I enjoyed this sporting tale of self-imposed endurance by businessman, Dave Clarke, who initially had his doubts about the project of rowing the Atlantic, being rather pushed into it and against family approval. Nevertheless, all alone, he rowed his way to victory, to be the first person to achieve the double of single-handed sailing, later followed by single-handed rowing, across the Atlantic. And he did it at record speed, devouring sixteen jamie dodgers at a go, plus mountains of pasta to keep his carbohydrates up, not to mention endless mugs of tea and coffee!. Even then he lost weight (three stones), which says something about the physical effort required, leaving him with memories of sunrises/sunsets and being at one with wild nature for a hundred days, not to mention making friends with a little fish called Stripey. Dave deserves to glow and I hope he does!
Adventurers are selfish, that is a given. When we watch stuff on TV we have images in our head of sponsors paying for everything and the 'adventure' is more like an 'all expenses paid' trip to do what you love doing be it rowing, climbing, trekking etc. In Solo Dave Clarke tells us what it is really like, the expense isn't just to the pocket either, the cost of what adventure does to a family is made all too clear by Clarke. The mental strain on the adventurer is huge and Clarke gets this across well. Rather than day 1 row a bit, day 2 row a bit more, this story tells of the inception of the idea, the design and build of the boat, the hardships and commitments suffered due to having sponsorship obligations, and of course the journey itself, warts and all... A great read in an easy going style, makes you think what us mere mortals could achieve if we knuckled down to the task in hand. Would I get in a boat with Clarke? Not a chance, we are taking about a bloke who lost 600 tea bags on a rowing boat after all!!
Dave Clarke is a man driven by his passion for adventure. This book has a refreshing realism about it, showing both the highs and lows of discovering your dreams. Written with heart and passion a perfect holiday read for me. I am positively excited to know where his next adventure may take us.