When Andrew McCowan arrives back in Auckland after the gruelling trans-Tasman row his biggest supporter - twin sister Lindsay McCowan - will be waiting to give him a hug and talk about his experience.
Lindsay speaks to Localist about the emotional journey she's on as her brother and his Team Gallagher teammates do their best to edge closer to the New Zealand coastline.
After all the many months of preparation, you must be proud of your twin brother that they are at least half way home?
Yes, extremely proud, the craziest thing I have ever done is jump off the Auckland harbour bridge, last weekend, so this is out of this world. He must have got the extreme adventure gene out of the two of us, because I will not be doing that again. This Bridge to Bridge challenge has taken an astonishing amount of preparation, which I think helps with how they are coping with weather, breakages, and general issues, the unprepared would be finding the row a lot harder. I get to talk to him on the phone when able. Frustration about the weather is the hardest thing to deal with, they still seem in good spirits and just as determined, if not more, than ever. They all get on really well and all are nice guys so that must help with the small amount of space on the large amount of water. Amazing really and so interesting finding out what they have to do to prepare for this adventure and what they are going through.
How is the timeline going? What's the latest arrival prediction?
Well, we have bets on when they arrive, but these have turned out to be pointless, as one thing you can never control is the weather. They eat a lot of metres when they are able to so if they had good weather I would say end of December, Christmas is probably out of the question but you never know. A Saturday would be good..... joking. One thing I have learnt about this row is not to put a time on anything, but I think considering they would be pretty happy with where they are.
Are you keeping in contact with Andrew during the row?
Andrew and I text each other which is really neat and I have to keep reminding myself he is on the ocean. He also rings when able, though credit is low, and then I watch and read their website updates through Localist, it is really good to watch his video blogs. It is amazing what they can do these days in terms of contact and the satellite mapping is awesome.
What's your family's reaction to Andrew's achievement?
Everyone is so proud, my mother sadly passed away three years ago on the 6th of December, which was the same date as Sir Peter Blake in 2001, and she would have loved to see Andrew come in. She was always talking about it and excited about the whole process, I think we all have that in the back of our minds. Everyday my relatives check on their progress, they are just as amazed as myself, we are a close family so we are all glued to the updates.
How do you manage to stop yourself worrying?
The night before he left I was a bit of a mess, but got a lot of advice, there are always worries about health and so on, but in the end you can’t worry about the things you can’t control. He is doing this for himself and I believe if you think positive and take opportunities when they arise your world can change, I actually learnt this off Andrew and am trying to live like that now. However, I am his twin sister.....I worry, but I know he would worry about me worrying, so I try and turn it into excitement. I guess if I waste time worrying on what could happen I am missing out on what actually is happening. I just have great friends and family that put me in line, which I need from time to time.
What will be the first thing you'll do when Andrew gets back home? Are there specific things he is missing?
Celebrate! Probably shed a tear, and just give him a hug and hopefully at some point I just get to chill with him, have a beer, and chat. I am sure he is missing people more than anything, and maybe his bed. He has good mates which I am sure he is looking forward to seeing and probably Burger King and normal food, plus being able to play guitar and go out.
What's your advice to other people who have loved ones take on amazing tasks like this?
Get really into it and tell people what they are doing, enjoy the moment and try and just support them in any way possible. Word of mouth is a great way to get adventures like this out there, and you find people are really interested and willing to support. When family members do amazing things just enjoy it and be proud that they get out there and do this with their lives as it means they are getting out there and achieving goals. I think when mum passed we realised you just have to push yourself sometimes to get out there.
As twins, do you feel a connection to Andrew's experiences on board?
I guess we share it a little, I am not sure, we have shared things all our lives and I know no different. I am always proud to say I am his twin, the reaction is always good too as we look different, he is massive. The name I picked was also selected for the name of the boat (Moana) so it is all pretty cool really. Thankfully I don’t have that experience where you feel what your twin is feeling like pain and so on, that would be interesting, this is solely his thing.