Meet the Emergensea Duo – two Devon frontline A&E doctors embarking on an unsupported 3,000 mile ocean row across the Atlantic
Read more about their story and show your support at www.emergenseaduo.com
Images: Alasdair Joyce
15 Minutes… From A&E to the Sea
Exeter RD&E frontline duo Charlotte (Charlie) and Adam have really set their sights far and wide – 3,000 miles to be precise. They’ve set themselves the challenge of raising £100,000 for frontline medical charities by taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – an unsupported row across the Atlantic Ocean.
In December 2021 the duo will join 33 other international teams departing from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands, rowing a whopping 1.5 million strokes and burning around 5000 calories per day to reach the finish line at Antigua.
The money raised will go towards lifesaving charities, including Devon Air Ambulance, RD&E Charity and the RNLI, as well as Mind, the charity for mental health.
It’s a serious challenge. But Charlie and Adam are no strangers to extreme expeditions.
“The idea was born when we were on a polar expedition in Norway as part of our Extreme Medicine Masters degree,” Adam explains. “Whilst camping on a frozen lake in -20°C Charlie was already looking to the horizon for another epic adventure. Although neither of us have rowed before, Charlie was a Naval reservist so has many nautical miles under her belt. Both of us enjoy open water swimming, diving and paddle boarding so naturally, it seemed like a good idea!”
Training is of course vital. The duo are hoping to commence training on 1st March.
“It has been challenging to fit in around our work. At this stage it involves a lot of mobility training and many indoor rower sessions,” says Charlie. “We’re working with a number of specialists including James Parkes, the Exeter Chiefs strength and conditioning coach and Ocean Rowing Coach, Duncan Roy – plus Airofit who have designed a bespoke respiratory muscle endurance training programme. A very important part of the training is gaining all the necessary RYA qualifications such as Sea Survival and Navigation and we are lucky to have been trained and sponsored by SeaSports South West.”
With all this training under their belt, the pair have set their sights on breaking the mixed pair record of 43 days, 15 hours and 23 minutes, whilst setting the record as the first married pair to participate. With that long spent at sea, the mental challenges become just as difficult, if not more, than the physical ones.
“Working in A&E we are used to stressful situations and certainly the pandemic has been an endurance event for frontline workers,” the pair explain simultaneously. “Although there are 34 teams in the race, as soon as we depart the row is essentially a battle against the elements and dealing with situations beyond your control. We know there are going to be some amazing highs, from seeing incredible wildlife to the unobscured night sky, but there will also be some huge lows as our hands, feet and buttocks break down and muscles tire.”
Coping in each other’s company 24/7 under such difficult conditions only adds to it.
“Hopefully we’re at an advantage as we already know what circumstances/behaviours put each other into a positive mindset and, more importantly, a negative one! There will almost certainly be disagreements and arguments over futile things fuelled by sleep deprivation as we row 2 hours on, 2 hours off, but we are both so excited to be able to share this adventure together. So for now it’s in sickness, health and rowing the Atlantic!”
The Emergensea Duo embark on their challenge in December 2021. Read more about their story and show your support at www.emergenseaduo.com