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Eat Sleep Row Repeat

You may think you know what it takes to row an ocean. But would you have the mental and physical endurance and determination to do it?

Storms, scorching sun and vanishing horizons aside, it essentially comes down to a simple pattern – eat, sleep, row, repeat… hour after hour, day after day.

The 2015 race champions, Ocean Reunion, did just this. In the process, they burnt a staggering 746,000 calories and rowed 4 million strokes over 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, to Antigua in the Caribbean. To top it off, they also became the overall race record holders having spent just over 37 days at sea!

Angus Collins, the team’s skipper, explains that the routine is one of eating enough calories, sleeping for two hours, rowing for two hours and then repeating that every day for over a month. All the while being cocooned on a small boat and facing the elements amidst 41 million square miles of ocean.

You can watch the incredible highlight reel of Ocean Reunion’s story here:

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After all the excitement of yesterday’s Ocean Reunion arrival in Antigua, we’re turning our attention back to the water to bring you the update on some of the rowers who are still continuing their journey.

Family of solo rower Stuart Connacher (Facing It) request your ongoing messages of support over on Facebook, as he prepares for the last leg of his journey to Antigua! Here you can catch his latest blog post, where he seems to have adopted the attitude of “ce la vie!”

RowLikeAGirl have broken the remaining 100NM, and are now on the home straight! They’re expected in Antigua at midday tomorrow (around 4pm GMT). They are set to become the fastest female crew in the race history to complete the journey!

Square One Atlantic are looking to get to 1000 followers on Facebook – before they hit 1000NM to go! Please help them achieve this, and motivate Sean and Lee to keep going.

American team Caitlin and George of Cranial Quest started a Q&A session today! Head to their Facebook to join in the fun and hear some of the answers they’ve given, including the extent of George’s ever-bushier beard.

Matteo Perucchini of Sogno Atlantico managed a selfie today. The ocean diet is working, but the Italian is concerned about his lack of tan! Matteo is currently set to be the the first solo rower to arrive in the Caribbean, so we’ll be keeping a keen eye on his progress over the coming weeks.

Ocean Reunion Row In To Race History

Concept Four Ocean Reunion crew Angus Collins, Gus Barton, Joe Barnett and Jack Mayhew have broken the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race record after they arrived in Antigua with a time of 37 days and 9 hours.

The team rowed the tough rotation of 2 hours off, 2 hours on, 24 hours a day to beat the previous race record by 4 days.

Ocean Reunion showed determination and resilience from the very beginning, despite a tropical storm, sleep deprivation, seasickness and agonising salt rash.

Despite the challenges, Joe felt that the race went even better than they’d planned: “Before you leave you have all the irrational fears – like sharks! When you’re out there, you have more rational fears like the water-maker. You think about things more practically.”

Describing the moment they pulled in to the harbour, Gus said “It completely blew us away. We came around the corner and all of us just got goosebumps all over.”

The foursome, all of Uppingham School in the East Midlands, reunited to embark on the notoriously tough challenge, and have emerged with the highest ranking of success.

Following closely behind are RowLikeAGirl, with just over 100NM left to row! Bella Collins is the sibling of Angus Collins, which is a first in the race history. Success clearly runs in the family!

They did it! Congratulations to Joe Barnett, Gus Barton, Jack Mayhew and Angus Collins  from Ocean Reunion, who  were the first out of 26 teams from across the world to step on to Antiguan soil, winning their class in the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.  They have broken the  race record by completing the gruelling 3,000-mile race in 37 days 9 hours and 12 minutes. (The previous best time was 41 days, achieved by Team Locura in 2014).

Skipper Angus Collins commented on their win: “We’re ecstatic to have won the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and this huge welcome in Antigua has blown us away.  It was incredibly tough and we’re so glad it’s over but it was such a fantastic experience.  I wouldn’t do it again in a hurry but if any of these guys asked, I’d absolutely do it again.”

You can send your messages of congratulations over on the team’s Facebook page.

Head to our Twitter page for more photos and welcome messages for the race winners, Ocean Reunion!

Breaking news! The Cranial Quest have determined which snacks they like and dislike:

“We are sick of: trail mix, peanut butter crackers, and granola bars. We love: fruit snacks, mini muffins, gold fish, poptarts, and chocolate of any kind!”

OK, so hardly breaking news. But when you’re 30 days in to a gruelling 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 24 hours a day row, with nothing but the ocean and up to 3 other people for company, it’s the little things that keep you motivated! The Cranial Quest have also achieved their best time today, 64NM, which is around 3-4NM more than their previous best days. Brilliant news!

Now today is no regular Monday. It’s what social media has coined as “Blue Monday”, AKA the most depressing day of the year. Pay day is still another week away, those Christmas bills have started dropping through the letterbox, it’s cold, urgh. Luckily, such problems are a distant memory for our rowers. However, their version of it comes in the form of the perpetual stretch of ocean that surrounds them. Throw in a few handfuls of blisters and yet more freeze-dried meals and you’ve got the recipe for a genuine Blue Monday! But it’s these challenges that motivate the crews to carry on, and as it would now take many of them longer to row back to La Gomera than it would to push on to Antigua, we suspect the teams have barely even noticed it’s Blue Monday. Just. Keep. Rowing.

You may have heard a few of the teams telling stories of pesky “flying fish”, hurtling themselves towards the boat to some very comical effects. Solo rower Stuart Connacher of Facing It snapped the photo in our header image above, of the culprits themselves. Here’s what he had to say about them:

“These pesky little buggers are starting to hit some of the rowers and are ending up on deck……. Just miss finding one onboard !!!!! Wow they can stink after 24hrs like you’ve never smelt before !!

Ocean Reunion now have over 2000NM behind them, holding fast to their first position. That leaves just a third of the distance left to row, a brilliant milestone to reach and an incredible motivator for the team. In fact, all of the teams in the top 10 are getting increasingly close to this distance now. We can see some competition beginning to pick up, as the teams jostle for a place in the top 10.

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.

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!

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.