An accountant turned Atlantic rower! Ian alleged that he was there to tell us a story of 6 ordinary people who got together to row the Atlantic. Not a bit of it: this was a fascinating and deeply moving story of the personal journey of a man who had a vision: to row across the Atlantic in a record time. This was truly an extreme goal which involved leadership and teamwork. It took all the participants well outside their comfort zone and was a very human story of resilience and an ability to face ones fears.
Ian is a great story teller and some of the more graphic descriptions (of the yellow bucket which was the toilet, complete with a demonstration) brought home that this was no gentile experience. Sighting sea monsters and, perhaps even more bizarrely, an express train 2000 miles from land made the audience appreciate how much stress was involved.
Perhaps, significantly, they did not make it! After completing 2,500 miles and with only 500 miles to go they capsized. This was a near death experience and when they were rescued a sense of relief but disappointment.
I found Ian’s story a great example of leadership in adversity. An ability to conquer ones fears and keep going in the face of both mental and physical extremes produced a great evening.
Luke van Beek CBE
Chief Operating Officer