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The weekend weather sees the wind fluctuate from ENE to E then SE and back to E until 29th Feb. From there it’s is an E wind turning SE which then drops and turns ENE.  The general direction is fairly constant throughout although crews will find that even in the course of a single day they will be pushed N then S then back N slightly as they make W.

The world was thrilled to see Yorkshire Rows arrive in Antigua yesterday! Read all about their incredible tale and entry in to the Guinness World Records in yesterday’s blog, or join us on Twitter to congratulate them.

Thrift Energy have less than 160NM left, and it’s looking like an exciting finish as Coventry Five-O are on their tails!

Coventry Five-O have been a fantastic sport throughout the race. With the oldest and heaviest boat in the competition, they’ve remained so positive with every stroke of the oar – even though they did run out of their chocolate bars at the end of January…We expect them early next week!

Rowing For Rascals Duncan has defied the odds and ploughed through a difficult stretch of water and entered a new milestone of less than 300NM to go! His sheer determination has been an inspiration, and previous rowing partner Andy looks forward to reuniting with his friend in Antigua next week.

Finally, Steve Murphy and rowing partner Leven Brown, of Atlantic Endurance are making great progress at 2.3 knots, with 46NM rowed in the last 24 hours and just over 400NM left to row.

On the very cusp of completing the race is Square One Atlantic, who should be arriving late tonight! A mixture of nerves and excitement for this pair as they enter their last few hours at sea after 65 days. Although they’ve had their fair share of thrills in the last few days! Lee woke up to find a huge oil tanker on their course, and after contacting them they moved out of the way, only to find another one coming at them! Luckily, all was well. See you later boys.

Following closely behind them are Neil and Hamish of Atlantic Buoys. We’re hoping to see them in Antigua in the early hours of tomorrow morning, so check in on Twitter when you wake up to join us in congratulating them. The boys are excited about the finish, not in the least because of the food requests that will be waiting for them – bread, cheese, real butter, biscuits and coffee. Comfort food at best!

A similar story from Duncan of Rowing For Rascals, who had this very specific, malt loaf-related request for his sister – “Pls bring malt loaf and if u can, cut it lengthways and pack it with lurpak. Butter the hell out if it.” Who knew butter would be such a popular craving?

Our favourite Northern boys Thrift Energy are finding some speed, moving up to 24NM in the last 24 hours and with less than 300NM to go. After a difficult few weeks, they’re so close now! Evelyn Williams of Atlantic Answer and Yorkshire Rows continue to make good progress also, and we’re expecting to see them arrive in Antigua this week. Coventry 5-O now have their water maker working, which is great news and a big help to their progress. Solo rower Steve Murphy of Atlantic Endurance is doing well since the addition of his support rower after he’d had issues at the beginning with very debilitating sea-sickness and technical faults.

Great to hear that the teams are all so close to the end, although we’re going to miss their hilarious tales and curious cravings. Roll on Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2016!

Firstly, a bit about the latest weather conditions: The main issues are wind and currents, which are slowing crews and pushing some N. The forecasts indicate the winds shifting around to come from the E and ENE within the next 24 hours and staying favourable until the last boat is in.

The current is far more vague and less predictable. There is a strong current that runs S to N between 300 and 400NM out of Antigua. It fluctuates in location, width and strength and therefore no definitive prediction of when crews will escape it can be given.

In case you were wondering where we get our incredibly accurate weather and updates – a Duty Officer is available around the clock to alert the boats to any sudden weather changes, organise any support yachts when they’re required, and even have a chat to them when they’re feeling a bit fed up. Sometimes, their words of support can mean the difference between a quitting or carrying on. Here’s a great example from them just yesterday:

“The best and only solution is to keep working, be stoic and chip away at the miles. The finish is achievable for everyone out there. Every crew has it in them to succeed but now more than ever is the time to dig deep, realise what their potential is and embrace the experience even through the exhaustion and discomfort. This is a challenge, perhaps the greatest adventure challenge there is, and success depends on people pushing through the times when others may quit. No time on the row has positive support been more important. This is more important than time and deadlines – it is life changing and your support can make a huge difference.”

The success and safety of the teams depends on this fantastic support – so we’d like to send a thank you to our incredible team of Duty Officers!

And it’s on to the latest from our rowers. Rowing For Rascals pair-turned-solo Duncan continues to make the journey to Antigua after some personal news and sickness caused Andy to make the difficult decision to pull out of the race. But this hasn’t dampened the spirits of their devoted supporters, who have started their own hash tag – #rowingforrascalsinspiredme – and asked people to print it and upload their selfies/pictures/comments to say how the pair have inspired them. You can join in on that here. Duncan now has less than 400NM to go, so watch this space!

Coventry Five-O have hit the 300NM mark, with no signs of slowing. Adrian, Martin – we’ll see you in Antigua very soon, well done!

Thrift Energy need your help! With only 400NM to go, but those pesky winds pushing them North and preventing much progress the boys are in need of some motivation. Why not send them a good luck message to get their spirits up? You can do that by emailing here and we shall pass on your words of support. Just as our Duty Officer’s have said, motivation at such a late stage in the race is invaluable to the rowers, and your messages mean the world to them. Show them some love!

Yorkshire Rows Skipper Janette outlined the performance of teamwork in her recent Facebook post. Just as support from the outside world is welcomed, knowing you have the support of your teammates makes the adventure so much more special. Read Janette’s emotionally charged post here – tissues at the ready!

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!