Stoke Gabriel rower Dean Frost crosses Atlantic Challenge 2021 finish line

Torbay Weekly

Team Elijah's Star crossed the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 2021 finish line on January 22 at 9.41am Antigua time.

Dean Frost (52) who lives on the river Dart at Stoke Gabriel, and three friends from his school days, Phil Bigland (53), Lee McCarthy (51) and Jason Kerr (50) not only rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 41 days, 2 hours and 44 minutes but have raised £306,000 for Action Medical Research.

Atlantic Campaigns race director Carsten Olsen said: “They were the 17th crew across the finish line out of 36 starters. A huge storm with rolling waves greeted them on Christmas day, as well as a flying fish to the face!”

Team Elijah’s Star were greeted by a big crowd of friends, family and supporters as well as the horns of the superyachts in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua.

Speaking on the arrival, Dean said: “It’s just fantastic. Coming around that headland and hearing the noise was amazing.”

Team Elijah’s Star, departed La Gomera on the experience of a lifetime with their sights firmly set on completing this epic journey in 37 days.

The target they had set represents the brief life of baby Elijah, a premature but much-loved son and brother, who sadly lived for just 37 days.

The four-man crew battled sleep deprivation, salt sores, and the physical extremes inflicted by the race.

Exhaustion tested the mental strength of the rowers in the middle of an ocean where the nearest land is 2.5 miles below the sea.

Dean, originally from Lancashire, spent four years in the navy before launching a career in engineering and is currently managing director of Clade Engineering in Leeds.

Phil, originally from Chester, spent 12 years in the army and is currently a director at Dyson; Jason is also ex-army and is currently in market development at KPMG; and Lee is currently serving in the army stationed at Lyneham with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Their boat, ‘Elijah’s Star’, had been based at Dartside Quay, which is tucked away at the head of Galmpton Creek, three miles upriver from Dartmouth is a Rannoch 45 which is 8.6 meters in length (28.35ft).

The boat is named after Elijah, who was born prematurely at 25 weeks weighing just 1lb 13oz.

He sadly developed necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating bowel disorder that mainly strikes premature babies. Elijah tragically died at just 37 days old.

Before he died, Elijah was part of a study funded by Action Medical Research trying to find a way to identify NEC in premature babies, so that it may be detected before it becomes life threatening.

Jenny, Elijah’s mum, explained why they took part in the research: “Elijah led a very traumatic little life. He died sleeping on my chest in the small hours - that’s when I joined the fight to stop premature birth.”

The end of the sixth week of the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest row, organised by Atlantic Campaigns, was marked with mass arrivals.

The 35 ocean rowing boats, including the two crews from South Devon, had spent the past week going through the day to day 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.

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 and Barbuda (170N 610W).

The 36 competing crews included four solos, 10 pairs, six trios, 15 fours and one five.

The Salcombe estuary pair of Guy Rigby (68) and David Murray (56), aboard ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’ still have 500 nautical miles to the finish and have slipped from 26th to 28th, averaging 50 nautical miles a day.

Their predicted arrival is February 3 in a time of 53 days.

The third Devon crew 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 over 450 miles to the finish and are 25th.

Their predicted arrival is February 2 in a creditable time of 51 days.

Crews can be tracked at www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/

Positions after six weeks at sea:

1 Swiss Raw (Race class) Switzerland Four  34d 23h 50m 31s

2 Atlantic Flyers (R) GB Four 36d 0h 30m 12s

3 Five in a Row (R) GB Five 36d 3h 38m 50s

4 Shaw and Partners Atlantic (R) Australia Four 37d 4h 37m 48s

5 Anna Victorious (R) GB Four 37d 9h 3m 24s

6 The Bubbleheads (R) GB Four 37d 12h 50m 18s

7 East Rows West (R) Hong Kong Trio 37d 17h 47m 58s

8 Team Peninsula (R) GB Trio 38d 0h 19m 23s

9 The Salty Sappers (R) GB Four 39d 7h 24m 19s

10 Atlantic Nomads (R) GB Trio 40d 0h 41m 47s

11 One Ocean Crew (R) GB Four 40d 4h 14m  3s

12 Pacific Boys (R) USA Trio 40d 5h 34m 54s

13 The Mothership (R) GB Four 40d 11h 36m  2s

14 Wrekin Rowers (R) GB Four 40d 12h 40m 41s

15 Helvetic Waves (Open class) Switzerland Four 40d 13h 25m 55s

16 Force Atlantic (R) GB Four 41d 0h 2m 12s

17 Elijah's Star (R) GB Four 41d 2h 51m 40s

18 Two Rowing Finns (R) Finland Pair 41d 11h  3m 41s

19 Foar Tomorrow (R) Denmark Four 42d 3h 30m  5s

20 In Deep Ship (R) GB Four 42d 5h 2m 12s

21 ExtraOARdinary (R) GB Trio 42d 7h 23m 23s

22 Row for IMPACT (R) Netherlands Trio 52 nautical miles to finish

23 Wild Waves (R) GB Pair 191

24 Row4Hope (R) USA Pair 439

25 Emergensea Duo (R) GB Pair 460

26 Foar from Home (R) USA Four 493

27 Tropical Blue Wave (R) GB Pair 510

28 The Entrepreneur Ship (R) GB Pair 518

29 The MindCraft (R) GB Pair 528

30 Ocean Warrior (R) Denmark Solo 635

31 Team Migaloo (O) Netherlands Pair 712

32 Tideway Odyssey (R) GB Pair 852

33 Owens Rowing (R) USA Solo 1105

34 Prowject X (O) Switzerland Pair 1262

35 A Lung Journey (R) Switzerland Solo 1472

36 Atlantic Rower (R) GB Solo Retired

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