Crossing the Atlantic rowing the hard way!


Guest Post Series from Atlantic Race competitor, Tom Dignum

This is a new blog series for Rowperfect from two brave souls – Tom and Chris – who will be competing in the Woodvale Challenge Trans Atlantic race in December.   The adventurous pair will be rowing 2500 nautical miles over 3 months, from the Canary Islands to Antigua, one of the most challenging rowing competitions in existence.   We’ve sponsored them with our MK-1 Oarlocks, so check the site monthly to see how Tom and Chris are getting on.

This week for the Oar Raisers has been both busy and productive.  Planning to row across the Atlantic Sea is no part time adventure. This week we received two sets of very new, shiny, unique MK-1 Oarlocks.  After seeing the product on the website I was so excited to see new gate technology.  I have been rowing for many years now and as a standard, gates are extremely basic and inefficient.  This applies to both sculling and sweep boats.  There is far too much flexibility and room with the gate which gives a clunky movement where unnecessary movement takes place.

The MK1 gates are extremely solid even though they are plastic based.  The system for entry and exit is a lot quicker and easier with essentially a double locking system. Therefore if you don’t clip one part it would still be secure enough to row without any notable effects.  I also love how there is a holding plate within the gate to secure the shaft within to stop excessive movement.  This is the biggest difference to a standard gate and changes so many aspects to the stroke.  We will be using them on our Atlantic crossing where undoubtedly there will be forces on the gate that cannot be compared to river or lake rowing.  I have a lot more confidence in our new gates.  It will save a lot of effort holding the blade square as with ocean rowing there is not any need to feather the blades.

I water tested my bow side gate when subbing in to an mens 8.  I gave my stroke side gate to a friend who was both shocked and in love with the product.  The MK-1 Oarlock would put a massive advantage to any seasoned crew.  We will fit the Gates to our ocean boat next week in preparation for out Cumbria to Ireland practice row in August.  Watch this space!

A Massive thanks to both Rebecca and Nic who have arranged these for us.  They are now one of our sponsors for our Atlantic Crossing.

Tom Dignum


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