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After a few quiet days, Antigua eagerly awaits the arrival of The Cranial Quest tomorrow! The American pair have less than 50NM left to row, and we expect to see them at about lunch time (GMT) tomorrow. Keep an eye on their progress on their Facebook page.

Now, Callum of Waterbabies Row may not have come first in the race, but we’re pretty certain he’s won the TWAC beard competition! You can check out his bushy voyage on Facebook, and find out a little more about his race progress too. With less than 100NM to row, Callum is expected to be arriving on Wednesday.

If this year’s race has taught us anything, it’s that anybody can achieve greatness. It’s not just the fantastic all-amputee team Row2Recovery that have set the standard, but also Yorkshire Rows, 4 (extra)ordinary Mum’s who took up rowing as a hobby and struck up a lasting friendship with each other. They remain at sea, and although they’re now hand-steering due to some technical issues on board, with less than 500NM left to row they’re fantasizing about burgers and fries, ice cream, fresh fruit and spag bol. Bit of a theme there, don’t you think?

An Ocean Tide has slowed the Thrift Energy boys down a little in the last few days. They’d rowed South in the hope of missing it, but the ocean had other ideas and followed them. On a positive note, they’ve broken the 500NM barrier also, and expect to arrive some time next week. Keep rowing, guys!

With just 10 teams remaining at sea, the dot-watching continues on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race tracker. Click here to join in, and don’t miss a moment!

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?!

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.

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 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!

We have a special blog post for you today, dedicated to one of our most courageous rowers.

Although we consider all of our rowers to be of equal merit, choosing to take on Mother Nature and everything she has to throw at them in the form of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s one rower amongst the fleet that has a particularly outstanding story of bravery, courage and motivation.

Lee Spencer of Row2Recovery will today be marking the second year anniversary of the night that changed his life forever. Despite serving in Afghanistan 3 times, as well as tours of Northern Ireland and Iraq, it was a devastating road traffic accident on the M3 that resulted in the loss of his right leg. Lee had stopped to help another driver having car trouble, and as he tried to warn oncoming traffic there was a collision at 70mph, forcing the car’s engine out of the car and hurtling towards Lee.

Father and daughter Frank and Zanele Sabindi were on the scene that fateful night, and played a pivotal role in saving Lee’s life. Lee was able to guide the pair using his medical training, before he went in to shock. They got in touch with Lee last night, on the eve of the anniversary, leaving this heartfelt message of support:

“Wow, what a guy. You are one of a kind. You are doing so much and you have touched, changed hearts of many people. From me and my family you have our support all the way. To be honest, you and your family have become part of our family. Since that fateful night and what you went through, brother, it shows how strong willed you’re are and determined to achieve your goals. I’m glad that me and my daughter were there to help. I now realise that from that day (05-01-2014) not only did I gain a friend, I gained a brother and a family. From all of us Lee, we say: Go Lee Go Lee Go Lee we are proud of you man,we love you man.”

Of course, we also applaud the other amputee rowers that make up Row2Recovery – skipper Dragoon Lance Corporal Cayle Royce from Devon, who underwent a double amputation and lost the fingers on his left hand following an IED blast in Helmand, Afghanistan whilst serving in the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in 2012. Former Irish Guardsman Paddy Gallagher from Cambridgeshire, who lost his right leg below the knee in an IED blast in Nad E Ali, Afghanistan in 2009. And finally former RAF Flight Sergeant Parachute Jump Instructor Nigel Rogoff from Hereford, who lost his leg above the knee whilst taking part in a Royal Air Force parachuting display.

Row2Recovery are currently 4th in the fours category, and 9th in all boats. This is an incredible accomplishment for a team that only has 3 legs between them! The boys are proving that life exists beyond injury, and that nobody should place limits on their achievements, even when faced with the most devastating adversity. Bravo!

There’ll be an update tomorrow for the rest of the rowers in this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, but in the mean time you can visit our race tracker for the latest race progress.

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.