And how was your day?
No, seriously . . . think about it . . . what have you done over the course of the last 24 hours? Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished since 11:00 a.m. GMT on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2016.
Me? Well, I started with a light lunch, then ran some errands around town to help my wife get ready for her 13th Annual Holiday Cookie Swap. I picked up my son from school, got a little more work done, showered, made risotto for the family (with sausage, asparagus and peas — delish!), then cleaned up from making and eating dinner. I then assisted with the final pre-party arrangements and eventually took my traditional post for this party — in the basement, with the dog, protecting approximately 3,600 cookies from a curious but rule-abiding golden retriever. During the party, I talked to a steady flow of friends, had the UIC-DePaul basketball game on in the background, then flipped over to catch overtime in the Penguins-Bruins game. Soon enough, the party was over, I cleared the basement, helped sort out the upstairs, then went to bed for 5.5 hours, got up to get the kids off to school, made and ate breakfast, sat down at my computer to check email and Facebook, and am now writing this.
I’d call that a typically full day: work and family obligations, three square meals, some socializing, maybe a game on TV, with a little sleep thrown in for good measure. I’m guessing your last 24 hours were somewhat similar, though without the proximity to quite so many cookies.
Now, think about what the last 24 hours have been like for Kurt and John Schwartz, the brothers who are rowing their boat, the Bonny Rey, across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the 2016 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Yesterday, at precisely 11:00 a.m. GMT, they put oars in the water to begin the race and set forth upon their first day at sea. Their first of approximately 50-60 days at sea. They’ll be oars-in full-on, every minute of every hour of every day until they make landfall in Antigua sometime around the start of February 2017.
In their first 24 hours on the water, they traveled about 18 nautical miles, moving at a speed of about 1.8 knots. They put in at San Sebastian de La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and by the time their first day was done, they had progressed to latitude 27º 38.56 North/longitude 17º 25.38 West — 2,528 nautical miles from the finish line.
Theirs is a compelling story, rowing and living aboard a 24-foot custom-built ocean row boat for two months, alone on the Atlantic Ocean except for a scattering of the 11 other boats participating in this year’s event. At some point, though, it’s important for us — the ones eating cookies and cheering them on from terra firma — to recognize this not just as a story but as an actual day-to-day existence for two extraordinary people.
Again, think about all you do in a day. And then take a look at what a typical day will be like for Kurt and John from now until February-ish:
Their next two months’ worth of days and nights will consist of a ceaseless rotation of rowing and waiting to row again. There are other things to do aboard the Bonny Rey, to be sure, like communicate with the duty officer from the race and “cook” their two scheduled meals. There will be cleaning and maintenance, likely even some repairs at some point. Of course, there’s also sleeping, but as you see in their plan, there’s never a window longer than four hours for that (Kurt sleeps the 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. shift, while John sacks out in the 2:00-6:00 a.m. slot).
We’ll be tracking their progress here every day, sharing stories and updates from along the way. We hope that you will follow their adventure, that you’ll applaud their efforts and support their cause. But we also encourage you to find time in your day — a few moments somewhere in the midst of the mayhem of your regular day — to think about the boys in the boat, and contemplate on what they’re doing right then.
Whenever you take that moment, whatever time of the day it is, know this: one of the Schwartz brothers is on the oars, and the other is waiting to take his next turn.
Now . . . where did we put all those leftover cookies . . .
32º North rows for The Samfund, a unique foundation that provides much-needed financial support for young adult cancer survivors. Please visit their Flipgive fundraising page below to donate directly or to Shop & Support The Samfund.