FAQ - things are still unclear?
Are you all alone? Surely you have a support boat!
No, I don't have a support boat and am alone on the boat next to your name and thoughts. Two sailing yachts from the organizer will overtake me during the crossing, wave to me and take photos. With a little luck I will see one or two more ships crossing my way.
What do you do when there’s a storm coming?
In a storm that doesn't throw me off the boat right away, I try to keep rowing. But if lightning and thunder come along, I take cover in my cabin and wait until it is safe to go out again.
And what do you do when your boat capsizes?
The boat is designed so that if it is turned by a wave, it will right itself up again. Ideally I am in the cabin at this time.
What do you do if you fall off the boat?
I am always secured to the boat with a safety belt and two carabiners. If I fall into the water, these security lines will help me find my way back to and into the boat via a small hanging ladder.
How safe is your boat? What happens if you hit a container or a whale?
My boat is made of aluminium and very robust. As I am not traveling very fast in rowing boat, neither a container nor a whale will damage my boat. I hope, of course, that I will not rip a whale out of its sleep.
Can your boat sink?
It is highly unlikely that my boat will sink. In addition to the two cabins, which hold the boat on the water like air chambers, it also has a specially closed air chambers in the middle of the boat. If, for some reason, the two cabins are filled with water, the boat will not straighten up, but it will not sink yet. With special pumps I could pump the water out of the (of course then again closed) cabins and the boat can right itself again.
And if the boat sinks anyway or you get into a life-threatening situation?
This would be a Mayday situation and therefore there are several devices on board which will relay my exact position to everyone and mobilize help as soon as possible. If I had to leave my boat, the lifeboat would come into action. I practiced how to handle it in the mandatory courses.
Where do you sleep? And what do you do against drifting while you sleep?
I sleep in one of the two cabins and adjust the autopilot if the wind conditions are favourable. With wind and current pushing me into the wrong direction I throw the para anchor. This is an "underwater parachute" that more or less keeps me and my boat in place. We want to go forwards, not backwards.
What do you eat?
I will boil water once a day and mix it with dried food. With thermo containers, the menus stay hot for almost 24 hours. The food will be a mixture of bought and homemade meals and completed by several snacks such as nuts, bars, Biberli (a Swiss snack), etc.. The race rules stipulate that I have (for my weight) 3600kcal on board. This corresponds to 56kg of chocolate for 90 days. For practical reasons I will not take chocolate with me and give priority to other options.
And what about drinking water? You can never carry that much water on your boat!
That's right. I only have one emergency ration of bottled water in my boat. My drinking water is seawater filtered by a desalination machine. I'll probably take a few lemons with me for special encouragement and taste.
How do you produce electricity? And what happens if it fails?
My solar panels take care of the electrical energy together with the sun. If it is cloudy for a long time, I can anticipate and fill all water tanks with drinking water in advance and fully charge the batteries. Accordingly, I would also use the electrical appliances a little less often, sing myself and thus save electricity.