Team Gallagher on trans-Tasman horror
Sat, 18 Aug 2012 6:23p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
Six months after an at-times nightmarish trans-Tasman row, Team Gallagher have opened up about how tough the trip really was.
It was supposed to take 30 days, but two months in they still weren't home and things were going from bad to worse.
But team leader Nigel Cherrie hasn't been deterred, and revealed the next adventure he's planning.
Team Gallagher rower Andrew McCowan hasn't seen the boat since he crossed the Tasman in it last summer.
"It was a home away from home, wasn't it?" he says. "It's actually good seeing it again."
McCowan and three others set out to become the first people to row from Sydney to Auckland in the Bridge To Bridge challenge. It was supposed to take 30 days, but took 55.
The extra three-and-a-half weeks challenged their resolve, and at times, their sanity.
"We had oars break, shoes come off," says McCowan.
"Oh God, we broke one of the wings on the rudder, so that made it quite hard to turn the rudder," says Cherrie. "The autopilot burnt out. The navigation light died. The sea-me died. We broke the axels in the seats. We ran out of gas in the cooker. Some of the hatches we had a few problems. Contamination of food."
"We were worrying about running out of food," says McCowan.
"Our steering auto-helm broke, which was unfortunate," says Cherrie.
For the first time 3 News can show you scenes from their neverending story, which Sir Peter Blake's son James is making into a documentary.
A storm kept them trapped in the boat for nine straight days. Cherrie used the time to start writing a children's book, but it was no "boys' own" adventure.
"Every now and again we'd just wake up and think, how much longer do we have to do this?" says McCowan.
"It was screwing with our heads, mentally it was very tough."
The trials and tribulations made the team extremely close, but Martin Burka got off four days before the end, and he didn't meet the team as they crossed the finishing line at the Auckland Harbour Bridge. They haven't seen him since.
"I haven't see him since he got off at the Bay Of Islands," says McCowan.
"It was a tough conversation for everybody," says Cherrie. "It was a tough decision for Martin and obviously had repercussions for us, and we understand the reasons he did it and why he had to get off."
Burka said that he wanted to spend time with his fiancé before she went overseas.
All the drama aside, Cherrie's planning the next adventure.
"I haven't quite got clearance from my wife yet but… I think in four years, San Francisco to Hawaii would be a pretty good goal, so I'm starting to get my head around that one."
It's almost twice as far – 3900km as the crow flies from the Golden Gate Bridge across the Pacific Ocean, McCowan says he could be talked into joining him.
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