Holding court at the Seattle Boat Show...
We could drive the boat in and out of the huge Qwest Field Event Center.
Seattle Bike Expo is next!
February 9, 2007
March 10 at 4:30pm - Seattle Bicycle Expo
March 20 evening - Gonzaga University, Spokane
The next time that I may get a chance to display the boat will be at the Seattle Bicycle Expo at Magnuson Park. We will certainly have a booth there over the March 10-11 weekend, and share our story as Around-n-Over.
The Seattle Boat Show was a wonderful setting for us to display the ocean rowing boat, and to share her wonderful story. The show staff provided us a great location between two main halls, allowing more show participants to walk by and to engage us with their questions.
As I was fielding most of the questions, I felt firsthand the amazement of sailors and yachtsmen when they saw this unique boat without a mast or an engine. While they knocked on the boat to verify that it was actually solid, I confirmed that it was made of marine plywood. When they lifted the rubber scuppers on each side to look behind, I explained that the boat was self-bailing, and any water that splashed in, would empty from the holes hidden by the scuppers. "You rowed" ... "by yourself" ... "alone" ... would come out naturally as comments, to which I nodded patiently as I continued with my answers. I had to allow them time to further investigate the boat before I suggested that I was now planning to row across the Pacific.
"What about the big waves?" they would ask, and I would explain that the waves would lift my small boat, pass under and keep going. Self righting features of the boat with its ballast water and provisions below deck were interesting talking points. That I had solar panels to recharge two marine batteries, used to run a desalination unit to produce fresh water, and to power or recharge everthing electrical on board, emphasized the self reliant nature of this beautiful boat. She had served me well on her third oceanic voyage, after two previous ocean crossings by different teams.
"Are you the first one to do this?" they would ask, and I would tell them that I was the 33rd person to row across the Atlantic east to west singlehanded. That I was alone on the ocean in a little row boat for 95 days between the Canary Islands and Guadeloupe was fascinating to them, and I shared that I had to find peace out there, focusing on the distance, the positive, the rewards and the accomplishments. I would explain that there are just about 300 individuals who have rowed across an ocean either alone, or in teams of two or four. I would compare that number with perhaps 3,000 people who have stood on the summit of Everest.
There was an appreciation for the understated accomplishments of the ocean rowing community. I could talk confidently about these numbers because of the fine contributions of the Ocean Rowing Society International. ORS is working diligently to record our achievements, and is the adjudicator for entries with the Guinness World Records. The statistics pages ORS has gathered over the years is a work of love, and we cannot thank them enough.
The last set of school presentations that I held were for the Middleton area schools, north of Boston. I stopped there on my way back, after my presentations for the Aktaş Group employees and MN Pharmaceuticals sales team in Turkey. My high school coach Al Rosner, an early supporter of Around-n-Over, was now working on our behalf to create this opportunity for me to visit Middleton. Everyone involved in setting up these presentations deserve our gratitude as Around-n-Over.
I have school presentations this spring as well. When I am not traveling, I make a point of visiting schools and sharing my stories with students. At their age, to them anything is possible. They can become anything that they believe they are capable. I tell them that they should hold on to their dreams, set goals, persevere, and find solutions in the face of adversity, not excuses. They hear that without goals, they are like a leaf blowing in the wind. I tell them to choose their friends well and to seek those who know. If they have friends who smoke, they will be smokers, and they should not have friends who use drugs. These are messages that their parents tell them also, and my presentations are an excuse to voice these same common sense universal messages. Sometimes even as adults, we forget them!
I am looking forward to a busy and productive Spring ahead of us.