Rauri flies Devon flag as rowers take on the mighty Atlantic Ocean

Rowing boats of all sizes pictured before an Atlantic challenge event

The 21 ocean rowing boats amassed in San Sebastian Marina 10 minutes before the start of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. - Credit: Pic: Submitted

In a year when so many rowing events have been cancelled it was refreshing to see the start of the 21 crews in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge from San Sebastian de La Gomera. 
A premier event in ocean rowing, the challenge will take crews more than 3000 miles west from San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Spain to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda. 
The annual race normally begins with as many as 35 crews participating from around the world. 
The race structure brings together an environment where crews from across the globe gather in the race village San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands. 
The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. All with the same objective, to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat.
The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. 
Crews have to battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores, and physical extremes inflicted by the race. 
Rowers are left with their own thoughts, an expanse of the ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side.
The race offers different experiences to all involved.
The challenge creates strong friendships and competitiveness gives way to the camaraderie that is required to complete the challenge. 
Upon finishing, rowers join a small community of friends that have shared the adventures of an ocean crossing.
The mental and physical endurance will result in a life-changing achievement that will never be forgotten.
The race, the brainchild of Sir Chay Blyth, was first staged in 1997 as a pairs’ race but has evolved into a variety of classes. 


A revolutionary rowing boat taking part in an Atlantic challenge event

The revolutionary ocean rowing boat ‘Melokuhlie; designed and built by Leven Brwon in Scotland and rowed solo by Grant Blakeway of South Africa. - Credit: Pic :Submitted

On this occasion 55 rowers set out from San Sebastian in the form of eight solos, two pairs, one trio and ten fours. There are 15 crews from the UK, three from the Netherlands, one from the USA, one from South Africa and one from Antigua. 
Crews will take between 30 and 120 days to cross depending on ability, determination and course setting.
Previous races have included many rowers from Devon and South Devon in particular but on this occasion just one rower flies the Devon flag and that is Rauri Hadlington from Plymouth aboard the four ‘On the shoulders of Giants’.
One crew to watch out for is the Dutch pair ‘Row for Cancer’ of Mark Slats and Kai Weedmer. Mark rowed solo in 2017/18 setting the solo crossing record of 30 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. Mark assured me that he is going for the pairs’ record this time.
Each crew has its motives for taking on the challenge such as 70 year-old Frank Rothwell  solo aboard ‘Never too Old’ raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research. Frank is the oldest participant to have ever taken part in the race.
The race will produce many interesting facts and below are just a few from previous races:
• each crew will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes during the race
• rowers will row for two hours, and sleep for two hours, constantly, 24 hours a day
• more people have climbed Everest than have rowed an ocean
• over €6million has been raised for charities worldwide over the past four races
• at its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km/5.28 miles deep
• the waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high
• there are two safety yachts supporting the crews as they cross the ocean. In the 2013 race, one yacht travelled a massive 9000nm!
• the 2013 winning Team Locura arrived in Antigua with a blue marlin beak pierced through the hull of the boat
• each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing
• the teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers
• in the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, rowing without a rudder to steer with for nearly 1200miles/40 days
• each rower needs to aim to consume 10 litres of water per day
• rowers burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day
• there is no toilet on board – rowers use a bucket
• each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!
To track the race go to www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/2020-leaderboard/

Premier race sees rowers face challenge of mighty Atlantic Ocean

In a year when so many rowing events have been cancelled it was refreshing to see the start of the 21 crews in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge from San Sebastian de La Gomera on Saturday. 
A premier event in ocean rowing, the challenge will take crews more than 3000 miles west from San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Spain to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda. 
The annual race normally begins with as many as 35 crews participating from around the world. 
The race structure brings together an environment where crews from across the globe gather in the race village San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands. 
The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. All with the same objective, to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat.
The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. 
Crews have to battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores, and physical extremes inflicted by the race. 
Rowers are left with their own thoughts, an expanse of the ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side.
The race offers different experiences to all involved.
The challenge creates strong friendships and competitiveness gives way to the camaraderie that is required to complete the challenge. 
Upon finishing, rowers join a small community of friends that have shared the adventures of an ocean crossing.
The mental and physical endurance will result in a life-changing achievement that will never be forgotten.
The race, the brainchild of Sir Chay Blyth, was first staged in 1997 as a pairs’ race but has evolved into a variety of classes. 
On this occasion 55 rowers set out from San Sebastian in the form of eight solos, two pairs, one trio and ten fours. There are 15 crews from the UK, three from the Netherlands, one from the USA, one from South Africa and one from Antigua. 
Crews will take between 30 and 120 days to cross depending on ability, determination and course setting.
Previous races have included many rowers from Devon and South Devon in particular but on this occasion just one rower flies the Devon flag and that is Rauri Hadlington from Plymouth aboard the four ‘On the shoulders of Giants’.
One crew to watch out for is the Dutch pair ‘Row for Cancer’ of Mark Slats and Kai Weedmer. Mark rowed solo in 2017/18 setting the solo crossing record of 30 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. Mark assured me that he is going for the pairs’ record this time.
Each crew has its motives for taking on the challenge such as 70 year-old Frank Rothwell  solo aboard ‘Never too Old’ raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research. Frank is the oldest participant to have ever taken part in the race.
The race will produce many interesting facts and below are just a few from previous races:
• each crew will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes during the race
• rowers will row for two hours, and sleep for two hours, constantly, 24 hours a day
• more people have climbed Everest than have rowed an ocean
• over €6million has been raised for charities worldwide over the past four races
• at its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km/5.28 miles deep
• the waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high
• there are two safety yachts supporting the crews as they cross the ocean. In the 2013 race, one yacht travelled a massive 9000nm!
• the 2013 winning Team Locura arrived in Antigua with a blue marlin beak pierced through the hull of the boat
• each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing
• the teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers
• in the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, rowing without a rudder to steer with for nearly 1200miles/40 days
• each rower needs to aim to consume 10 litres of water per day
• rowers burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day
• there is no toilet on board – rowers use a bucket
• each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!
To track the race go to www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/2020-leaderboard/