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2016-12-14T11:00:00+0000
December 14th, 2016

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, now an annual race, will be back on the 14th of December 2016, pitting 13 new teams of rowers against one of the most fearsome oceans – in what’s considered The World’s Toughest Row.

The updated information on the new crews, their stories and charity partners can be found HERE.

It is an international fleet, there are seven teams from the UK, three from the United States, one from South Africa, one from Northern Ireland, one from Scotland and one from the Ukraine.  All will be at the mercy of the elements as they undertake one of the most perilous sporting challenges on Earth, rowing the 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to Antigua in the Caribbean.

The bar is set high: with a new overall race record of 37 days and over 5 Guinness World Records broken in 2015, the new teams are getting ready to conquer the Atlantic Ocean in the most epic of challenges. The 2013 and 2015 races also saw over €3.3 million raised in donations to the teams’ charities.

Over the next few weeks, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge website will be re-launched and kept up-to-date with news, articles and inspiring videos.

Click HERE to subscribe to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge YouTube channel and follow the action.

Two’s company, so they say. Here’s the latest from everyone in the pairs category:

Oarsome Buoys were greeted by a 10 metre whale at the end of their oar yesterday which gave them a bit of a fright! They were, however, amazed at such a beautiful creature who then decided it would be fun to play with the bow of the boat. It’s incredible moments like these that make the difficult times more bearable for the teams. Great to hear!

Atlantic Buoys were happy to hear the news of solo rower Steve Murphy, receiving help from experienced ocean rower Leven Brown to get him to the finish line: “What a legend Leven Brown is! The buoys were very pleased to hear this news that Steve will still achieve his dream. No matter who your crew are, how many are in your crew, what your story, each crew have their dream, their drive to do this amazing challenge and each and every crew will hopefully get to the end now”.

Atlantic Castaways gave us a great update a few days ago on their Facebook page. You can click the link to read the full story, but spirits are high on Blue Steel (unless you get a less than  desirable selection of meals to eat for the day – Sorry Freddie!)

Atlantic Drifters have gone a little quiet on us. We found out over the weekend that they have lost communications and so they’re unable to give their followers any updates. However, we know they’re safe and well, and pushing on to Antigua, so please send your words of encouragement to them over on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Dan and Olly of Atlantic Challenge have a powerful and in-depth blog post from Dan, that provides a real sense of their thinking and motivation. You can read the whole post here.

Coventry Five-O have been playing “fantasy food”. Here’s what’s at the top of the league: “Lamb sagwali bhuna, pilau rice and 3 chapatis please.” Whatever helps you to row quicker, guys!

The Cranial Quest are hoping to reach a very motivating milestone today, less than 1000 miles to go! You can keep up with their progress on their Facebook page.

Rowing 4 Rascals Duncan and Andy are doing much better now, and have reached they first major milestone of 1000 miles! You can get the latest from them from this satellite conversation with their family back home.

Team Beyond have managed a full update on Facebook, covering all subjects from bottom hygiene, the cost of oil prices and Pink Floyd!

Shane and Theo of Team Hesco have also hit the 1000 mile mark! Although poor Theo is suffering from chafing, and the sun is making the inside of the cabin more and more unbearably humid, they’re in good spirits and very much looking forward to picking up the pace to Antigua. Read the full blog update here.

Thrift Energy rowers Sean and Andy covered good ground again yesterday, and are excited to see the forerunners of the race with less than 200 miles to finish.

Finally, Square One Atlantic have been updating their Facebook page with some hilarious stories of naked pilates, geordie accents and balaclava tans!

It’s great to hear that the pairs are doing so well, and remain focused and determined to reach Antigua. See you all soon!

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.

For those of you concerned about the current weather conditions, we have a detailed forecast for you that should help put you (and our rowers too!) at ease: A low pressure system is tracking W to E and it has hit the fleet. The boats in the north are nearer the centre of the system and will get worse winds. Today has seen the strongest of the winds – around 30 knots going through the fleet.  The anticlockwise rotation means that crews will get N, NW, W, SW and S winds during the time it takes the system to pass. Imagine the winds spiralling anticlockwise whilst moving W to E and if you are in a boat at the bottom part of that rotation you will be able to picture the impact of the wind as it changes direction.

By Wednesday evening the crews will still be headed by significant winds but much less than Tuesday. By Thursday, winds decrease further with conditions better in the South. By late Friday all crews will start to get winds from the NE.

Although some of this might sound scary, our crews are trained to cope in difficult weather conditions. There’s not much to do other than to drop the parachute anchor and sit it out. Notice that the race tracker shows the boats facing the wrong way? This is due to the dropped anchor, which most of the crews have now done. The upside to the storm is that the teams get a break from rowing, and are taking the time out to update their blogs and social media pages. Every cloud eh?

Atlantic Castaways tweeted: “Wind 25 kn. 24 hrs enforced captivity in sweltering cabin. Playing Uno. #twac2015 #cosy” Um, sounds like fun?!

RowLikeAGirl are requesting your messages to keep the morale going while they wait patiently in their cabin. How have RLAG inspired you? What impact has this adventure had on you or someone you know? Maybe you just want to get them an update? Get involved and send them your messages of support or questions here.

Last to deploy their anchor was Row2Recovery, after attempting to out chase the storm, pushing as far South as they could to find the safest spot. They welcome the rest after 23 days of none-stop rowing, but are looking forward to finishing the remaining 1351 NM to Antigua. More on that here.

Hooray for Atlantic Drifters – they FINALLY saw some wildlife! And we’re not just talking about a couple of MahiMahi. The pair were stalked by a whale at least 3 times the size of the boat! Be careful what you wish for, boys…

Atlantic Challenge have written an epic blog post, just a day or so before they dropped anchor, citing the differing views of Olly and Dan on the night of their capsize. It’s a gripping read! You can check that out here.

We are in constant contact with each of the teams on a daily basis, so we’ll continue to bring you all of the updates as and when we receive them.

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!

 

The predicted wind direction has not failed the teams, with the whole fleet getting 15-20 knots from the NE and ENE until at least the 9th January. This is great news for teams such as Row2Recovery, who had a game plan of heading South early, as they can now enjoy the benefit of the trade winds from Africa, pushing them towards the Caribbean.

RowLikeAGirl are still doing the girls proud, and remain firmly seated in 3rd position. They rowed an impressive 71 nautical miles in the last 24 hours, which pips second place boat Atlantic Challenge by 3 NM. Dan and Olly will need to pick up the pace if they want to keep their 2nd position.

Remaining in 1st position are Concept Four rowers, Ocean Reunion. They’ve rowed an incredible 710 nautical miles in 10 days. If they keep up this pace, they could find themselves rowing towards the beautiful shores of Antigua in just another 32 days!

Heading up the Concept Class are Ocean Reunion, while pair David Lambert and Tom Brunwin (Atlantic Drifters) lead the Pure Class. Sea Rover Greg Maud (picture above) is currently the fastest of the solo rowers, coming 16th in all boats with 2200 NM left to the finish line.

Ocean Reunion have been keeping their social media audiences updated, and have posted this message on their Facebook page as a response to the continually uplifting emails they’ve been receiving: “The going will get tough (it probably already has). The blisters, the sea sickness, the lack of space, the waves, the cramp, the sleeplessness, the diet – they will all push you to your limits. But when it gets dark, just remember why you’re doing this: you’re putting your bodies and minds on the line for a phenomenal couple of causes. Every stroke will inch you closer to that line.”

Atlantic Challenge continue to update their blog. The latest instalment is here, and tells us about their night-time, hallucinogenic experiences on the eerie, Atlantic Ocean! Sleep deprivation could be to blame here, and should reduce as they become accustomed to the rotations.