• Egyptian-Team-02-Talisker-Whisky-Atlantic-Challenge-Photo-BEN-DUFFY-2017
  • 1 Team 02 Omar Samra Omar Nour Talisker-Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 2017

TEAM O2, Taliska-Whiskey Atlantic Ocean Row Challenge, 2017

Rowers: Omar Samra & Omar Nour. SciArt Collaborators: Pell, S.J., Bishop, S., Linke, S., Barclay, L., Seedhouse, E.L.

2 Men Unsupported and Rowing the Atlantic Ocean

27 teams, 73 rowers and 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean

Why add SciArt Research to such a complex challenge?

Team O2 enter the premier event in ocean rowing – a challenge to row more than 3000 Miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain (28oN 18oW) to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda (17oN 61oW). It is a race. Every second counts. Every margin of error costs. Every resource and activity is weighed and balanced to ensure there is no waste of time, energy or productivity. Everything on board must be marine grade, light-weight, easily deployed and necessary. This is a test of epic proportions. As research partners we must be able to communicate the significance and contribution of the data collections, and respectfully minimise the interaction demands from the crew, and interference to the race. The crew are willing to be research subjects, but they are not open to being experimented upon for example. We keep it simple: a 360-degree timelapse camera, a hydrophone, questionnaires, two fragrances, and miniture letters. Our SciArt research is the least critical payload for Team O2 because the truth is, that we won’t know if this kind of expedition will yield anything ‘useful’ until we have collected the data. We are grateful for the chance to try.

Team-02-at-Rannoch-Adventure-August-2017 Samra-Nour-Team-02-at-Rannoch-Adventure-August-2017 Samra-Nour-Team-02-at-Rannoch-Adventure-August-2017
Team 02 boat prep and safety inductions for a 100-hour training row. Omar Samra, Omar Nour, Matty Joseph with Angus Collins and Gary Scroggs at Rannoch Adventure, Burnham on Crouch UK 2017. Photos Sarah Jane Pell.

Atlantic Challenge Race Summary 2017

TEAM O2, Number: (7) Rower: Omar Samra (EG) & Omar Nour (EG) Boat Design: JAN.

On December 14th 2017, 26 teams set off from the island of La Gomera. Rowers battled some of the biggest seas we have ever witnessed in the race and within the first seven days we saw the retirement and rescue of four teams. Team 02 were hit by 45 knot winds that caused their boat to capsize on 22nd December. The EPIRB briefly activated but the vessel did not self-right. The next 12-hours at sea were harrowing. Eventually race organisers called a 'Mayday', and a 200m Greek-German cargo ship “Kepalonia” detoured 8-hours to come to the aid of Team O2 and after 3-4 hours of rescue attempts in worsening conditions, Omar & Omar made it onboard. After a hot meal, warm clothes and rest, the men were evacuated from the rescue cargo ship, via helicopter. Omar Nour has Diabetes and requires insulin to maintain his blood sugar levels, and the “Kepalonia” was unable to provide this. I received a call a few hours later from Omar Samra, to say they had landed back in Tenerife, exhausted but feeling like the luckiest men alive asking if our research equipment could help locate their vessel at sea... Many rowers overcame sleep deprivation, sea sickness, technical failures, capsizes, head injuries, hallucinations and salt sores: others set records. One day our 'sciart' monitoring equipment might help to tell their story. Until then, you can go and see their documentary, “Beyond The Raging Sea”.

2 Team 02 Boat JAN Capsize Talisker-Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 2017

Summary of Research Experiments

1. Sounding the Atlantic Crossing

Dr Simon Linke (scientist) and Dr Leah Barclay (artist) are collaborating to map the Team O2 Atlantic Crossing with acoustic data captured from the Hydroacoustic Monitoring Unit (HMU). The HMU is a custom designed sensor for remote long-duration aquatic recordings that will generate hourly acoustic samples for the duration of the expedition. The team will conduct an acoustic transect survey with the data and analyse the recordings with various acoustic indices and long-duration spectrogram. This analysis will inform the development of a feature length radiophonic work that will reveal a sonic map of the Atlantic Crossing. The radiophonic composition will draw on other available synchronised data streams including heart rate, temperature and voice interviews to correlate the weather patterns and physical conditions of the athletics with the sonic diversity of their surrounding aquatic ecosystems.

The Atlantic ocean is a complex acoustic environment, where marine life is reliant on sound to communicate and survive. Sound is felt, reflected and absorbed in aquatic ecosystems. It propagates underwater at different speeds and is affected by temperature, pressure and salinity. Environmental changes are often visible in terrestrial environments, yet dramatic changes in marine ecosystems are going unnoticed simply due to visibility. Through acoustic transect monitoring and creative interpretations, this project seeks to reveal the sonic layers of this remarkable journey.

Technical Instructions Customised Hydroacoustic Monitoring Unit (HMU): Based on a Aquarian H2A Hydrophone (http://www.aquarianaudio.com/h2a-hydrophone.html) and a Frontiers Lab BAR recorder (http://www.frontierlabs.com.au/index.php?p=1_8_Bioacoustic-Audio-Recorder). The HMU is 550 g (with minimum batteries) or 700g (full batteries). The hydrophone is 280g, 14cm x 10.5 cm x 7 cm. It records directly to an SD card and does not involve extra electronics. Requirements:The system comes pre-programmed to start 12 hours after the race starts. Install the HMU to any suitable surface on the outside of the boat. Submerge the hydrophone in the water. Hydrophone can be removed from the water at any time if required (anchor drop). In the event of an emergency or entanglement, cut the hydrophone. If no obstructions are presented, it can be left submerged the entire race.

2. Space Analogue Excursion Team or Extreme Performance: understanding parallels in isolation under duress, exercise physiology data, and excessive natural forces.

Team O2 provides an opportunity to further research into parallel human factors issues for long-duration space exploration. Like the International Space Station where a spacewalk team exit their air-lock and crew module to undertake strenuous performance tasks in the exposed environment, Omar and Omar worked as a small self-reliable crew: coming out on 2 hour rotations to work both day and night in a raging ocean; and while therefore an unusually small research subject sample size for a study, this is an appropriate crew size for space-related field excursions and both historical and future planetary surface activities. Think of the Apollo Mission excusions for example. TEAM O2 offers a unique opportunity to study mission-like operations and human factors in an extreme environment that simulates or offers direct exposure to the following: confined-space, remote habitability and EVA conditions including no resupply, no rescue, limited communications and exposure to extreme radiation, temperature variation, excessive natural forces, vestibular disorientation, while performing strenuous exercise, competing to undertake time-tagged manoeuvres to complete mission objectives, and other performance and research stressors ranging from limited fresh food, limited fresh water, human-powered propulsion and power, navigational and strategic leadership, survival and communication.

Collation of pre-mission planning, training and fitness performance data: Omar Samra and Omar Nour (Team O2) will row for 2 hours, and sleep for 2 hours, constantly, 24 hours a day. Now add the challenge of extreme survival plus the incentives of a race and world-record attempt. Recording GPS, accelerometer, consumption, communication and other data: At its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km/5.28 miles deep. The waves Team O2 will experience can measure up to 20ft high. Each Omar needs to aim to consume 10 litres of water per day. They must desalinate it first. They will burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day, and row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes over a race. They will loose on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic. Participation in human factors research questionnaires: Team O2 partly completed the following suite of Human Factors Research Questionnaires: - Perceived stress scale (PSS) - Pre-race, Start, Mid, End, Post-race. [10 multiple choice questions] - Profile of mood states (POMS) - Weekly [65 multiple choice questions] - Group environment scale (GES) - Monthly [18 multiple choice questions] - Critical incident report (CIR) Randomly [4 questions].

3. Auto-ethnographic accounts of the human experience through video documentation

Brinno HDR Timelapse Camera Pro: 64x 52x 107 mm, 140 g (without batteries) Wire-free, Tool-free, 40 day battery life, Weather-proof case Kit comes with housing, wall mount, plus bungee clips. It records directly to an SD card and does not involve extra electronics. http://www.brinno.com/au/html/TLC200pro.html Requirements: Instructions will be provided for time-lapse settings. Once programmed, silicon seal the camera in the waterproof case (provided). Birdseye or crows nest Installation - needs your positioning/attachment advice. Once on, it can left untouched the entire race. [More data will be added soon.]

4. Time-lapse imagining of sky for meteorite shower visualisation

Inspired by orbital mechanics research by NASA Ames and the SETI institute Prof. Petrus M. Jenniskens, the installation of the Brinno camera captures time-lapse night sky footage over the Atlantic away from the light pollution of land [More data will be added soon.]

5. Star Sailors

AR poetic documentary of the hallucinations, memories and cosmic departures rowing between two shores, an ocean and the stars. [More data will be added soon.]

6. Sense and sensitivity: aroma and cognition counter measure

"Transported by the breeze of time to an era of exploration and daring adventure, Penhaligon’s Trade Routes collection is infused by the vast array of new, exciting ingredients that arrived at the London docks at the end of the 19th century. Tea, spice, silk, pearls, rum; all found on the Clipper Merchant ships." Penhaligon's know the power of fragrances and the courage that can be stirred by powerful memories. Samra and Pell visited the Oxford Street Boutique in London and personally chose the perfect scent to remind him of "home": to evoke all the memories of land and loved ones while he will be rowing for his life. Samra chose the traditional notes of oakmoss, tonka bean and lavender stitched together with woods, ozonic and metallic effects, leather, violet leaf, honey and spices to create the perfect illusion of a tailor’s workroom. Nour, a fan of lemongrass, chose a citrus cologne, as crisp as a freshly launderd white shirt. An invigorating cocktail of citrus oils, spices and woods to compliment the most aromatic gin. Pell sent Team O2 Penhaligon solid stick deoderants. Non-irritant, bouyant, water-resistent, and smash-proof. [More data will be added soon.]

PostScript Remarks

Prof. Sheryl Bishop warned that the structure of the mission/race conditions will VASTLY affect the generalizability of the data sets, however the sciart approach, and unique autoethnographic assets and stories may futher elucidate valuable insight and discovery. "The space analog is a stretch primarily because of the dyadic crew but also because it is more like an expedition to climb a mountain than a space mission. This kind of analog will not generalize to a space mission in a vessel or a hab on a surface, however it certainly will generalize to the ‘away missions’ that will be a critical aspect of planetary stations. So when we load the crew into a rover and send them out to the dark side of the crater to gather data, we will definitely need data from missions like this one to inform the support and structure of those little jaunts. She also made it clear that we should emphasize this parallel rather than the larger analog comparison… The Apollo missions were actually good equivalents to our Atlantic race crew."


We would like to extend our gratitude to Omar Samra, Omar Nour, Matty Joseph, Yara El Zemaity, Angus Collins, Laura Try. Dr. Eric L. Seedhouse. Dr. Sheryl Bishop, Michael Maggs, Mark Calder, Meredith Scarpatti, Tegan Evans, and DHL.

Dr. Simon Linke and Dr. Leah Barclay acknowledge the support of Griffith University in this project. Thanks to Frontier Labs Australia for the customized Hydroacoustics Monitoring Unit.

Dr. Simon Linke, Dr. Leah Barclay and collaborator Dr. Sarah Jane Pell also acknowledge the Synapse Alumni network: an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australia Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) supporting artists and scientists in collaboration.

Race Start: 14th December 2017

Egyptian Team 02, Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. JAN at the startline, Tenerife ES. Photo: Ben Duffy, 2017.
Team 02 prep for a 100-hour training row. Omar Samra, Matty Joseph, Sarah Jane Pell, Angus Collins, Omar Nour. Rannoch Adventure, Burnham on Crouch UK 2017.
Rowing the Atlantic in support of ocean space science. Omar Samra, Sarah Jane Pell, Jonathan Knowles. Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London UK 2017.
Dr. Simon Linke with Frontier Labs Australia  HUD for Team O2 TWAC2017
Dr. Simon Linke with Frontier Labs Australia customizing a Hydroacoustics Monitoring Unit for unique Atlantic acoustics data mapping under race conditions: a SciArt initiative by Team O2.
Dr. Leah Barclay and Dr. Simon Linke with HUD for Team O2 TWAC2017
Dr. Linke & Dr. Barclay and their collaborators proudly support Team O2 SciArt with a custom-MHU for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Crossing 2017.
HUD on deck of JAN Team O2 TWAC2017
Team O2 fit the HMU to the deck of JAN.

Team O2 References:

Omar Samra: http://www.omarsamra.com
Omar Nour: https://www.omarnour.com

SciArt Research Partners:

Sarah Jane Pell: https://www.sarahjanepell.com
Leah Barclay: https://www.leahbarclay.com
Frontier Labs http://frontierlabs.com.au