Ocean Rower Trains in His Garage for the Northwest Passage

In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all finding creative ways to stay fit, healthy, and sane. Some of us are also taking that time to plan and prepare for our next adventures too. Case in point, a British ocean rower by the name of Phil Kite, who is planning to row the Northwest Passage starting in July of 2021. That may seem like a long way off at this point, but in order to be ready to row this difficult stretch of water next year, Kite needs to be training now. And while under quarantine, he has come up with a unique way to continue his preparation.

According to the South China Muring Post, Kite has decided to lock himself in his garage for 12 days straight. There, he will workout on a rowing machine for the entire time, as he looks to simulate the isolation and repetition that will come with rowing the Northwest Passage. He’ll even go so far as to maintain a typical ocean rowing schedule, rowing for two hours at a time, then taking a two hour break, before returning to the oars. The goal is to row the entire 3218 km (2000 miles) distance of the route over the course of the time he spends in the garage.

As when he rows the Northwest Passage next year, Kite won’t be alone in his efforts. In July of 2021, he’ll be part of a 12-person team who will be working together to complete the crossing. During this training exercise, he’ll be alone his garage, but Kite’s teammates will also be rowing a minimum of 2 hours a day as well. Each of them is spread out across the globe and some can’t dedicate their full time to rowing at the moment, but they’ll add to the distance and effort where they can.

Kite was expected to enter his garage today, May 4, to begin his 12-day challenge. To make that time, he has not only put his rowing machine in there, but has also added a bed, all of the food he’ll need for the time spent in the garage, and a few things to keep him entertained, just as we would be on the actual expedition. He’s also set up a live webcam for anyone who wants to check in on his progress.

This isn’t Phil’s first attempt at a major rowing expedition. He has crossed the Atlantic as part of the Talikser Whiskey Challenge as well, although he expect the Northwest Passage to be a completely different beast. Still, he’s taking major strides to get ready for this big adventure. Right now, he’s just looking to survive the next 12 days.

Kraig Becker