Skip to main content

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!

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!

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.

There’s been a few ‘cheeky’ photos emerging on social media of the teams, ahem, butt naked.

While this provides us with some entertainment, there are several legitimate reasons why rowing the Atlantic in the nude is an essential part of the journey.

1) Fewer wet clothes

Drying off on a rowing boat, when surrounded only by the ocean for several hundred miles, can prove difficult. Even if the waters are calm, the teams are constantly exposed to the elements and if it’s not what’s underneath them that’s providing continual moisture, the tropical heavens might open to drench everything from above. Yorkshire Rows updated their Facebook status just last night, liking their naked appearances to that of a nudist camp!

2) Wet clothes = chafing

We’ve all experienced some form of chafing in our lives – wet shoes, swimwear etc. And we know of the discomfort just a few minutes or hours exposure to this irritating skin condition can cause. So imagine this, 24 hours a day, for up to 3 months. Sounds pretty grim, right? This is what our rowers are up against daily. To make matters worse, several of the teams, including Thrift Energy, have reported a wave crashing over them unexpectedly just as the hatch to the cabin is open, saturating everything inside. This means more damp conditions and more chafing!

3) Chafing = sore bums

The continued rubbing caused by the seat and clothing, in addition to the salty water which constantly crashes over them, causes fungal infections, blisters and sores that sometimes make it incredibly painful just to sit down.

Preparation for these conditions is pivotal to the success of the teams. Back in October, Atlantic Castaways spent the night making their seats.

“We will get very bad pressure sores and salt burn on our bums. Therefore we have created padding out of camping roll mats which are then stuck together so that if we get a pressure sore we can cut out of our seat where that part is to take the pressure off. Then once the seat is destroyed we can flip it over and do the same again. We will be taking a few of these beauties with us all for the price of £9 each!”

Other naked rowers include RowLikeAGirl and Row2RecoveryClick the links to reveal all!

Rowing naked helps to relieve some of these issues, making it more comfortable for the rowers to get on with their daily tasks. The only discomfort here is perhaps a slight increase in embarrassment and loss of dignity! But we’re certain that living in such close proximity for a long period of time eliminates that.

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.

Our fleet are about to enter week 4 of their journey across the Atlantic, and apart from sore bums, a brief encounter with a shark and a few technical hitches.

Atlantic Buoys have checked in with family and friends, with Hamish reporting that “at night the compass has in fact been turning in to a bleeding skull”…ah, that’ll be the sleep deprivation! Aside from a few hallucinations the team are prepared for the predicted bad weather, and feel safe with their old boat and old heads. Read more on that here.

It sounds as though Atlantic Castaways have been having a whale of a time, spotting a pod of Orcas (killer whales) just 20m or so from their boat! Despite a quick scrabble for the GoPro the whales sadly missed their 15 minutes of fame, but we’re sure it’ll be a sight Freddie and Jack won’t forget in a hurry. The guys are now over the halfway mark, and they’re hoping to hold or improve their position (currently 6th in pairs and 8th in all boats) once the wind turns back in their favour. Finally, Jack made a call home today. His family were concerned it would be storm-related, but he actually wanted to remind them to book Coldplay tickets. Good to hear he has his priorities in check! There’s plenty more from Freddie and Jack on their latest Facebook post.

Thrift Energy continue to be blessed with wildlife appearances, uploading two brilliant photos of a pod of dolphins and more marlin yesterday! (Sorry, Atlantic Drifters).

As the 2015/16 race continues to attract media attention, more celebrity support has been rolling in. Presenter, writer and broadcaster Clare Balding from BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday gave her well wishes to RowLikeAGirl, saying:

“weather permitting, they are well on their way to breaking two world records: the youngest team and the fastest to ever row the Atlantic…we send them our very warmest congratulations for what they’ve done so far and best wishes as they continue on.”

Thank you Clare! You can catch that here, 17 minutes in.

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!

Lots for the update today! We’ll start with the impending shift in the weather…

A significant change is occurring with a large low pressure forming and tracking S and then E. This is not good news for the fleet as most will get headwinds at some time during 09 -14 Jan, some of which will be in excess of 20 knots. The whole fleet has been warned and options discussed but it will mean para-anchor and an unpleasant few days. The boats are designed for the worst conditions but it will be uncomfortable and the rowers may suffer bruising as they are confined to cabins. But like anything, the storm will pass and the weather then looks to give favourable winds to help the crews on their way. You can track the weather here at windyty.

Despite the forthcoming storm, there’s been positive news from some of the teams. Yorkshire Rows, Atlantic Drifters, Cranial Quest, Coventry Five-0, Team Thrift Energy, Atlantic Lions and All Beans No Monkeys have all spoken to the Duty Officer’s today to let them know that all is good and most issues seem to be improved, and in some cases, resolved altogether. Brilliant!

We also have an update from Oarsome Buoys, (4th in all boats) thanks to Shaun’s Mum: ‘ Speaking to Shaun on the sat phone, the Buoys have worked hard to get to the front of the Pure Pairs class and are buzzing with excitement! The best bit so far – being first in class! The worst bit so far – losing an oar! Whilst surfing a wave, Sic Parvis Magna was hit on the after starboard quarter by a huge wave. The power of the wave was so great that Ryan’s oars got caught, snapping the gate and the oar was gone. A replacement gate later and a new oar and they are back on track!’

Atlantic Castaways (7th in all boats) have also managed a blog post, and their enthusiasm, passion and drive for this adventure is infectious! They reported that “Despite the heat and sore claws, we are having an unbelievable experience. We have seen a lot of wildlife (marlin, sharks, turtles and dolphins etc.) but our absolute highlight was when a pod of dolphins escorted us out of a storm, performed a ‘good-bye’ routine and then swam back in! It really was an incredible sight, not to mention a very welcome one”. We couldn’t be happier for the boys!

By the way, some of you may have noticed that the speed listed for each boat on the mobile tracking app, is different to the speed listed if viewing the tracker on a computer. We have a simple explanation for this inconsistency! The app version of the tracker updates as soon as the tracking beacons ‘ping’. This instantly updates the speed. However, due to the extra processing it takes through a computer, the speed is taken on an average over the last 2/3 ‘pings’, so it tends to be lower. So there you have it!

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!