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Our southbound journey to fetch our ocean rowing boat and dive into courses

With the weather set fair and a good tailwind we turned due south, and on a bearing of 180 Degrees travelled down from Yorkshire to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex.

Picking up our Ocean Rowing Boat from Rannoch

Billeted in The Royal Burnham Yacht Club for the week, we had a brand new boat to be briefed on and collect from Rannoch Adventure, the boat builders and also attend Aurora Sea School, to undertake mandatory courses for our participation in the World’s Toughest Row 2025.

Photo 1: [L-R] Richard Larking and David Knaggs aboard their new R25 Ocean Rowing Boat (Yet to be named!) Photo 2: Richard Larking very happy with his new 5 star sleeping accommodation.

Rannoch spent most of Monday handing over and running us through the boat’s equipment and how we use it. We’ll learn more about it on the water but in the meantime, we considered the magnitude of how to tether, hitch and tow a very, very long trailer. Thanks to Lizzie and Rachel at Rannoch for all their help.

Mandatory Courses at Aurora Sea School


Aurora Sea School started with introductions, and straight into the Short Wave Radio Certificate Course.

Nobody wants to make a “Mayday” call but as we know “hope isn’t a strategy” - Preparation and planning is paramount! Plenty to consider and practice.

David Knaggs, Dawn Wood (Aurora Sea School) and Richard Larking test their VHF skills and distress calls

[L-R] David Knaggs, Dawn Wood (Aurora Sea School) and Richard Larking test their VHF skills and distress calls - "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, We need more Yorkshire Tea!!"


Maritime navigation (and some seamanship and knot tying thrown in for good measure) latitude, longitude, compass bearings, tides, buoyage and reef, bowline and figure of eights - all which started as pretzel making and finished with the competency of a seasoned matelot.


Safety equipment first aid and sea survival. EPIRB’s PLB’s will become common parlance in the days and months to come and the final afternoon spent in the pool participating in life raft drills focusses the attention on what can go wrong at sea - Mother Nature has no favourites so always prepare for the worst!

Photo 1: Richard Larking successfully navigates his way to the biscuits. Photo 2: Richard Larking and David Knaggs nervously prepare to get a bit wet. Photo 3: Picking up the fabulous Alphine Rowers, (Claudia and Ernst) during Sea Survival Day.

Truly a great week!!

Dawn Wood you are a rowing legend! Thank you (and Stewart) for all your patient teachings, and sharing your incredible experiences. 🙏

Ocean Rowing Teams and other people we met

'South to North' - Kevin, Krishna & Steve

Finally, a big shout out to our classmates who really made our week - South to North- Kevin, Krishna & Steve we hope to see you in God’s Own County in June as you cycle through and we have no doubt you’ll be across the English Channel with no “Grave and Imminent Danger”.

'Alpine Rowers' - Claudia & Ernst

It was our pleasure to pull you aboard and share a life raft and a indeed a week with you both - we’ll see you in La Gomera later in the year, as you take on the Atlantic crossing in December 2024.

'The Emerald Expedition - Row around Ireland' - Ciarán, Ryan, Jack and Aidan.

All our very best wishes for your trip around Ireland and then on to Rome……we enjoyed the craic and if you want to focus on something to get you to the Eternal City then I can give you nothing more than - “There will be no more Gus Barton assessments when you’ve completed it!”

Shark Bait Socials - Barry Hayes

We had a fantastic session on Social Media with Barry Hayes from Shark Bait Socials on the amazing technology that enables ocean rowers to keep in touch with family, friends, followers and sponsors. It was great to listen to his experiences whilst rowing the Indian and Mid Pacific Ocean. Truly inspiring!

Photo 1: GREENS2BLUE enjoy getting all tied up with South to North. Photo 2: GREENS2BLUE with more ocean rowing legends - Barry Hayes of Shark Bait Socials and Dawn Wood of Aurora

Back in Yorkshire 🤍

We turned back due north and arrived back in Yorkshire late on Saturday evening.

On the journey back we shared some laughs, reflections and serious considerations about the people we’d met and what we’d learned over the previous week - it was all truly invaluable and we both look forward to building on it in the exciting days and months to come…

As we busily prepare to row the Atlantic in World's Toughest Row 2025 please consider donating to our charities so you can be part of our journey and make a difference. We aim to raise as much as possible for the two charities closest to our hearts - Maggie's and Friends of Alfie Martin.

David and Richard 🏌️🚣🌊
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Well done chaps! Another step along the way towards lift-off in 2025!!

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