Being part of the PTP team at the end of 2017 was pretty hectic at times but all in all - incredibly special. We had some interesting weekends training on the east coast, a pretty nasty amount of gym to get through and an absurd amount of bits and spare bits and spares of those bits to buy for the trip (not to mention Christmas presents). There was also the small matter of the ball which thanks to all of our friends and family, the dedication of the other 3 chaps on the pedalo and a very pertinent cause, I will never forget.
After a nice Christmas having a bit of downtime and some nice little appearances on BBC News and ITV, it was time for the business end of our campaign.
We flew out to Gran Canaria on the 28th December. As well as moseying around Puerto Mogan we had a lot to do. Packing The Reveller took 2 days. Literally anything you can think of is on here from all of our food to hand held espresso machines, spairs of spairs of spairs, custom built Orbitsound ‘ocean speakers’, all of the highest spec safety equipment you could possibly name (take note Mum), bottles/cups/flasks and of course a deck chair courtesy of Quin. There is a lot more, and it took meticulous problem solving skills from the lads to get it all on.
We also encountered our fair share of set backs both during and after all this packing. During transport down to the canaries The Reveller was damaged. She was dropped onto her P-drive (the exposed thing that holds the propshaft straight under the boat) which caused a bit of structural damage to the drive itself but also bent the prop shaft right at the end. Charlie and Angus (Rannoch) fixed the drive real quick and all looked good and the boat was ready to put in the water. We put the propshaft back in and it was completely wonky - back to square one. We fixed it though! We met a good engineer with some lasers and Phil Morrison (the man who designed our system) managed to send us a spare shaft, which we now have as back up.
We also encountered numerous amounts of mix ups with our cycling equipment onboard which with none of us particularly clued up on general cycling terminology and being collectively awful at speaking Spanish - was a linguistic nightmare. At one moment it looked like a very delayed start as we couldn’t find anywhere that stocked what we needed and getting things shipped to the Canaries at New Year is a no no. Thankfully though, Hec and I eventually found a man by the name of Izz who ran a cycle rental store and completely sorted us out with everything we needed for next to nothing and loved everything about our Pedalo.
Anyway there were loads more hurdles and loads more coffees, cokes and beers bought for local engineers who helped us out but it was all a blessing in disguise - had all this not happened our system would not of been strengthened and potential flaws would not of been sussed out. We also wouldn’t have a spare propshaft, and I wouldn’t be as well versed on what a grub screw is - don’t get me started. We are very confident in our Pedal System now and the boat itself is the best in the business.
New Year’s Eve was a a good old party with Angus, Charlie and our new mate Steve Shanly (Instagram: @stephenshanly) who is taking on the atlantic solo in a Rannoch boat and has a seriously handy set of dance moves stowed away.
By about the 4th of Jan we’d sorted all of our teething problems, had everything we needed and were off on the pedalo testing and doing drills with the para anchor and going out pedalling in the evenings to get used to the night shifts. The weather window came on the 7th January and at mid day we were off into the deep blue!
For our first afternoon we were abruptly awakened to the might of the Atlantic by some 20-30ft waves which the boat showed us it could absolutely fly down at around 10 knots. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work/fun for the person steering in the bow position - who steers facing backwards so they can see the waves and surf down them whilst also keeping an eye on our corse. Hec and I in the rear cabin didn’t draw the steering straw on this occasion but we will have our fair share. Max and Quin did a seriously good job, the big waves came crashing onto the pedal deck until about midnight when the weather calmed down.
We’ve now had 36 or so hours of no wind at all and a heavily loaded boat - which means slow speeds and burning legs. We’ve also done two propeller changes at sea to try and work out a way of going faster - in the end settling for the one we had on anyway. It’s pretty scary jumping in for the first time that far from land but all you can really see is blue and it’s pretty cool. The boat was also flying up and down in the swell which made screwing and unscrewing the props pretty interesting. Im not gonna lie though the calm conditions after the mad start have been very nice. We’ve been fishing (unsuccessfully), doing quizzes thanks to Tals’ handy quiz book - btw Quin has a better answer for the first riddle - and listening to lots of music / talking a lot of crap. All of these things we will probably long for when the big weather comes and we have to be on our guard at all times - but we cannot wait to get flying across to Antigua.
The winds are meant to be picking up this evening and we’re hoping to get The Reveller averaging at least 4 knots - almost doubling our current speed over ground. A little further south before setting our bearings for 272 degrees!
Thank you if you read this far - a lot has happened and it’s been difficult to get it down on paper. Everyone is on top form here and we are very grateful for all the messages we have received so far. If you’d like to send us something please email firstname.lastname@example.org and Emily will forward to us.
There will be another (hopefully more succinct) update from one of the other boys soon.