The Bristol Gulls and rowing the Atlantic
As you may well of seen on the front page of the site - Feel Fit are proud to be sponsoring and working closely with 4 ladies from Bristol, who call themselves The Bristol Gulls.
They will be rowing the Atlantic in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December, so we thought we would ask them abit more about why, their training and what sustainability means to them.
What does sustainability means to you.
By definition, sustainability is the ability for something to be maintained. In environmental terms, it is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources. For us, we want our participation in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to not cost the Earth. We also want to use this adventure not only as an opportunity to raise money for our chosen charities, but as a platform to challenge other institutions and companies to make environmentally responsible choices and to introduce new sustainable standards for boat building and other maritime industries. Sustainability should be an integral part of our everyday lives.
Why did you decided to row the Atlantic – and how are you doing this sustainably.
We all have our personal reasons for wanting to take part in this challenge, however what brought us together are our shared concerns for the health of our waterways, ocean and planet. Not only do we get to have an adventure of a lifetime, but we get an opportunity to do something new and use this platform to inspire change.
Crossing an ocean is already quite challenging and we knew we wanted to do it in the most sustainable way possible. We wanted to know how far we could push the sustainable aspect, from the design and build of our boat all the way to the kind of food and packaging we’ll be taking and the kit we’ll be using, such as oars, clothing, even cosmetics.
No ocean rowing boat has ever been built before like ours. Our ‘Ecoboat’, made by Rannoch Adventures, is made of 3 main components, resin, glass fibre and foam core, all from more sustainable materials. Over 50% of the carbon used to produce the resin is plant based making it greener than commonly used alternatives. Renewable energy is used to manufacture the glass fibre. The foam core is manufactured from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic (PET).
The entire build process has also been adapted to be less wasteful and therefore have a lesser impact on the environment.
As ocean rowing becomes more and more popular, we hope that our Ecoboat will be the first of many!
What does training mean to you and how do you make it a sustainable part of your life.
Physical training encompasses exercise and lifestyle. What we eat is as much a part of creating a sustainable training programme as how we exercise.
At the moment, we’re all working through Ellie’s training programme at home which is made up of muscular strength and core stability movements. The team schedules in times every other day and we all do it together over a video-call. We have also been running and cycling (separately!) to replace the endurance element of rowing and trips to the gym we’d otherwise be doing at this time.
The sustainability of our food is one of the areas we’ve identified in the team’s Sustainability Policy. Everything we’re eating now and when we’re on the boat will be as sustainable as possible - that means using local, Bristol-based food producers and suppliers where we can, reducing our meat and dairy intake and replacing this with protein-rich British grown beans and lentils. We’re being supported by Vivolife who make 100% plant-based performance products and vitamin supplements, so they’re providing us with our protein powders and Omega-3 oils, and we love that they plant trees too!
We’ve also been researching alternative packaging as the risk of food spoiling during the crossing is a massive concern. We’ll each be eating over 5000 calories a day and we need to carry all of that food and more (up to 90 days’ worth) the whole way. We’re determined not to leave any single-use packaging in landfill on the island of Antigua!
How did you decide on the sustainable brands you are working with on this amazing adventure?
We will be four girls rowing, but there are dozens of people behind us who share our commitment to sustainability and go to extreme lengths to ensure that their services and products are sustainable and kind to people, our oceans and planet.
From the physical food and packaging, to nutrition plans, training and physiotherapy, clothing and cosmetics, the production of our boat and boat accessories, and even business support such as our social media team, graphic designers and environmental consultant, we absolutely could not do this without their support.
They are an inspiration to us to keep pushing for more eco-friendly options and new sustainable practices as we take on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a 3,000 mile annual ocean rowing race. Every December, about 30 teams set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to the race finish line in Antigua, taking approximately 30-50 days. It is considered the world’s toughest row.
Follow their journey with us as we get more involved with this incredible mission these ladies are on.