Not far to go for South Devon challenge crew

Torbay Weekly

The end of the seventh week of the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the World’s Toughest Row, organised by Atlantic Campaigns, has seen two further arrivals but twelve boats remain at sea.

The remaining ocean rowing boats have spent the past week going through the daily routines with an eye on the finish in their task of completing the race. Particular emphasis has been on setting the course line for the finish and coping with the variable conditions.

Thirty-six crews left San Sebastian de La Gomera on December 12 in the 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 included 4 solos, 10 pairs, 6 trios, 15 fours and 1 five.

The Salcombe Estuary pair of Guy Rigby (68) and David Murray (56), aboard ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’ still have 170 nautical miles to the finish but have slipped from 28th to 29th, averaging 50 nautical miles a day. However, the finish is close with their predicted arrival of February 3 in a time of 52 days.

After a tough couple of days dealing with challenging local conditions, the boys have finally extracted themselves from the treacly spot of zero wind and counter currents, and are back up to something closer to their faster speeds.

Morale on the boat is high at the moment, the team are completely at one with the ocean, and they're really actually really enjoying this incredible challenge they have set themselves.

As the crew powered through the weekend, their speed is likely to increase as the winds and currents are lining up to give them one final boost before they cross the finish line.

The other Devon crew left in the race, ‘Emergensea Duo’, married couple Adam Baker and Charlie Fleury, who both work at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital as A&E doctors, have just over 70 miles to the finish and are 25th. Their predicted arrival is February 1 in a creditable time of 50 days.

Ocean Rowing has been rocked this week with a disaster not connected to the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and that was the disappearance of French ocean rower Jean-Jacques Savin.

The former paratrooper was an avid triathlete. He had set off from mainland Portugal’s southern tip aboard ‘Audacieux’ on January 1, but there had been no contact with him since overnight Thursday 20 to Friday 21, when he activated two distress beacons.

Portugal’s coastguard found 75 year-old Savin’s overturned boat off the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores on Friday, but they were not able to send a diver down to search it, his team added.

He was famed for successfully crossing the Atlantic in 2019 in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, using the sea currents alone to propel it across the water for 4,500km (2,800 miles) in a journey of 122 days.

Crews in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge can be tracked at