H2bid Blog

Rowing for Water


Think about the usual holiday plans: Dinner with family, visiting friends and perhaps
watching a few bowl games. A young Ohio woman, however, has a radically
different set of plans this year. Some time around New Year’s Day, Katie Spotz,
a fresh-faced 22 year old, will depart Senegal to row solo across the Atlantic. Yes,
you read it correctly – she will ROW across the Atlantic.

Katie is undertaking this amazing endeavor to raise awareness of safe drinking
water issues around the globe. She has partnered with the Blue Planet Run
Foundation, a San-Francisco-based non-profit group that funds sustainable drinking
water projects around the world. Her goal is to raise enough funds to bring safe
drinking water to at least 1,000 people.

Miss Spotz has a special rowboat, outfitted with solar panels to power her
satellite radio, her laptop and, of course, her mp3 player. Her home for the
next three months is also stocked with several hundred pounds of dehydrated
food – enough to last about 100 days – and a reverse osmosis water to produce
fresh water from sea water. In addition she’ll be carrying a few sets of spare oars
and spare parts kits for the boat and the hardware on it. All of this will be propelled
across 2,500 miles of open water by Katie, herself.

If you’re wondering how one rows across the ocean, Katie has outlined her
“typical” day – you may note that she’ll be rowing for 10-12 hours each and
every day:

6:00am Wake up and eat breakfast, check weather and night progress
6:30am Row for two hours
8:30am Mid morning meal, prep water for the day
9:00am Row for two hours
11:00am Lunch #1, take position and plot chart
12:00pm Short break, powernap
12:30pm Row for two hours
2:30pm Lunch #2
3:00pm Row for two hours
5:00pm Dinner, contact land team with progress, scrub bottom of boat (when needed)
6:30pm Row for two hours
8:30pm Stop rowing, secure boat for the night, sleep

Katie has been preparing for this voyage for some time, now, and as of
December 20, 2009, she is in Senegal performing final preparations. She’s
trained daily to keep in peak physical shape and she has worked with the boat
manufacturer to anticipate and plan for every foreseeable contingency. She
can rebuild and maintain all hardware on board her craft and she’ll have a medical
kit on board in case she needs some mid-ocean maintenance, herself.

For the sake of providing strangers with fresh drinking water, this spirited young
woman will live on a 19 foot rowboat and will, most likely, not see another living
human being for 3 months. If you would like to track Katie’s progress or, better
yet, aid her in her cause, please visit: Row for Water. Katie will be happy to
have you on board!