Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.
W. H. Auden

The Two Hour Rule

My day was supposed to be divided into  blocks. Three hours on, two hours off. Row for three hours. Do everything else for two hours and then have a few extra hours off overnight. I started off sticking to the plan but soon realised that it was too hot to rest in the cabin in the daytime so changed things around and spent more time rowing.

Get Some Rest

No matter how hard I trained, the Atlantic was a harder task master than I had imagined. Without the right amount of good rest, I’d be toast. It would be a major challenge as it was unlikely I’d ever get more than 90 minutes sleep at any one time. I kept having flash-backs of when the kids were babies and they weren’t sleeping through the night. You do adjust but it takes a while and you feel a zombie until then.

Eat Well

Although I had a selection of dehydrated meals, I spent most of the time snacking on biltong – a favourite South African snack – trail mix, chocolate and snack bars. I needed to replace the 7 000 calories a day I burned off as I rowed.  The intense effort needed to row the Atlantic means it’s almost impossible  to process enough calories, so it was inevitable that I lost some weight, but overall did pretty well on getting nutrition right.

Drink Lots of Water

There’s no shade out there on the ocean. The sun beats down relentlessly. Even if I wasn’t rowing, my water consumption would have risen way beyond what I normally drink a day at home. Not only did I have to drink more but I had to desalinate whatever I needed.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Not Rowing, Not Sleeping

When I wasn’t rowing or sleeping I had to work efficiently and fast to get the housekeeping tasks done.

Greg Maud Daily Routine

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is paramount.  I’ve learned this the hard way. Most long distance ocean rowers suffer from painful calluses, rashes and – for want of a better word – bed sores on their bottoms. And that’s not counting the sore knees, tired muscles and oar hands – after a while your hands feel as if they’re locked in position around the oar.

Making Water

I couldn’t carry all the water I needed to drink as I crossed the 3000 nautical miles of…water. When Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink”, he was right. Unless I wanted to die of dehydration, which would have happened if I’d drunk sea water, I had to manufacture drinking water out of the ocean itself. I had the best desalinator I could find but it was a time consuming task. I had a back-up unit just in case the primary unit broke down.

Preparing Food

Those dehydrated meals needed to be rehydrated with hot water. Trying to do that on the deck  of the Dog House while it’s pitching and rolling through the troughs in the swell was…interesting. The meals are simple and nutritious but after a while I started craving fresh vegetables and fruit after a while. I even started dreaming about salad!

Handy Man Tasks

The ocean can be a pretty rough place and things started to break after a while – like an oar and autohelm system – and duct tape can only fix so much. I had to spend time each day going over the boat and giving her a good check-up. Anything that needed some TLC had to be attended to straight away.

Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.

Omar Bradley