I’m really excited and proud to be able to welcome Natracare on board as a Silver Sponsor. Their ethical and environmental values make me really happy, and I was bowled over by how lovely the whole team are when I met them.
Natracare makes organic, natural, biodegradable feminine hygiene and baby products. All their products are chemical and additive-free, and are certified free from animal testing. Their philosophy is summed up as: “Mutual respect for the material and functional needs of people in balance with the responsibility to produce products in a measurably sustainable, ethical manner. To support conservation of the earth’s natural resources by using only certified organic and natural, plant-derived, renewable materials which can demonstrate the lowest measured carbon footprint and highest environmental credentials.”
As well as jumping on board as a Silver Sponsors, Natracare have provided me with enough organic, biodegradable wipes to see me through the whole adventure.
One of the areas that I am highlighting through this row is the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. Natracare is well ahead of most in this, having already banned all crude oil plastics from their products.
Finally, Natracare are celebrating their 25th birthday this year – why not help them celebrate by trying out some of their products?
This week we also said goodbye to our trusty towing vehicle, kindly supplied by AMT Vehicle Rental. It has been our companion for the last couple of months, towing the boat to schools and events, on training trips, and finally down to Southampton for the final time. AMT have been so supportive – even branding up the vehicle with my logo and website! They specialise in Prestige and Executive Vehicle rental (we were a rather different sort of customer from usual), so check them out if you’re thinking of treating yourself.
Have a look at the gallery for more pictures of AMT Hammond in action.
Last Tuesday we drove my little orange boat onto a huge green ship, called Oberon, and waved goodbye as we left her there. Oberon sailed that evening, headed for LA via the Panama Canal. The next time I see my little boat will be when we meet her at the other end, ready to drive her up the coast to Monterey. I can’t wait!
Shipping can be an expensive business, but I’m hugely lucky to be sending the boat courtesy of shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. They are a great company to be working with, particularly as their vessels are eco-friendly and fuel efficient, and they are able to deliver quicker than all the other options we had looked into. Their remit is to “deliver innovative and sustainable global shipping and logistics solutions for manufacturers of cars, trucks, heavy equipment and specialized cargo.” Wallenius Wilhelmsen has been absolutely brilliant to me, and I look forward to seeing my boat safely delivered at the other end.
A lot of people have asked about the ‘en suite’ arrangements for the boat, and while it will still be a ‘bucket and chuck it’ system for the most part, I’m really excited to be able to welcome Shewee on board as well.
Shewee is a urination device for women that is going to be really useful on the boat, especially when combined with the Peebol during long hours or days in the cabin during storms.
I’ve already tested the new products, and can add my glowing review all of those that I have read – it really does work.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check them out at shewee.com!
Some more great news: Mactra Marine Equipment are supporting Elsa with supply of electric and handheld watermakers – a critical part of surviving for three months alone in the ocean.
Jim and his team have been really helpful taking us through the ins and outs of a wide range of products, and have a huge amount of experience in general marine supplies, and in particular with ocean rowers – the first five boats in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge had Mactra-supplied watermakers, obviously there’s something about them!
Jim will be working more with Elsa to make sure that she’s prepared to maintain her watermakers should the need arise, and will be on hand for advice throughout the race. Thank you so much!
We’re so pleased to welcome a new supporter to the team: Foremost Signs are helping us produce logos and branding for Elsa’s boat (build pics coming soon, watch this space!) and for our new mini PR model boat!
Mark and his team offer a wide range of sign services, from vinyl to banners and illuminated cut-out lettering. They’re a really friendly and professional bunch, and will be helping us make sure that Elsa’s boat looks awesome!
Excalibur provide communications and IT solutions for businesses across the UK. They’re forward thinking and I really like their broad view on the influence of technology across society – check out their posts on tech trends for 2014, and wearable tech!
Their sponsorship takes me one step closer to the Row in June – continuing the boat construction (watch this space for build pics soon!) and working on the logistics of getting everything to California in time for race prep. Excalibur say:
“Excalibur are proud to join the Bristol community in supporting this inspiring attempt. Elsa, we wish the best of luck for a safe and successful journey”
Thank you so much to James and his team – your support is invaluable to me and I very much look forward to working with Excalibur in the coming months. Check out Excalibur’s site for more information about their work.
Elsa is still looking for more support. Do spread the word – who knows…your next-door neighbour or long-lost cousin might want their logo/name on a boat!
As I look forward to the year ahead, and think about the resolutions I’m making and the things I want to achieve, the Pacific looms pretty large. I had a lovely few days at home, seeing relatives and friends over Christmas; we played games, ate chocolate, went on walks, and I tried to put rowing and fundraising out of my mind for a short time. Of course it didn’t stay out of my head entirely, but Christmas did give me some breathing space, and I’m now ready to hit the ground running.
Even with the holidays it has been a busy couple of weeks, though.
BOAT – I have signed for a boat! It is going to be built by Justin Adkin of SeaSabre – an experienced ocean rowing boat builder who has rowed the Atlantic Ocean himself, and is therefore in an excellent position to give advice and make decisions on the boat. It is hugely exciting to have Justin on the team, and I’m looking forward to seeing the boat grow and develop over the next 6-8 weeks, to become my companion for the Pacific. Photos and more details to follow in due course.
I’ve also paid the first instalment towards the build of the boat, which means that this has just got very real! I owe another instalment by the end of January, and then need to pay the rest by the end of February. If at any point you’ve thought that you might like to support this endeavour, now is the time!
The colour of the boat will be decided on by early February, so any big company or donor hoping to gain title sponsorship has a month to stake their claim and choose the colour and name of the boat (as well as splash their branding all over it). Now is the time to sponsor.
In other sponsorship news, these last few weeks have brought a number of generous anonymous donors to the challenge, as well as WP Engine, who are hosting my flashy new site. I also have the talented students of Clifton Hill House in Bristol to thank, who organised two fundraising concerts in the run-up to Christmas. Both concerts were of a really high standard, and the collection boxes felt nice and heavy afterwards. Those weeks in December were overwhelmingly busy, so I’m only now able to sit back and appreciate how much time and effort everyone put in. Thank you again to all sponsors and supporters – this is a tough challenge (even just the fundraising bit), and having you behind me makes all the difference.
Finally – T-shirts! We have fantastic orange or blue T-shirts available to buy, and there are even kids sizes available. You can look fashionably unique AND tell the world about this crazy woman who will spend three months splashing across the big blue ocean. What’s not to love?!
What’s that? The site loaded in a flash? Well we have some news…
We’re very pleased to announce that WP Engine have agreed to support Elsa by hosting her site! WP Engine offer a fantastic fully-managed WordPress hosting solution, that should speed up the site considerably, and make our poor overworked Campaign Manager’s life a great deal easier.
Here’s Steve’s take on the move and on WP Engine’s provision:
I was a little apprehensive about moving Elsa’s site to another host – I’ve had nightmare experiences in the past trying to shift personal sites and had long periods of downtime, which wouldn’t be great at this time in Elsa’s campaign. But WP Engine’s clear and straightforward migration guidelines and tools worked perfectly.
Now we’re here, the difference is astonishing. The work that WP Engine does behind the scenes means that pages are loading in about a fifth of the time they were before, and the effort I had to spend on securing and optimising the site has vanished! I’d recommend WP Engine to anyone hosting a serious site who wants slick performance with minimal effort.
Thank you to WP Engine for supporting Elsa – we’re really appreciative! Check out their site for more info about hosting your WordPress with them.
We’re extremely pleased to announce that Blockchain.info is Elsa’s newest sponsor, and the first to have their logo featured on the boat!
Our visit to and presentation at the London Bitcoin Expo not only bore fruit in the generous private donations from individuals, but also gave us the chance to meet a variety of Bitcoin-related entrepreneurs, one in the form of Blockchain’s CEO Nicolas Cary. He was very enthusiastic about the Row, and took the time to speak to Elsa despite having an imminent flight to catch!
Blockchain.info is Bitcoin’s most popular bitcoin wallet and block explorer – a place to keep your Bitcoins and to investigate the transactions and processes that go on behind the scenes of the newest and fastest-growing currency. Haven’t heard of Bitcoin? Check out this brief intro.
About the row, Nicolas says:
“The team at Blockchain.info proudly supports Elsa’s historic journey. We wish her calm waters and safe passage.”