Journey To Take 30-60 Days And 1.5 Million Oar Strokes
Fifty-five people – in four-man and all-female crews, as well as individuals– are rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to Antigua–Barbuda in specially-designed rowboats.
They are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which involves 21 teams rowing from San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua–Barbuda. They departed on Dec. 13.
The challenge will take anywhere between 30 and 60 days, depending on the weather conditions, as well as the condition of the rowers. It will take an estimated 1.5 million oar strokes to complete the journey.
Rowers are from several places across the world: the USA, United Kingdom, Antigua, The Netherlands and South Africa
One of the competitors is 70-year-old Frank Rothwell, who is hoping to raise £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK. “I’ve spent the last 18 months training for this exact moment, so although it’s daunting, I feel excited and as ready as I’ll ever be,” he said. “Raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and hitting my £1 million, has become my biggest motivation.
“People are getting in touch with messages of support and donating money for dementia research, and Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has generously offered to double the first £500,000 of donations, so I can’t go back now. I’ve got to prove that you’re never too old to take on a challenge!”
Dixon McDonald – Captain of USA boat, Latitude 35, said: “I grew up in New York City, on the 7th floor of a 16 floor apartment building in Manhattan. I did not grow up next to an ocean, I had never rowed until about a year and a half ago. I hadn’t spent more than five and half hours on a rowing machine until I started training for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. That said, I love pushing the limits of what’s considered possible and this race seemed like the perfect challenge to do just that.”
Sofia Deambrosi from The Bristol Gulls boat, said: “We’ve left behind busy lives and loved ones at home and now all that is ahead of us is 3,000 miles of adventure.”
One thing is for sure – when they reach the finish line they will no doubt be reaching for a drink of the event’s sponsor, Talisker whiskey from the Island of Skye in Scotland.