At last…..We have a boat


By Ross McKinney

We haven’t been able to do much rowing this year due to covid restrictions, but that has not stopped our preparations for rowing across the Atlantic next year in aid of Reverse Rett. Our campaign has been a welcome distraction from the difficult year that 2020 has been.

The most exciting news is that we have secured a boat! She has completed the crossing twice before, which gives us confidence that she is up to the job. A crew of three brothers (team BROAR) from Edinburgh crossed the Atlantic in her last year and set a number of world records along the way. We aim to pick up the baton from them and continue with our own success.

At this stage I have barely started my physical training! Luckily there is a long winter ahead to get stuck into a training programme to get ready for next year. Our main focus at the moment is on fundraising to make our dream become a reality. Challenges like this require a significant financial input to get them off the ground, particularly as we need to fund the purchase of our boat, oars, navigational equipment, safety gear and training courses; not to mention the mountain of dried food supplies we will need to fuel our efforts. We will burn 5,000 calories a day and even so, expect to lose 12kg each!

We are reaching out to any potential sponsors who want to get involved in our challenge and help us get to the start line so we can make a difference for Reverse Rett. The race itself also carries a huge global following and presents a unique marketing opportunity for any companies to gain exposure as a result of our campaign. We know it has been such a tough year for everybody and none so more than charities, so it makes us even more determined to do everything we can to help.

I had to a step back from our campaign recently, as my family has been through a very difficult spell, due to my nine-year-old daughter, Eliza’s health and complications with her Rett Syndrome. Eliza had to be rushed to hospital after a choking incident at home, which lead to collapsed lungs and her nearly losing her life. Later in intensive care, it was found that she had an underlying lung condition which is likely a result of aspiration associated with Rett Syndrome. She had to undergo two surgeries to fix this problem and spend 5 weeks in hospital until she recovered. It was a huge scare for us and our other kids who witnessed it happen. Eliza is extremely resilient and has bounced back from her ordeal and thankfully we have her home again and getting back to her old self.

Eliza’s recent experience has made me check in on my reasons to row across the Atlantic. It has made me think really hard about what it means to take on this challenge, particularly leaving Eliza, my wife and three other children for two months while we are away. But it is worth the sacrifice and I am more determined than ever to take on the Atlantic. Eliza deserves a better quality of life and to be free from the complications of Rett Syndrome.

If you would like to support us, we have a huge range of both corporate and personal sponsorship options, including becoming a “stowaway” on our boat for £250 and having your name or even your child’s name on the inside of our boat, so they can accompany us across the Atlantic!

We would also love to establish regional ambassadors to support our campaign and help our fundraising for Reverse Rett.

If you think you could help with contacts or fundraising, please get in touch via or via social media. You can find us on Instagram @five.row and you can follow our progress by LIKING our Facebook page. and

There’s also everything you need to know at our website

Eliza looking delighted to be finally leaving hospital with her brother, Angus