One of the main reasons that rowers take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the unparalleled level of support it offers them to help them achieve their crossing. However, other than in emergency and distress, the support boats cannot physically assist the rowers, who will otherwise be disqualified. A very visible part of that support is the presence of support vessels out on the ocean with the boats. This year the fleet is ably supported by two vessels – sailing yachts Miss Tick and Skye skippered, respectively, by Maria Campo and Manfred Tennstedt.

Maria, and Miss Tick, has a pedigree of 3 races in her role, having been the sole support vessel in 2013. That race saw 5 boats drop out of the race due to heavy weather and serious technical problems. While supporting the rowers and slogging determinedly back and forth between boats, Miss Tick covered over 9,000 nautical miles – three times the distance that the rowers cover! Out in the same seas, she took a beating from that heavy weather too!

1

In 2015, Maria carried a medical team to one boat where two rowers were evacuated to Cape Verde. That involved a potentially dangerous transfer between the boats that had to be very carefully planned and executed.

Yacht specs from Miss Tick:

  • She’s a Gibsea 47.2 with a length of 14.25m, a beam of 4.3m and a draught of 2m. Made of solid fiberglass (“not sandwich or any of that funny stuff”), she weighs 13.5tons.
  • She’s quite capacious with 5 twin/double cabins for crew or storage.
  • She has an 88HP engine with a big 200litre tank and 5 water tanks totaling 780 litres as well as a water maker and she has 3 battery banks.
  • She has multiple charging options with an alternator, wind generator, solar panel and a propeller-like system that charges using water flow.
  • In current wind conditions, she averages 8-9 knots but can reach 14 knots in the kind of winds that are forecast.
  • She has two satellite phones and a fleet broadband system allowing for fast e-mail.

Joining Miss Tick in the 2015 race, Skye made its debut in dramatic style as it carried an ocean rower to the rearmost boat in the fleet and, in an almost identical transfer, put him onboard to assist a solo rower. That safely completed, Skye went on to medically evacuate a rower from a pairs boat and transfer him to Antigua.

This year, with a smaller fleet, Skye is working out of Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua (where Manfred has heroically been waiting since the end of the last race!) and has set sail with his crew – Andreas and Frankie – to meet the fleet from the front and ensure they are safe and supported.

15937244_584814021726594_5500254178539788011_o

 

These lead boats have not yet seen a support vessel because, as well as tending to have much less need of help, they have simply been too far forward for the chasing yacht to be able to visit them as well as deal with those boats that have experienced problems, which tend to end up nearer the back of the fleet.

That job has, again, fallen to Miss Tick and Maria’s crew of Enrico, Lauren and Jamie. Jamie has two ocean rowing crossings under his belt (Atlantic and Indian) and was a competitor in the 2013 race while Lauren skippered the second finisher in last year’s race and was on one of the boats that had to abandon their crossing in 2013. As such, they’re well qualified to offer advice and assistance at sea. Indeed, after visiting around two-thirds of the fleet, the crew of Miss Tick had to turn the yacht northwest and struggle back against the wind to help a solo rower refit their ruder after a significant repair was required. Lauren, having experienced a very similar problem in her first race, volunteered to transfer across and offer practical help, which saw the rudder back in place after working at it for over 4 hours!

In between such intrepid action, both yachts continue to carry out the regular and essential tasks of the race including communications, resupply and even just reassuring rowers that there’s someone out there with them.

Support vessels tend to be sailing yachts, as motor vessels, with their fuel requirements, don’t have the ability to loiter at sea anywhere near as well. The best place for a sailing vessel is to be upwind from the vessels they may need to get to. In this position, they can use the wind to easily and quickly reach their downwind target. However, it is very difficult to move as slowly as the rowing boats and often, having been needed by a downwind boat, they find themselves required to attend an upwind one. Both the slow loitering and beating up against the wind are an immense toll on the vessels and their crews.

With the leading boats around 59o west and the rearmost at 27o west, difficult seas, numerous technical and power problems and big, awkward winds forecast, it looks like the crews of Miss Tick and Skye still have their work cut out for them, and a lot of time still to spend at sea!

 

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One of the main reasons that rowers take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the unparalleled level of support it offers them to help them achieve their crossing. However, other than in emergency and distress, the support boats cannot physically assist the rowers, who will otherwise be disqualified. A very visible part of that support is the presence of support vessels out on the ocean with the boats. This year the fleet is ably supported by two vessels – sailing yachts Miss Tick and Skye skippered, respectively, by Maria Campo and Manfred Tennstedt.

Maria, and Miss Tick, has a pedigree of 3 races in her role, having been the sole support vessel in 2013. That race saw 5 boats drop out of the race due to heavy weather and serious technical problems. While supporting the rowers and slogging determinedly back and forth between boats, Miss Tick covered over 9,000 nautical miles – three times the distance that the rowers cover! Out in the same seas, she took a beating from that heavy weather too!

1

In 2015, Maria carried a medical team to one boat where two rowers were evacuated to Cape Verde. That involved a potentially dangerous transfer between the boats that had to be very carefully planned and executed.

Yacht specs from Miss Tick:

  • She’s a Gibsea 47.2 with a length of 14.25m, a beam of 4.3m and a draught of 2m. Made of solid fiberglass (“not sandwich or any of that funny stuff”), she weighs 13.5tons.
  • She’s quite capacious with 5 twin/double cabins for crew or storage.
  • She has an 88HP engine with a big 200litre tank and 5 water tanks totaling 780 litres as well as a water maker and she has 3 battery banks.
  • She has multiple charging options with an alternator, wind generator, solar panel and a propeller-like system that charges using water flow.
  • In current wind conditions, she averages 8-9 knots but can reach 14 knots in the kind of winds that are forecast.
  • She has two satellite phones and a fleet broadband system allowing for fast e-mail.

Joining Miss Tick in the 2015 race, Skye made its debut in dramatic style as it carried an ocean rower to the rearmost boat in the fleet and, in an almost identical transfer, put him onboard to assist a solo rower. That safely completed, Skye went on to medically evacuate a rower from a pairs boat and transfer him to Antigua.

This year, with a smaller fleet, Skye is working out of Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua (where Manfred has heroically been waiting since the end of the last race!) and has set sail with his crew – Andreas and Frankie – to meet the fleet from the front and ensure they are safe and supported.

15937244_584814021726594_5500254178539788011_o

 

These lead boats have not yet seen a support vessel because, as well as tending to have much less need of help, they have simply been too far forward for the chasing yacht to be able to visit them as well as deal with those boats that have experienced problems, which tend to end up nearer the back of the fleet.

That job has, again, fallen to Miss Tick and Maria’s crew of Enrico, Lauren and Jamie. Jamie has two ocean rowing crossings under his belt (Atlantic and Indian) and was a competitor in the 2013 race while Lauren skippered the second finisher in last year’s race and was on one of the boats that had to abandon their crossing in 2013. As such, they’re well qualified to offer advice and assistance at sea. Indeed, after visiting around two-thirds of the fleet, the crew of Miss Tick had to turn the yacht northwest and struggle back against the wind to help a solo rower refit their ruder after a significant repair was required. Lauren, having experienced a very similar problem in her first race, volunteered to transfer across and offer practical help, which saw the rudder back in place after working at it for over 4 hours!

In between such intrepid action, both yachts continue to carry out the regular and essential tasks of the race including communications, resupply and even just reassuring rowers that there’s someone out there with them.

Support vessels tend to be sailing yachts, as motor vessels, with their fuel requirements, don’t have the ability to loiter at sea anywhere near as well. The best place for a sailing vessel is to be upwind from the vessels they may need to get to. In this position, they can use the wind to easily and quickly reach their downwind target. However, it is very difficult to move as slowly as the rowing boats and often, having been needed by a downwind boat, they find themselves required to attend an upwind one. Both the slow loitering and beating up against the wind are an immense toll on the vessels and their crews.

With the leading boats around 59o west and the rearmost at 27o west, difficult seas, numerous technical and power problems and big, awkward winds forecast, it looks like the crews of Miss Tick and Skye still have their work cut out for them, and a lot of time still to spend at sea!

 

Follow the action and join the conversation at:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/TaliskerRace
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Talisker/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/talisker/

Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel.