Spirit of EDF Energy was famously rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 by double Olympic Rowing Champion James Cracknell and TV presenter/adventurer Ben Fogle; they won the pairs race that year in 49 days 19 hours and 8 minutes.

It is a never ending job to keep the boat ‘seaworthy’ – she is comparatively old, made of plywood and had sat outside for the best part of a decade so had made good friends with wood rot and water – the former turned plywood to dust and the latter delaminated it so it was useless.


It was a significant job to turn that around – especially as an amateur learning as I went along; a lot of people helped – both with practical work such as Daniel Lewis and LWS Group, materials with Tony Stevens of AES Construction and Woodfines Solicitors with funding. The latter continue to help and without them and everyone else who helps we would not be able to do all of the charity events we do and give Spirit of EDF Energy a new life as Lisa Too, helping others ‘cross their oceans’.

Ben_JamesIf you get chance to look at the boat take a moment to consider that – 7 weeks on board, totally self-sufficient, no outside help, the on board toilet facilities, rowing 2 hours on and 2 hours off day and night. There was a lot of naked rowing too! James and Ben encountered some of the worst weather conditions for an ocean rowing race and at one point were capsized, the boat being tipped over end to end with Ben ending up in the water – they were very lucky to survive and be able to continue their row.

I acquired ‘Spirit’ in 2014. She was in a very sorry state with the plywood completely ‘shot’ in large areas of the boat. After 18 months she was back on the water being used for my professional speaking work, charity events, corporate team building, and not least, just going rowing!


I was given the boat by Will North and Dan Howie who in turn had been given her by James Cracknell; Dan and Will won the pairs race in the Atlantic Rowing Race and attributed some of that win to my coaching whilst they were at sea – offering insights into the marginal gains that over time make all the difference be it rowing the ocean or in business!

I renamed the boat ‘Lisa Too’ after his wife although the boat still carries the original name, Spirit of EDF Energy.

Where I can I take the boat with me for speaking events as I believe experiences will always add to simply just hearing about something; our Atlantic story is very powerful, it takes audiences through highs and lows, laughter and tears. To then see a real ocean rowing boat up close and personal can have a significant impact. Wait until you see her – better still come for a row on her.

I have also used her for three charity rows to date and you can read more about each of these below:

Thames Row 2015

B2Sea 2015

Thames Row 2016

If you would like to book me as a speaker for you corporate or school event, or would like to join one of our ThamesRow crews then please get in touch below:




Ian's Blog
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