14 July 2012

Next time...

Nigel H posted a comment asking what I would do differently if I was to go around again. Well...

Of course I have been reviewing what I did and looking for improvements and lessons to learn, but on the whole I was quite pleased with how things went. If I was to look for changes to make for a future trip then it would depend greatly on whether I would aim purely for the record or a 'just for the hell of it' trip.

But, first of all to answer the specific points from Nigel:

No, I would not spend a night in the boat using an outrigger. I couldn't see any advantage to this one for me. I couldn't see how I would paddle well after spending a night afloat in the boat. I learnt early in the trip how my performance was linked closely to the amount of sleep I had. There's no handbrake on the boat either, you are unlikely to start the day where you finished the previous one.

To short cut bays? Well I think I pretty much did that whenever I could anyway, where I didn't it was down to the weather on the whole.

So what would I do differently?

Well, I was disappointed with my winter training this year. I like to think that that is one thing I am reasonably good at, setting a foundation of good winter training to allow the remainder of the year to be built upon. But this time I let myself get distracted by a number of things, my training suffered and consequently I started the season with probably the lowest level of fitness I had had for many a year. No excuses; it was entirely my fault and all part of the game - but I will do a better job next winter, whatever I have planned.

Tied in with the poor training I also missed out on some of the skill work I should have done over the winter and again I felt I was lacking in a couple of areas. Again, totally down to me and me alone, but a lesson to be (re-)learnt for the future.

I would reconsider some of the sponsorship. On the whole the Sponsors were very helpful, but I think I would do a couple of things differently if my time was repeated.

If I was to go with the goal of the record then I would make an effort to put a support crew in place to make life easier and allow a better focus on the paddling alone. I would also try to avoid the tent whenever possible in order to get better sleep, unless they make a soundproof one.
If I was going out to just complete the distance and make the most of the adventure then I would carry my tent (Hotel Vango) once again and try to be pretty self-sufficient along the way. I think you experience more of the whole adventure, the people and the localities this way. I feel I set the balance pretty well on my attempt; I got under the 80 days but had quite an adventure on the way - after all I might never have heard of the Dog Poo Fairy if I hadn't taken a little time out now and then.

With hindsight I would avoid some landing localities and head for others, but then again these were more often than not dictated by the weather anyway.

I would also try to make sure I had no time deadlines to get back for. I had aimed for this to be the case but a couple of commitments arrived that I perhaps should have ignored. They added undue pressure that forced me to set off when maybe I would have rather have waited a little.

And I would make a sacrifice or two to the Weather Gods before I set out - they had by far the biggest single impact on my trip.

1 comment:

Ian said...

Getting round in under 80 days is only possible for a few elite paddlers, what additional skill work would you have done over the winter?