SINGLE-HANDED SIMON SET TO ROW
|BY KATINA READ||
11:00 - 26 February 2003
|Newton Abbot rower Simon Chalk has finished his training and can't wait to set off.
Simon has spent the last month in Kalbarri in Western Australia preparing for a record-breaking row across the Indian Ocean to Reunion Island near Madagascar. And if the weather is favourable, the wait should be over for him on Friday as he begins his 3,000-mile adventure.
This is the second time Simon, 30, has set off from Kalbarri to row the ocean - the first was last year when he started with rowing partner Bill Greaves.
But three days later the boat was hit by a whale and capsized. The pair were left clinging to the upturned hull for 15 hours before rescue came in the form of a passing ship.
They arrived back in Kalbarri with nothing but the clothes they stood up in.
Simon said: "I had a massive greeting when I arrived back here, they still think I need to be locked up, but it's been a great reception.
"They took us in, fed us and put clothes on us last year and it's been good catching up with some of the people who were so kind to us."
Simon was to have carried out this second row with Welshman Robert Munslow, but the pair parted company and now he will take on the challenge single-handed in his boat True Spirit.
He said: "It's a completely different mindset, it takes some readjustment. I've had a good group of people supporting me.
"I don't know how it will be, it's going to be a real test as I've not done any single-handed, I need to learn what the issues are.
"A lot of the time I want to be on my own anyway."
Simon first decided to row the Indian Ocean two years ago and said the prospect of doing it single-handed was not going to put him off.
He is planning to row 18 hours a day, with just four hours sleep - probably not in one go - and none at all for the first few days.
He said: "There's a shelf I need to get over, so until I'm over that I won't sleep. I also suffer from seasickness, so it's going to be quite interesting until I get into a routine.
"I'll have to have a structure and a goal in terms of mileage to try to achieve. As soon as I get my sea legs it's a massive relief."
And food will be a highlight of the day for Simon.
He said: "I'm taking boil in the bag food rather than freeze-dried as I'd rather pull the extra weight through the water. I've got to eat well, if I don't eat anything when it's first cooked, I can eat it cold later.
"I can always catch fish if I need to, though I'm not planning to.
"The ocean is teeming with wildlife, I'm going to keep a record of everything that I see. I've got two cameras on board so I can record a video diary each day."
This time, Simon has a state of the art self-righting boat with the latest in electronics and navigation equipment on board.