The Sark to Jersey race is an iconic race and a few people have asked me about how to prepare and plan for this coastal adventure. I have outlined some basic information below.
HOW TO ENTER
You need to be a member of Jersey Rowing Club to be able to hire a boat, and you need to have done some Have-A-Go-Row sessions to verify that you are competent and safe in the boat. Additionally the Jersey Rowing Club run a number of races from March, up until the Sark to Jersey race and you will be expected to compete in sufficient of these to prove you have the stamina for the distance.
The Sark to Jersey race is open to other clubs and people with private boats, so you don’t have to follow the above steps to participate in the Sark to Jersey race.
JOINING THE CLUB AND HIRING A BOAT
For details on how to enter contact the Jersey Rowing Club
HAVE-A-GO-ROW AND COACHING
The Jersey Rowing Club promote a number of Have-A-Go-Row sessions for people to experience rowing. These are for novices and provide a good introduction to rowing. Although supported by good coaching they are generally for beginner crews and focus on key basics.
The sessions happen approximately monthly, but this is dependent upon the weather and availability of coaches.
For details on Have-A-Go-Row sessions contact the Jersey Rowing Club
A SUGGESTED TRAINING PLAN FOR THE 16 WEEKS+ LEADING UP TO THE RACE
I suggest that you could be rowing 3-5 times per week, and doing at least 15,000 meters per week either on the water, or if it is too rough on the ergo (rowing machine). I regard this as the minimum. I had the good fortune to set the Sark to Jersey Mixed Double Record in 2014* when I was rowing 60,000 meters per week. I regard this as the maximum. (That record has since been bettered!)
Anywhere between the two is good depending on your ambition!
SAMPLE TRAINING PROGRAMME
A GUIDE ON TECHNIQUE AND KEY DRILLS
I will expand on this later, but looking at some great videos is a good start.
DETAILS OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT (AND WHERE TO GET IT)
Sark to Jersey race will publish entry conditions, but they usually include the following requirements
Lifejackets for all crew and cox
3 smoke flares
BASIC SAFETY ADVICE AND “RULE OF THE SEA”
The Jersey Rowing Club has a lot of good guidance
GUIDE ON WHERE TO BUY ROWING STUFF
WEBPAGE OF USEFUL LINKS (SAFETY, WEATHER, SHIPPING)
Before you go to sea you should
Notify people where you are going and when you will be back
Use your VHF to notify the coast guard of your planned trip
Add details in the club log-book