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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!

On the eve of the Atlantic Lions arrival, the foursome have expressed the most prominent emotion they’re all feeling reflecting on their 50 days at sea – gratitude. With thanks to their partners and families, friends and supporters, they remind us that without them they simply could not have done this. And to Dave’s Uncle Gary, who’s untimely passing was the catalyst for embarking on the Atlantic Challenge in the first place. Read more from skipper Dave here – *warning* – it’s a tear jerker!

Square One Atlantic had this equally emotional message, to help spur on not only themselves, but everybody else in the race: “Whether you come 1st or 26th you are a hero. You have done something not many in this world would ever dare to do, or ever will do. You have pushed yourself to the mental and physical limit and come out the other side. You have conquered the unforgiving and relentless Atlantic Ocean all while rowing all day every day for more than 30 days.”

The imminent arrival of Team Wadadli this week marks an historic event for the island of Antigua, the teams native land. The precedent being set is something unique to the region, and the people of the Caribbean are buzzing about it. Eli Fuller is in charge of the team’s blog, and wrote this heartfelt message about their achievement “The great adventurers and explorers we have read about and seen on the TV almost always come from far off places, “worlds” away from our cricket fields and palm fringed shorelines. These adventures are the thing of dreams and stories for many of us here in the Caribbean. Until now!”

Yorkshire Rows are progressing nicely, and are in good spirits, with just over 700NM left to go! Here’s the latest from them on Facebook.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge continues, with another week of arrivals ahead! Foursome-turned-pair Latitude 35 followed by Atlantic Lions will be in Nelson’s Dockyard tomorrow. Don’t miss out, follow us on Twitter to get real-time updates and photos of the teams.

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.

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!

In case you missed it, here’s a pick of some of the news across the fleet during their fourth week at sea.

“WHOAAAA! WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!” The Cranial Quest celebrate this milestone, Bon Jovi style…

Row2Recovery received a very Royal phone call yesterday, from none other than Prince Harry himself! This did wonders to motivate the team, who are all amputees and arguably facing the toughest conditions in the race. Find out more about that and other famous supporters from yesterday’s blog post.

RowLikeAGirl have had a testing week, as technology has worked against them! In other news, the girls have now listened to Justin Timberlake enough times to really hear the words. And they’re not too happy about them! Have a look at what they’ve been up to over on their Facebook page.

Atlantic Lions estimate that they should arrive in Antigua around 7th February! They’re currently rowing at 2.7 knots, in 35 degree heat and with 1100 miles left to go.

A very sun-bleached Callum of Waterbabies Row got a surprise yesterday, when he received a radio call from the Talisker support yacht, just metres away from him! His selfie shows his appreciation at seeing other humans for the first time in a month.

Square One Atlantic have now reached their halfway point. They were also finally blessed with a sighting of wildlife following a heavy downpour. A pod of 6 dolphins!

Atlantic Buoys share a similar dream to the other rowers – some decent food and sleep in a bed!

Team Wadadli have been slowed down slightly by the descent of light winds. They hope that cleaning the barnacles off the boat today will help speed them along a bit. However the boys are seeing the challenge as a life event, with “beautiful sunsets, stars, satellites, shooting stars, sunrises, wildlife and general adventure” more important than the competitive element.

Rowing 4 Rascals managed a blog post yesterday, and explained that the first 10 days were not as productive as they’d hoped, as sea sickness preventing them from eating anything during that team, making attempts on the oars rather feeble. They are feeling disheartened at knowing their finish position won’t be as strong as they wanted, but know that the race is an incredible challenge and that they’ll feel they’ve still achieved something amazing. Check out their Q&A blog post here.

Thrift Energy got another radio appearance on BBC Newcastle, where they recounted a terrifying moment with a cargo ship! Skip to 12 minutes in to hear the full story.

For more updates from sea, watch our latest video, with satellite phone calls and unseen footage of the teams.

As the storm passes, an abundance of wildlife has emerged from the ocean to greet our crews from their cosy cabins. An excellent way to start life back on the oars!

What could be more motivating than rowing through a patch of bioluminescence…? We should probably explain. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, micro-organisms including some bioluminescent bacteria and terrestrial invertebrates such as fireflies. And Cranial Quest were lucky enough to see this. Here’s what they had to say about their first night back at work:

“Last night the water was so calm it was like rowing on glass. The stars were so bright you could see them reflect on the waters surface AND we rowed through a patch of bioluminescence! Every stroke sent a swirling cloud of bright blue sparkles. Today we have rowed over 1000 nm so far! Pushing for that half way point.”

Fantastic to see that the pair have got off to a flying start after the storm. They’re currently 7th in the pairs category and 16th in all boats. Well done, team!

Similarly, Coventry Five-o are happy to be rowing in the right direction again, and a sunfish even helped itself to a nibble on Adrian’s dangling toes! After seeing waves as tall as houses, and as long as a road, they’re relieved to be back on their oars – eek! Also, Martin’s daughter Chloe has turned 21 today, so we’d like to wish her a very Happy Birthday. Dad promises lots of partying when he gets back!

Team Wadadli have reported “glass calm” waters and hot weather, which we’re sure suits the Antiguans down to the ground. More fishing we hope? Speaking of which, a hump back whale came up to their boat to say hi – although we think they’d need a much bigger boat to catch him.

A few of the teams have been spotted by a large Antiguan vessel as it travelled along the same area! Square One and Stuart Connacher of Facing It were both papped by supportive onlookers, who were kind enough to share their photos on social media to find out who they’d seen. Great for the teams to see a few new faces for the first time in 27 days!

A bit more on the weather front today: The weather turns on 9th Jan with some elements of S winds building. This continues through 10th Jan until lead crews will get W elements on 11th Jan. By 12th Jan the fleet will all get W and S winds, some in excess of 20 knots.

All Beans No Monkeys were in for a nice surprise this morning when they woke up to a video from non other than Dame Kelly Holmes, wishing them well on their continued journey through the Atlantic. Here’s the full video. We’re sure that the monkeys are feeling much more motivated after seeing this!

Coventry Five-O are amusing themselves through their journey, by sharing as many water/sea/rowing-related records as possible on their Facebook page! Have they missed any?

It’s sore bums for the Atlantic Lions – in fact, the same can be said for all of the teams now, as they progress through their journey, subject to salt water on a daily basis. So plenty of alcohol rub is being dispensed to help reduce chafing. But despite this and a few issues with power, the boys remain in good spirits, heading slightly more South than West as the low pressure sweeps in from the North West.

After a few ups and downs, Square One Atlantic’s family have updated their Facebook page and are pleased to hear more positivity in their voices. There’s one growing concern for Sean though…his football team Newcastle United are on a continuous losing streak. His family face this dilemma: either not update him on the scores…or lie. Suggestions welcome here!

Finally, Team Wadadli make it all sound so easy! Yesterday they caught another Mahi-Mahi so they were able to enjoy another delicious fish soup. They even took some time out from the relentless rowing and cleaned the cabins, then went for a refreshing swim. All this whilst still holding a steady 11th position! We’re sure this is all much more leisurely than it sounds…