Skip to main content
2016-12-14T11:00:00+0000
December 14th, 2016

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!

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!

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.

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?!

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.

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!