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

Just 500 miles from the finish, Row2Recovery expect to arrive in Antigua in 6 days time. We predict their arrival to be very emotionally-charged, as the team will be the first all-amputee crew to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Cayle Royce spoke with ITV News yesterday, and told them the three things he’s most looking forward to are a shower, a pina colada and a soft pillow!

To anybody who’s been following Team Beyond on their journey, and is local to Franklin, Tennessee, you’re invited to a welcome home party for Phil on 12th Feb! Head to the Facebook event for more details.

With the youngest all-female team (RowLikeAGirl)less than 50NM from Antigua, how are the other all-female team in the race doing? Yorkshire Rows have had a couple of bumps and knocks that meant the nurse in skipper Janette has been out to tend to the medical needs of the crew. But thankfully nothing serious! Despite a few difficult days, the ladies have adopted a positive attitude to help them through: “We have decided that whatever happens on this boat we will always be “GLAD”, so now when one of us says it’s too hot we will follow it with – I’m glad though because it means the sun is on the solar panels and giving us power”. That’s the spirit! You can read more on their progress here.

Atlantic Drifters are still having issues with their communications, but our Support Yacht has visited them and can confirm that spirits and morale were high. And with less than 300NM left to row their Antiguan dreams are about to become true!

Waterbabies Row managed to squeeze in a new blog post, which he tweeted a few days ago: Here’s today’s blog post: Today I went rowing and it was very similar to yesterday and the day before that.” Do we detect a hint of sarcasm, Callum?!

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!

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.

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.

Our fleet are about to enter week 4 of their journey across the Atlantic, and apart from sore bums, a brief encounter with a shark and a few technical hitches.

Atlantic Buoys have checked in with family and friends, with Hamish reporting that “at night the compass has in fact been turning in to a bleeding skull”…ah, that’ll be the sleep deprivation! Aside from a few hallucinations the team are prepared for the predicted bad weather, and feel safe with their old boat and old heads. Read more on that here.

It sounds as though Atlantic Castaways have been having a whale of a time, spotting a pod of Orcas (killer whales) just 20m or so from their boat! Despite a quick scrabble for the GoPro the whales sadly missed their 15 minutes of fame, but we’re sure it’ll be a sight Freddie and Jack won’t forget in a hurry. The guys are now over the halfway mark, and they’re hoping to hold or improve their position (currently 6th in pairs and 8th in all boats) once the wind turns back in their favour. Finally, Jack made a call home today. His family were concerned it would be storm-related, but he actually wanted to remind them to book Coldplay tickets. Good to hear he has his priorities in check! There’s plenty more from Freddie and Jack on their latest Facebook post.

Thrift Energy continue to be blessed with wildlife appearances, uploading two brilliant photos of a pod of dolphins and more marlin yesterday! (Sorry, Atlantic Drifters).

As the 2015/16 race continues to attract media attention, more celebrity support has been rolling in. Presenter, writer and broadcaster Clare Balding from BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday gave her well wishes to RowLikeAGirl, saying:

“weather permitting, they are well on their way to breaking two world records: the youngest team and the fastest to ever row the Atlantic…we send them our very warmest congratulations for what they’ve done so far and best wishes as they continue on.”

Thank you Clare! You can catch that here, 17 minutes in.

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 continues from NE and ENE until at least 14 Jan. All looking good!

Ahoy there, Team Hesco! We’ve received their first blog post, and it sounds as though they’re enjoying their adventure. In short: wildlife, naked rowing and no drama! Click here to read the full blog.

It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Thrift Energy right now. They’ve posted this short message on their most recent blog post:

“Had our ass kicked last night. Huge wave hit as Andy got in the cabin. Absolutely everything soaked. Couldn’t sleep all night. Very tired. :(“

It really can be tough sometimes, so show your support and wish them well over on Facebook.

The Atlantic Drifters are settling in to their routine now, and have been blogging more regularly to keep their spirits up. Dave also managed an audio blog, reporting that the Oarsome Buoys are creeping up over their right shoulder, so they’re currently trying to stave them off. Exciting to hear of such close competition! They’re hoping to reach the halfway line in the next 4-5 days. You can read more about their recent experiences here.

Olivia from RowLikeAGirl has written a fantastic and detailed blog post about life on the boat. We almost feel as though we’re rowing along with them! Currently in 2nd position, the girls are doing incredibly well, and about to hit the half way mark. Read about their NYE glitter explosion, night time rowing antics, and naked tumbles here.

Rowing For Rascals are also updating us over on Facebook, with an especially interesting spreadsheet from one of their fans explaining (in incredible detail!) their performance so far:

“In summary they’ve completed 22% of the distance and have predicted it will take a further 47 days to complete based on the number of nautical miles rowed in the past 24hrs against NM to the finish!!!”

A strong start to the first few days of 2016. Just keep rowing, teams!

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.