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2016-12-14T16:53:00+0000
December 14th, 2016

Row2Recovery received a surprise call today, from none other than Prince Harry! He congratulated them on their incredible effort so far and wished them luck for the rest of their journey.

It was only a few weeks ago that Hollywood actor Tom Hardy, a fan of the Royal Marines, made a Facebook video in which he referred to Row2Recovery as “hoofing individuals” (translated as amazing!)

Support and encouragement from people of all walks of life motivate the teams immensely, but it’s incredibly exciting for them when they get support from famous faces.

Other teams who’ve received high profile support include Atlantic Lions, after Richard Branson tweeted a Happy Birthday message to Dave a few weeks ago.

RowLikeAGirl had a special mention on sports personality Clare Balding’s Radio 2 show Good Morning Sunday, with Clare championing the girls for their attempt at a world record – to become the youngest female four to complete the Atlantic Challenge.

Astronaut Tim Peake even managed a tweet from space to wish Atlantic Drifters well over the New Year. As another person who faces adversity in the name of achievement, Tim Peake is an influence to the team, so to receive word from him was a fantastic boost for the pair.

Olympic medallist Dame Kelly Holmes showed her support for All Beans No Monkeys with a Facebook video, wishing them well on their continued journey across the Atlantic.

We’ll look forward to seeing more words of encouragement, famous or none, for all of the teams as the remainder of the race awaits them. After more than 4 weeks at sea, the teams are well and truly in to the swing of things, but the coming weeks will still feel tough, as the hunger to reach Antigua becomes ever more desirable.

Great news! After a couple of rough weather days, with the entire fleet putting down their para-anchors and taking shelter in their cosy cabins, some of the teams have been able to start rowing again today.

Theo Jones of Team Hesco wishes to thank everybody who has shown support on their Facebook and Twitter profiles over the last few days. They’re safe and well, and back en route to Antigua! As are Ocean Reunion, Oarsome Buoys, Atlantic Challenge, Atlantic Drifters, All Beans No Monkeys, Atlantic Castaways, Team Beyond, Row2Recovery and Cranial Quest.

Thrift Energy’s Sean has described the weather as being on a “biblical scale”. The guys have been asking for updates on the leading team Ocean Reunion, with the hope that the weather must be clearing if they start rowing again. Well, as we’ve already announced, they are indeed on the move, so go forth, Thrift energy!

If you’re wondering where Latitude 35 have got to, they currently have a limited power supply as one of their two solar panels isn’t functioning properly, therefore they’re utilising what power they have for essentials such as the water-maker, AIS and satellite phone. We do know that they waited as long as they could, before dropping their para-anchor on 12th January, and the moment the weather gets better, it’s on to Antigua for them too. Hopefully we’ll hear more from them again soon.

All Beans No Monkeys reminded us that there’s some comfort, however, to be taken in the rough days, and that’s the memories you forge that you’ll home take with you forever:

“We just want to leave you with a memory from last night, just before the storm hit. We decided to put out the Para Anchor just before the light faded and before the storm hit. We then settled into our cabin, heated up some coffee we had been given as a Christmas gift and cracked open our emergency supply of Haribo. It was the literal meaning of ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ and is something we will definitely remember forever”. It’s the seemingly insignificant moments that we take for granted at home that make the big difference when you’re drifting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

A bit more on the weather front today: The weather turns on 9th Jan with some elements of S winds building. This continues through 10th Jan until lead crews will get W elements on 11th Jan. By 12th Jan the fleet will all get W and S winds, some in excess of 20 knots.

All Beans No Monkeys were in for a nice surprise this morning when they woke up to a video from non other than Dame Kelly Holmes, wishing them well on their continued journey through the Atlantic. Here’s the full video. We’re sure that the monkeys are feeling much more motivated after seeing this!

Coventry Five-O are amusing themselves through their journey, by sharing as many water/sea/rowing-related records as possible on their Facebook page! Have they missed any?

It’s sore bums for the Atlantic Lions – in fact, the same can be said for all of the teams now, as they progress through their journey, subject to salt water on a daily basis. So plenty of alcohol rub is being dispensed to help reduce chafing. But despite this and a few issues with power, the boys remain in good spirits, heading slightly more South than West as the low pressure sweeps in from the North West.

After a few ups and downs, Square One Atlantic’s family have updated their Facebook page and are pleased to hear more positivity in their voices. There’s one growing concern for Sean though…his football team Newcastle United are on a continuous losing streak. His family face this dilemma: either not update him on the scores…or lie. Suggestions welcome here!

Finally, Team Wadadli make it all sound so easy! Yesterday they caught another Mahi-Mahi so they were able to enjoy another delicious fish soup. They even took some time out from the relentless rowing and cleaned the cabins, then went for a refreshing swim. All this whilst still holding a steady 11th position! We’re sure this is all much more leisurely than it sounds…

The predicted weather doesn’t seem to have dampened (pun intended) the spirits of the fleet, and we’ve continued to receive their hotly anticipated blog updates over the last few days.

Team Beyond have a had an interesting week. They’ve capsized not once, but TWICE! Blaming a “rogue wave” for their first capsize, the boys and their equipment escaped unscathed, and went on to give a fascinating account of their experience, and an explanation of the science behind waves. You can find all of that here (and trust us, it makes for a very good read!). Tennessee-based online newspaper Brentwood Home Page have also done a brilliant write-up for Team Beyond, showing their support for the local lads, so be sure to check that out too.

Every bit of support that the teams can get gives them the determination and spirit to keep going. There’s a reason that the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is named the world’s toughest race. It simply is just that. To see such rallied support from friends, family, sports enthusiasts and the media is a huge motivator for our rowers. So thank you!

Speaking of which, The Mirror have featured an article about Row2Recovery just today, with Lee telling them about the challenges, and the reasons behind such an ambitious event: “It’s the ordinary things that we take for granted like getting from one end of the boat and changing over as we’re rowing in shifts, we lose quite a lot of time when we could be rowing. But that’s all part of the challenge. But if four disabled guys can achieve this what message does that send? We’re doing this to make a statement that life doesn’t finish when you’re injured. Life goes on and you can still do extraordinary things.”

Defying the astronomical odds, All Beans and No Monkeys found themselves with a little competitive company in sight yesterday! Team Beyond were rowing right next to them! We sensed there was more welcome relief than competitive needling (although both teams reported some added wind to their sails!)

A quick one from Team Thrift – Shaun managed a brief satellite chat with BBC Newcastle. Despite “being up against it at the start of the year” they continue to make good progress and they’re “not complaining”! We know that they had a few issues with their electrics earlier this week, so it’s great to hear that the crew remain positive and focused. You can here the entire interview here, if you skip to 1:26.

Finally, we want to congratulate Ocean Reunion and RowLikeAGirl for officially getting past the halfway point! Many other teams are also very close to the same milestone now. Well done to all!

Lots for the update today! We’ll start with the impending shift in the weather…

A significant change is occurring with a large low pressure forming and tracking S and then E. This is not good news for the fleet as most will get headwinds at some time during 09 -14 Jan, some of which will be in excess of 20 knots. The whole fleet has been warned and options discussed but it will mean para-anchor and an unpleasant few days. The boats are designed for the worst conditions but it will be uncomfortable and the rowers may suffer bruising as they are confined to cabins. But like anything, the storm will pass and the weather then looks to give favourable winds to help the crews on their way. You can track the weather here at windyty.

Despite the forthcoming storm, there’s been positive news from some of the teams. Yorkshire Rows, Atlantic Drifters, Cranial Quest, Coventry Five-0, Team Thrift Energy, Atlantic Lions and All Beans No Monkeys have all spoken to the Duty Officer’s today to let them know that all is good and most issues seem to be improved, and in some cases, resolved altogether. Brilliant!

We also have an update from Oarsome Buoys, (4th in all boats) thanks to Shaun’s Mum: ‘ Speaking to Shaun on the sat phone, the Buoys have worked hard to get to the front of the Pure Pairs class and are buzzing with excitement! The best bit so far – being first in class! The worst bit so far – losing an oar! Whilst surfing a wave, Sic Parvis Magna was hit on the after starboard quarter by a huge wave. The power of the wave was so great that Ryan’s oars got caught, snapping the gate and the oar was gone. A replacement gate later and a new oar and they are back on track!’

Atlantic Castaways (7th in all boats) have also managed a blog post, and their enthusiasm, passion and drive for this adventure is infectious! They reported that “Despite the heat and sore claws, we are having an unbelievable experience. We have seen a lot of wildlife (marlin, sharks, turtles and dolphins etc.) but our absolute highlight was when a pod of dolphins escorted us out of a storm, performed a ‘good-bye’ routine and then swam back in! It really was an incredible sight, not to mention a very welcome one”. We couldn’t be happier for the boys!

By the way, some of you may have noticed that the speed listed for each boat on the mobile tracking app, is different to the speed listed if viewing the tracker on a computer. We have a simple explanation for this inconsistency! The app version of the tracker updates as soon as the tracking beacons ‘ping’. This instantly updates the speed. However, due to the extra processing it takes through a computer, the speed is taken on an average over the last 2/3 ‘pings’, so it tends to be lower. So there you have it!

The wind conditions remain positive for all teams, blowing 13-19 knots from the NE until at least 7th January. Keep up with the latest weather updates here at windyty.

No changes on the leaderboard in the last 24 hours, with fours Ocean Reunion still in 1st, (810 NM) pairs Atlantic Challenge (675 NM) in 2nd and fours RowLikeAGirl (741 NM) in 3rd.

Thrift Energy Atlantic Challenge are keeping their spirits high (despite permanent damage to their main water container and Sean’s thumb injury!) by regularly updating their blog, telling us of their hilarious antics at sea! Currently 22nd in all boats, they have hope of getting a bit more distance now that the winds have changed in their favour.

All Beans No Monkeys are also using good humour to get them through their journey. They’ve been repeatedly asked what is the toughest thing about this race, and, as is commonly reported from all of the teams, sleep deprivation tops the list! To show the size of the inside of their sleeping cabin (and their best Elmo impression!) they shared this video on Facebook. Keep up the good work, guys!

News just in! Team Wadadli took the opportunity to try a spot of fishing this morning – and caught a Mahi Mahi! More on that here.

Finally, to give you some idea of the size and scale of our incredible rowers journey, the JournalStar worked out that:

“George Pagano and Caitlin Miller (Cranial Quest) have rowed the equivalent of the state of Nebraska in just over a week”. Wow!