The second of a series of blogs from Kevin Biggar, who trained with Rob Hamill for the Transatlantic.
One of the many wonderful things about Rob is that he isn’t daunted by corporate hierarchy or conventions. When trying to raise funds for the 2003 trans-Atlantic rowing race this attitude was invaluable – although it sometimes led to unexpected outcomes. (Excerpt from ‘The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower’)
Rob and I are still spending hours and hours each week knocking on doors and giving presentations, and calling on favours to get intros to companies. Rob is fearless, treating corporate offices as if we are visiting a friend’s bach over the summer. He would pad up to the reception desk in his sandals, ask to see the big guy, only to be informed that he is in a board meeting. “No worries, it won’t take long. Is it this door?” Opens the door to a room full of a dozen stiffly suited, startled middle aged men sitting at a large glossy table. “Gidday mate, how are you? Can we have a chat? Are you busy?”
The phone rings. It’s Rob.
“Gidday. I’ve just spoken to Mt Gay Rum. I’m trying to convince them that we should get the old Atlantic boat painted up in Mt Gay colours and have you rowing out around the harbour giving out rum samples.” “You mean like the Jagermeister Girls?”
“Except we would be the Gay Rum Boys?”
“You got it. What do you reckon?”
We get an appointment with Bell Tea, they sound very positive on the phone. Rob and I are brought into the boardroom. A few minutes later the CEO comes in, and offers us something to drink.
“Coffee thanks,” says Rob.
We have an appointment to speak to a manager at Sanitarium. I am quite excited about it because we are a good fit with the sporting image around their Weetbix brand.
Once again we find ourselves nervously waiting in a large boardroom.
“Rob, you know Sanitarium are owned and operated by the 7th Day Adventists?”
“So we should probably watch our Ps and Qs.”
One of the Sanitarium marketing team arrives. He is young, polite and conservatively dressed, and after a few moments of small talk during which some hot drinks are brought in, the presentation gets underway. I am just explaining the race when suddenly there is a loud exclamation from the other side of the table.
We both look around to see Rob pushing his chair away from the table and flailing at his crotch.
“I just spilled my coffee all over me. Bugger!”