Saturday, April 12, 2008

Boat Design Questions

People often ask me about Liv's design and whether I designed her myself. The answer is that she was designed by Phil Morrison, an experienced UK-based yacht designer who has designed more or less every successful ocean row boat of the last decade. In fact, I'm not aware of any designer other than Phil that has designed more than one ocean rowboat. Here's the general arrangement:

The design for Liv was the product of eight months of back and forth collaboration between Phil and I, begining in September of 2006. Going in to the project I had done months of research on existing ocean row boats and concluded that the first generation of plywood constructed (I'm not kidding) boats weren't for me. Many of these boats are more than a decade old, are incredibly heavy, prone to rot, and are designed to be rowed by two people rather than one.

My solution was to have Phil design a boat to provide minimal accomdations for a single rower, to be constructed of 100% composite materials (i.e. no wood). Though composites materials (carbon fiber, fiberglass, etc...) cost more, Liv weighs in (unladen) at only 450 pounds, just over half of the weight of the traditional 25-foot first generation plywood boats.

Here's another look at her lines:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"In Medias Res"

Though my favorite high-school English teacher, Ms. Lord, wouldn't believe it I do remember something from The Odyssey- that the story began "in medias res," or "in the midst of things." Hopefully the parallels between my Atlantic rowing expedition and The Odyssey end there, but one thing is certain - there's no way that I'll be able to cover on this page everything that the Row for Hope team has accomplished up to this point. Instead, this story will start "in medias res..."

Over the last two and a half years we've built from the ground up a healthy 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity that is poised to break new ground in the fight against cancer. We've had designed and built an unusually small but incredibly sea-worthy ocean rowboat and named her Liv, after the old Norse word for "protection." Though by reading this account of my project you'll gradually get caught up on what we've accomplished to date, the purpose of this is really focused on the future and what we'll accomplish over the next year.

I can assure you that we're aiming high - a year from now I will have rowed across the Atlantic ocean in a nineteen-foot boat, Row for Hope will have funded cutting-edge research at a leading institution, and, with our donors' help we will have put ocean rowing on the forefront of the next generation in fundraising strategies.

For now I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the moment, taken on a morning row a few days ago: