infections. Hospitalisation and operations.

Inspirational and treasured moments for the families: Watching your child’s pleasure and enjoyment whether in the multi-sensory room, or having the weight of their body lifted by the calming waters of the Jacuzzi. Seeing the beauty of your child and their very own personality shining through despite their challenges and disability. The companionship and closeness of other children and families who are in a similar situation.


the

2014

ROWERS

Chris ‘Darby’ Walters & Elliott Dale Darby, aged 55 and Elliott, aged 54 are an experienced pair of Lyme Regis Cornish Pilot Gig Association ocean rowers. They are both local to Lyme Regis, with Elliott having a locally based vintage car repair business. They both have children and family to worry about them during this dangerous undertaking. They were both also part of a team of 4 rowers to take on the Talisker Challenge in 2011. They rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean via the warmer route from the Canary Islands, reaching Barbados in January 2012 and broke several age related records for rowers crossing the Atlantic including as the oldest combined aged team to achieve this!

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1896

ROWERS

They both have inspirational mental strength and a quiet determination which supported their previous Atlantic success. This will be vital in achieving this challenge, which they recognise as not just the oldest but also the most difficult that they could have set out for themselves. When asked about how they keep going when things are really tough, including when they are physically worn out, when they are adding to the size and number of blisters they are suffering from every time they take their turn to row, and when the weather has set them back possibly hundreds of miles that they have already rowed, Darby responded by saying that ‘you have to keep going to get home. It is as simple as that.’

George Harbo & Frank Samuelson Both Harbo and Samuelson were born in Norway and found their way to New York, America to make their fortune. They worked together as clam fishermen for a number of years before planning the very first Atlantic row. George Harbo had a wife and children to provide for and to worry about the dangers of their challenge. Frank Samuelson’s sister was the only member of their families to see them off in New York as Harbo’s were living in Norway and the rest of Samuelson’s were particularly unhappy with his taking on the Atlantic Ocean in this way. According to David W Shaw who wrote ‘Daring the Sea’, an account of the Harbo and Samuelson row which has

referenced their own log and the accounts of their trip handed down through their families, physically they were both very fit and used to rowing a heavy boat full of clams. This was helpful, given how much they had to carry with them including 60 gallons of drinking water stored in galvanised iron tanks. They are described as being very accepting of each other, and very much in tune with how each other were feeling through the mentally challenging ups and downs of the row. They also worked well together as a team, showing drive and determination when it mattered.


Who built ‘Row 4 Precious Lives’ ? The boat is a Rannoch Ocean pairs boat designed by Naval Architect Phil Morrison and is being built at Rannoch Adventures Limited, owned by Charlie Pitcher. The Rannoch pairs boat is the result of many months of exhaustive research, testing, design and discussion with experienced rowers. The boat features the first ever row deck moulded from one piece of carbon and kevlar over its foam core.

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irb ’s pho n e Safe ty ra Carbo i l s n ocean ro & Kevlar wing bo at Watertight compa rtments

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Who built the boat ‘The Fox’? In ‘Daring the Sea’ they describe the boat as being built by: A renowned builder, William Seaman, helped by his 13 year old son Harold, who supplied the fleets of Nauvoo with a craft capable of weathering the worst of storms. At aged 91, Harold, also nicknamed ‘Pappy’ was involved in the rebuild of ‘The Fox’ which commenced in 1975.

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Photo: Richard Austin

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Registered Charity No. 1003314 Registered Charity No. 1003314

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When we’re at a low point, we think back to the families - the children - what we’re doing is nothing in comparison.

Precious Lives

ATLANTIC

CHALLENGE

2014

ISLES of S C I L LY

NEW YORK

Be part of this incredible journey: /PreciousLivesAtlanticChallenge2014

Text Donate: ‘PLAC14 £x’ (fill in £1, £2, £5, £10)

to 70070

@OceanRow

ode to Scan the c site eb w e th to go

/AtlanticRow

www.chsw.org.uk Ocean rowing record to be logged by the Ocean Rowing Society

Precious Lives Atlantic Challenge 2014  

On Friday, 6th June 2014, or as close to this date as the weather and tides allow, Elliott Dale and Chris 'Darby' Walters will set off from...

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