Writing yesterday’s blog entry brought back a few memories. It’s 1996, and I’ve recently taken up a new position at University College London as deputy director of the development office. Surfing the Internet, I see that Sir Chay Blythe is setting up a new trans-Atlantic rowing challenge, in two-person, set-design boats. A bit more research and I find out that there’s a Kiwi entry on the books, and the chap’s looking for a team-mate. I send this Rob Hamill an e-mail, and a few days later he calls me back from Hamilton, NZ, with me in
Having just started this new position, my boss goes to UCL’s provost to discuss the proposal. She comes back with a negative, but a new, better contract, and a conviction that they really are trying to save my life.
I call Rob back and tell him the sad news.
Next year, Rob Hamill and Phil Stubbs – in Kiwi Challenge – win the inaugural trans-Atlantic rowing race, in 41 days and two hours. Their chalk-and-cheese relationship doesn’t survive the distance.
December 1998 and planning another trans-Atlantic challenge with Steve Westlake, Phil is killed when his light plane nosedives into Karekare beach.
Unbeknownst to me, living in the
Rob publishes The Naked Rower, describing his 1997 trans-Atlantic rowing adventure. It turns out that rowing naked, sitting on NZ sheepskin, keeps away the salt sea boils so often afflicting those in constantly moving, wet, salty conditions.
Life’s its own great story.