The 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the World’s Toughest Row, organised by Atlantic Campaigns, has seen the final crew arrive in Antigua. The final boat to arrive was Prowject X, a crew of two young Swiss ladies.
Thirty-six crews originally 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, and also included two crews from South Devon.
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) rowed ‘Elijah’s Star’. They crossed the Talisker Whiskey Atalantic Challenge 2021 finish line on January 22 at 09:41 Antigua time. Not only had they rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 41 days, 2 hours and 44 minutes but raised £306,000 for Action Medical Research.
The Salcombe Estuary pair of Guy Rigby (68) and David Murray (56), aboard ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’ crossed the finish line in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on February 3 at 11:52 Antiguan Standard Time having rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 53 days, 3 hours and 42 minutes.
They also set a new world record for being the oldest pair to row any ocean with a combined age of 124 years and 301 days at race start. This record has been officially adjudicated by Ocean Rowing Stats. In addition, they have raised over £600,000 for the charity UnLtd – a charity that finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs.
There was also another crew from Devon, ‘Emergensea Duo’, married couple Adam Baker and Charlie Fleury, who both work at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital as A&E doctors. They finished on February 1 at 11:46 local time having crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 51 days, 3 hours and 48 minutes. They raised over £18,000 for RNLI, Devon Air Ambulance, Mind and RD&E.
The race winners, Swiss Raw, crossed the finish line at 06:55 local Antiguan time (10.55 a.m. GMT) on January 16. The crew of Roman Möckli, Ingvar Groza, Jan Hurni, and Samuel Widmer completed the crossing in 34 days, 23 hours and 42 minutes to become the first team from an inland country to win the Atlantic Challenge!
The annual event known as ‘the world’s toughest row’ challenges its competitors to 3,000-mile rowing race across Atlantic Ocean. Rowers have spent days at sea rowing day and night, battling adverse weather, rolling waves of up to 20m, risk of capsize, and sea sickness.
CEO and Race Director, Carsten Heron Olsen concluded: “As I stand back to reflect on the 2021 cohort, the overwhelming feeling is family. It is said every year that the comradery in each fleet in incredible, but this year was even more special.
“There were so many moments that captured this community spirit. When set-back hit three teams in La Gomera with a delayed shipping, there were helping hands from the entire fleet, no matter what time of night or day.
“When one of our rowers had to terminate his row early, every team during calls with our Safety Officer asked after his well-being and ensuring his was okay. As race organisers, we were taken aback by the rallying of positivity, the determination when pressure was building and the overall heartfelt support. After the last two years of uncertainty, the attitude and determination of the 2021 fleet will remain a shining light on how humanity can deliver incredible community and kindness.
“To each family member, friend, supporter, sponsor and charity you’ve allowed our teams to rise to the challenge of a lifetime and in addition they have raised more than €3,000,000! Finally, my biggest thank-you goes out to every single one of our rowers. Your courage and tenacity, on a very small boat in a very big ocean, inspires not only me but people around world.”
In summing up the 2021 race Chief Safety Officer, Ian Couch, who lives in Stoke Gabriel, said: “Another great race ends and the build-up for the next Atlantic Race and our first Pacific Race grows in pace.
“The race is so much more than the time at sea. Having seen the rowers from their sign up - sometimes two or three years before they race - answering questions as they prepare, delivering the Ocean Rowing Course, inspecting boats and equipment before they ship, the time in Gomera and then the daily calls at sea, it is very special indeed to see them step ashore in Antigua. For me, the greatest part of this job is being part of the journey and seeing the life-changing impact in the eyes of the rowers.
“I would like to say a huge thank-you to the families and supporters, without whom so many crews would not even get to the start line (and who have lost so much sleep during the race checking the dots); to the wider and ever-growing Dot Watcher family and the familiar faces who come back every year; and to all those who are part of this, either at AC, in the fleet, sponsors and partners or those who work with the race making this what it is.
“There are lives changed, friendships forged and more adventures than ever imagined. See you all at the next one.”
The 2022 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge starts from San Sebastian de La Gomera on December 12. One known local entry to support, ‘In Our Element’, is a crew of four, two females and two males, representing Premier Marinas, who run Noss on Dart.
Position Crew name Nationality Crew Finish Time
1 Swiss Raw (R) 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
6 The Bubbleheads (R) GB Four 37d 12h 50m 18s
7 East Rows West (R) Hong Kong Trio 37d 17h 47m 58s 8
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 (O) 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 43d 8h 34m 32s
23 Wild Waves (R) GB Pair 45d 7h 33m 43s
24 Row4Hope (R) USA Pair 50d 2h 56m 0s
25 Emergensea Duo (R) GB Pair 51d 3h 59m 32s
26 Foar from Home (R) USA Four 51d 11h 52m 57s
27 The MindCraft (R) GB Pair 51d 15h 8m 0s
28 Tropical Blue Wave (R) GB Pair 51d 17h 46m 0s
29 The Entrepreneur Ship (R) GB Pair 53d 3h 51m 28s
30 Ocean Warrior (R) Denmark Solo 55d 1h 15m 21s
31 Team Migaloo (O) Netherlands Pair 58d 1h 11m 0s
32 Tideway Odyssey (R) GB Pair 59d 2h 39m 0s
33 Owens Rowing (R) USA Solo 70d 19h 29m 0s
34 Prowject X (O) Switzerland Pair 74d 15h 2m 0s
35 A Lung Journey (R) Switzerland Solo 75d 10h 6m 0s
36 Atlantic Rower (R) GB Solo Retired after 45 miles
(R) Race class boat. (O) Open class boat.
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