Guest Blog: American Oarsmen: What Will it Be Like?

Posted by David Alviar on December 12, 2016


Our very own marketing team member,David Alviar, sets sail for a 6-week trans-Atlantic rowing challenge on December 14th with his two other oarsmen, Brian Krauskopf, and Michael Matson. What will it be like for these three on the high seas and what physical and mental challenges will they find on their journey? David explores the proposed schedule in this October entry.



                                                              Okay, it's not us in the photo—we admit it! However, it was too beautiful to resist. This image  comes from the Coxless Crew

                                                                                             ( as they trekked the Pacific.  We'll see days like these for sure.



October 18, 2016—Our daily structure on the ocean will be highly structured. Whenever someone is not on the oars, they are "resting" or performing the hourly duties that keep our boat afloat. If no one is on the oars, we're at the mercy of the wind and waves to take us wherever they see fit. That means that at all times (with the exception of short, communal breaks), one of us will be manning the oars. In storms this is especially true as the boat needs to maintain itself pointed into the waves...not to mention that the cabin is a great place to get violently bounced around as the boat "roles with the punches" that the sea provides.

Broken up into 4 hour shifts, here's what our days will look like (repeated 6 times):

6am - 7am

Mike coming out of his row, swaps in with Brian, joining David already at the oars. Heading into the cabin, Mike grabs a quick bite to eat from the food we had heated and re-hydrated early in the night. Checking our position, he adds a new way point 500 miles west of our location that Brian and David actively pursue with the on-deck repeater display. Mike turns of the deck lights to conserve battery as the sun rises and gets some shut eye. 

7am - 8am

David and Brian continue to row, pausing for an occasional drink. It's the beginning of the race. so conditions are still a little on the cold side. It's raining now lightly and the two put on their foul weather jackets to stay on the dryer side. Near the end of the hour, David stops his row. The bucket will act as their restroom.

9am - 10am

Brian ends his shift and preps food using the gimbal-mounted Jetboil for a planned break everyone will take at noon. He ties off his oars and takes a break to wash the salt spray off himself before it crystalizes and chafes. Mike steadily rows as the waves and surf picks up giving the boat a boost in speed as it races down the 20ft faces of the watery hills. David meanwhile hears the alarm go off in the cabin for a container ship a few miles in the distance taking a course that will pass very close. Hopping on to the radio, he signals the vessel. 

Imagine this is now in every possible combination at every hour of the day. That will be our life for 40 plus days. Of course, there we be unexpected things: a storm, a whale that rides alongside us for hours, winds that force us to deploy the par anchor, or sores that force one of us to spend an hour carving our seat pads to relieve pressure. This is all part of the adventure, and we can't wait to share it with you.


To keep up with the American Oarsmen's journey, please visit their website for their twitter updates and photos. We can't wait to see what new scientific information they will be bringing to the STEMscopes curriculum and look forward to hearing more about their journey.