And they're off - on the toughest rowing challenge in world

Torbay Weekly

Thirty-six ocean rowing boats with 107 ocean rowers - including two crews from South Devon -  representing 12 nations have left San Sebastian de La Gomera in the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the World’s Toughest Row organised by Atlantic Campaigns.

The race is a 3,000 mile unsupported rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands (280N 180W) to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda (170N 610W).

The 36 competing crews, four solos, 10 pairs, six trios, 15 fours and one five were seen off on December 12 by family and friends amid a cacophony of noise from hooters, klaxons, ship’s horns, cheers from the crowd and fireworks. Ships in harbour to witness the event included a Spanish Navy vessel, ferries, yachts, fishing boats and a salvage vessel creating a display with water hoses.

Dean Frost (52) who lives on the river Dart at Stoke Gabriel has encouraged three friends from his school days, Phil Bigland (53), Jason Kerr (50) and Lee McCarthy (51), to join him on the experience of a lifetime.

Team Elijah’s Star departed La Gomera with their sights firmly set on completing this epic journey in 37 days. The target they have set represents the brief life of baby Elijah, a premature but much-loved son and brother, who sadly lived for just 37 days.

When questioned about their targets they all to a man said, “To get across safely in 37 days and to raise £200,000 for Action Medical Research”, which sum they have already achieved.

Also competing are a pair from the Salcombe Estuary, Guy Rigby (68) and David Murray (56), aboard ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’, a Rannoch R25 ocean rowing boat, and rowing in aid of the charity, The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs T/A UNLTD, for which they have already raised £500,000.

Crews can be tracked at https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/

Sport