Jo Bailey (Dan's girlfriend) and her family went to La Gomera to give Dan and Will a real send-off. Here’s what they thought of the experience.
“After two years, it was hard to believe that race day was so close.
La Gomera is much more beautiful than I had imagined. It’s the perfect place for the crews to prepare and try to relax as much as possible before departure. It is truly an ocean rowing hub with the majority of people either crew members, part of the race team or friends and family which is nice and welcoming.
Dan and Will were, as I expected, incredibly well prepared when we arrived but as usual with boats, there was lots of tinkering to do. Down time was spent in the infamous Blue Marlin bar; every night (with the help of a pizza and a few beers) you could see each and every crew member suddenly relax and forget all about what lay ahead of them. It was obvious that this infamous ocean rowing mecca was good for morale all round.
The original race day was miserable; a storm swept La Gomera bringing torrential rain, flooding, landslides and rock falls. As well as stopping the boys working on the boat due to the torrential rain, it just meant that they had more time waiting around and thinking about what was around the corner. It wasn’t easy for them and it was hard to watch.
Dan’s family, my mum, godparents and I left on the Tuesday, a day before the race was rescheduled to get underway. I found the goodbye personally quite tough, not because I am worried about their safety or because I didn’t want them to go but because I found it a hugely overwhelming experience. After two years, it struck me that this was actually happening and that bought excitement and all the emotions that go with it.
Back in the UK, Yellowbrick and Virgin Money Giving are keeping me occupied! The donations keep coming in and it’s very humbling to see many of our friends and colleagues donate in support of the boys. It’s fun being able to track their progess but difficult to see the tough conditions they are facing. That said, I know how well prepared and how mentally tough they both are so I have no doubt that they’ll be through the big swells and winds and on their way south hitting those trade winds as quickly as possible!”