When we started equipping our ocean rowing boat Roosevelt, we ended up with a list of 135 critical new items needed from technical clothes to waterproof iPods to signaling mirrors (and life-saving emergency beacons, satellite phones, etc.). And this wasn’t even an exhaustive and detailed list: our medical and hygiene kit alone has more than hundred separate items!
Here’s an overview of some of the best products and services we will be using. While all of these companies have supported our expedition in various ways, we first chose the best product, then approached the company, rather than the other way round. In other words: we truly believe in these gadgets and goods!
Our second skin: 2XU
We tried number of options to protect our bums against rubbing and skin against sun, and while we may end up doing some of the rowing bare naked, we decided to go with compression and non-compression gear from 2XU. We were both familiar with their products in running and triathlon.
Sleep tracking: Beddit
Sleep will be one of the top three challenges we’ll be facing with our 24x7 rowing plan. I’ve been a fan of Beddit’s non-intrusive sleep tracking for several years and we’ll have the new light version of their sleep tracker aboard. Our initial plan was to follow a 2on/2off (one rows, while another sleeps) but thanks to our sleep data, Beddit and also ZEO founders advice, we’ve come up with a better plan...
Recording embarrassing moments: GoPro
GoPro team was kind enough to support us with a box load of GoPro gear. In fact, we'll have four different cameras set-up on our boat, two outside, one in the cabin and one hand-held. We shouldn’t miss a single embarrassment now!
Eye protection: Kaenon
I’ve previously used other brands for eye protection, but experienced ocean goers and sailors convinced us to try California based Kaenon, who also supplied sunglasses for the America’s Cup’s winning team. After a few test rows, we were sold.
Tracking, navigation and performance: Suunto
Naturally(!), we've been a long-time fan of the Finnish company Suunto and their multi-sport watches, especially the Ambit 2 and other gear...including compasses that they supply for the Finnish army! We’ll track our rowing performance as well as use some of their navigation gear.
Real-time logging and tracking: Rove
The number #1 support crew question – after their initial shock about the row – has been “can we track your progress somewhere”. Indeed, everyone can! Lifelogging service Rove and their team customized our real-time tracking app, where you can follow our progress and daily updates. It will be accessible from our home page when we push off.
Adjusting circadian rhythm: Valkee
We know from research and previous ocean rowers’ experiences that once you mess up your sleep cycle and wake up in the middle of the night and try to sleep in the middle of the day, your physical and mental performance suffers. As crazy as it sounds, our brain absorbs bright light (photons) and reacts to it positively, when administered through the ear canal. Yes, ear canal! We’ll use Valkee to tell our bodies it’s “morning and time to work” although we are waking up in the middle of the night for an extended rowing shift.
Needless to say, this list is just the tip of the technology iceberg aboard (solar power equipment, watermakers, navigation tools, satellite phone, emergency beacons, and many others)!