FEBRUARY 26, 2022
AN Afterword from ceo & Race Director, Carsten Heron Olsen (from FaceBook)
Friday 25th February 2022 at 16:54 marked the finish of The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021 with arrival of Team Prowject X after 75 days, 10 hours and 6 minutes at sea. The race may have finished but this is only the beginning of a new chapter for our rowers. This race truly transforms lives. We have seen it over and over again.
This year we have seen the biggest fleet in history to row the Atlantic Ocean. Thirty-six boats and 107 rowers from eleven different countries left the shores of La Gomera on the 12th of December 2021. An unfortunate injury of one of our teams in the first 24 hours meant thirty-five boats made it safe and sound, 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua.
As I stand back to reflect the 2021 fleet, the over-whelming 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.
As Ian Couch, our Head Safety Officer put it, “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. There are lives changed, friendships forged and more adventures than ever imagined”.
Another eye-opening delivery of the 2021 race has been the incredible wildlife that our fleet have witnessed this year. Mother Nature yet again gifted some of her finest attributes to our fleet. We have never had so many sightings of turtles, dolphins, whales, orcas, and birds. The reason of this can be widely discussed and possibly be applied to the lack of marine traffic in the form of shipping and cruise ships over the past couple of years. The sunsets and sunrises and unobstructed night skies will never get old. Teams were able to take in the Atlantic Ocean in a different guise due to the glass calm sea state that we saw for almost the first 1,500 miles. The frustrations of having no following conditions, minimal assistance from the natural trade winds and weather that hindered rather than helped all added to the skill set, drive and mental tenacity that was required for our teams to succeed.
Behind this race are an amazing number of people who make this race what it is. To the Atlantic Campaigns staff, I am proud to say I can call you not only colleagues but family. Thank you for your passion and hard work. Without the support of our like-minded partners, this event would not be possible. Our shared spirit creates an ocean rowing race like no other.
A huge thank you to our unbelievably beautiful race start and finish destinations, La Gomera and Antigua & Barbuda. The people, support and hospitality has been overwhelming. There are just too many people to thank by name.
To each family member, friend, supporter, sponsor and charity (our teams have raised more than €3,000,000!) you’ve allowed our teams to rise to the challenge of a lifetime. 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.
NEXT RACE START • #TWAC2022 • 12/12/22
THE PACIFIC CHALLENGE • #PACIFIC2023 • 06/23