Lot’s of progress has been made on determining the best approach for the boat that I’ll use for the row. After speaking with Julie Angus of Angus Rowboats and a few other reliable sources, it has been determined that I will use either an Angus Rowcruiser or an Angus Rowcruiser Expedition. This looks like a great option, in fact, Colin Angus is currently racing his boat in the Race To Alaska.
So now for the complications. Both of these boats need to be built rather than purchased as finished. That will add a high level of complexity, yet personal gratification, to this endeavor, but it also complicates things in terms of timing. A boat build like this will take a minimum of 2 weeks for an accomplished full-time boat builder, I am far from that… This will most likely take me 4-6 weeks on night and weekends.
I did however get an amazing break over the weekend. I was able to track down a current owner of a built Rowcruiser. This was not an easy task, but I got several referrals and made many, many calls. It seems that everyone who builds one of these boats ends up never wanting to sell it. They are a one-of-a-kind boats, and never go on the market.
I spoke with an overall great guy and a retired extreme adventurer living in Florida. This is where things got a little bit crazy… I offered to buy his boat, or better yet, rent it. As I expected, there was no way he would sell it to me. I plead my case for needing a boat, being unable to find one already built, being short on time to build one myself and train at the same time. I shared the goal of my journey, to solo-row across Lake Michigan in order to create awareness of a horrible form of childhood cancer. In the end, not only did he offer to loan me the boat, but he offered to trailer it up to me from Florida. This is guy who uses this boat on a daily basis, it is not hanging in his garage collecting dust.
It is difficult to understand the generosity and compassion that some people demonstrate each day, going out of their way to do good, to help others. It made me contemplate again about why I am doing this dangerous, and maybe “stupid” thing. There is so much good that comes out of those who believe they can make a difference. I have exited my comfort zone and am tackling several personal barriers in order to make a difference, water, boats, seasickness, endurance and physical tasks. We can all make a difference, whether it’s from the things we say, the things we do, or the way we act. Not everyone has the means to donate monetarily to a cause, but everyone has the ability to make a difference. Everyone, in their own way, can make a difference.
So now to the problem… This generous benefactor in Florida is retired, far from Chicago, and uses his boat on a daily basis. I feel sincerely horrible about the thought of using his boat for an extended and indefinite period of time, having him contribute this for nothing, and volunteering to drive it up here. So, I think the best option would be for me to continue to head down the path of building my own boat, but leverage his boat for a shorter time period while I build one. That way, he would be without his boat for a shorter period of time, and I would not be overly rushed to expedite the boat build to start real water training. Once the new boat is built, I would drive his back to Florida and return it.
If someone has any other ideas, please let me know, this has been keeping me up at night.