We had a pleasant surprise in our e-mail inbox the other day – a personal thank you note from the crew of Oar Northwest:

Just wanted to send you guys a personalized ‘thank you’ from all of us. There’s much more work left to do for us out there, but your guys’ tireless help in getting the tracks and steering system in order was just as critical as any other job on that boat.

Again, many thanks!

Greg & the OAR Northwest crew

Oar NW in Dakar

The Oar Northwest crew says “Thank You” from Dakar, Senegal


We’ve been honored to sponsor them, and by outfitting their boat with a top-notch rowing system we feel like we’re playing some small role in their adventure.  We’ve been following their progress on their blog, and are enjoying the combination of educational information together with their more soul-searching missives about the ocean and their place in it. This one in particular really hit home:

The more time I spend on the water, the less I feel I am working for or acting on behalf of the Ocean. Instead I am recognizing the interconnectivity that lies between me, you, us and the Ocean. We are working with the Ocean to find a mutually beneficial future. We pursue the truth of our interdependent relationship through science, spirituality and our shared human experiences. As the future of the Ocean and humankind merge, we recognize our long history and our fragile present. We must care for the Ocean like we care for ourselves, because without the Ocean, we are nothing. That is why I believe: We are the Ocean. –

Adam Creek (Read full post here)

I feel a kinship with them, reading that.  There is something overwhelming about the ocean that makes us feel more connected as humans.

I’m going to take a moment to step out of my “blog voice” and write some of my own thoughts here.  Many of the blog posts aren’t actually written and updated by Dave (our owner and founder), but me – Dave’s daughter, Katie.  As a “boatbuilder’s daughter” I feel a strong kinship with those whom my Dad has rowed and sailed with, those he’s built boats for, and those whom he’s mentored along the way.  Because he loves and works for these guys as much as he would his own sons, it makes me feel like these dedicated, strong, somewhat crazy guys are sort of like my brothers.  His passion for his work and for people, I think, shows the way that the ocean can bring people together.  He lives his life with the sort of dedication, camaraderie, and sheer love of exploring the world that it takes to successfully achieve a major undertaking like an ocean crossing.

When I was a little girl, about five or six years old, my dad sailed the Victoria-Maui sailing race as part of the crew of a boat called the Warrior.  I don’t remember much, but I do remember going to Victoria and exploring the boat with my sister at the seeing-off party, and getting to see the small, narrow berth where my Dad would sleep.  In the days leading up to the journey I remember my Mom telling me to be sure to turn the lights off when I left a room because we had to be good about saving money, so we could all go to Hawaii to see Dad cross the finish line.  I only remember bits and pieces of the actual trip to Hawaii to meet him at the other end, but one thing I do remember is all of us families sitting around a radio as we got to hear our fathers’ voices for the first time in weeks.  And I remember seeing my Dad’s boat sail across the finish line and feeling so proud, like my Dad was some sort of hero (and indeed, he was and still is).

I loved hearing my Dad’s stories about life aboard a boat in the open ocean.  The thrill of seeing a whale pass right underneath the vessel.  Taking a night shift at the helm, gripping the wheel in the darkness and being able to feel the ocean against the boat and the shift in the current with his eyes closed.  I know the journey wasn’t all wonder and awe, and there was a lot of work involved, but those are the moments that stuck with him, and he shared them with me.

I can hardly imagine what the kids of these four guys are going to think about what their fathers did. Their journey is being documented so thoroughly (and scientifically) that their kids could almost feel like they were right there with them, just like the schoolkids who are now following their journey. But even more than that, I think their fathers will show them how the ocean taught them their place in the world, as citizens and stewards.