January 19, 2022

UPDATE FROM ATLANTIC CAMPAIGNS SAFETY OFFICER 

From Facebook

GENERAL

Since the last update some of the AC team have travelled out to Antigua and set up for the race finish and at the time of writing we have had 8 arrivals and are preparing for a busy few days with up to five crews coming in on some days. The atmosphere amongst the families and supporters out here is very special indeed.

Some statistics:

At the time of writing just over 1500 calls and messages have been made and received.

8 crews have finished giving us the Race Winner Swiss Raw and the winning trio, East Rows West.

The next closest boat is 96 miles away

The furthest boat is 1653 miles away

CONDITIONS

Conditions remain relatively good. There is not a lot of assistance but for all bar those at the rear conditions have improved. It is only now that those at the rear are able to make more west which is bringing down the ETAs. Crews are reporting squalls pushing through and Antigua saw some torrential downpours for crews approaching the finish. Looking ahead conditions remain decent and favourable.

ISSUES

Things remain quiet but both the boats and the rowers are suffering to varying degrees after nearly 40 days at sea and we are seeing more minor issues on board but nothing that will struggle to heal on arrival or that cannot be fixed with the equipment on board and advice.

FLEET PROGRESS

At the time of writing 8 crews have finished, 23 crews have less than 1000 miles to go and the furthest has just under 1650 miles to go. Unusually this year there are very close groups finishing amongst the fours now and within the pairs later in the month. At the last look we are expecting 7 crews finishing within one 24-hour period – for those racing this is a sprint finish after 2700 miles and can be extremely tough both physically and mentally. It is important that the rowers do not sacrifice the pleasure of the experience to be lost in racing and we have had conversations to help people balance their emotions which can be running high now.

It is really important to remember that as we celebrate the finishers there are crews who are not at the halfway point yet. They are happy for their fellow rowers, but it can be bitter-sweet seeing and hearing of the celebrations when there is so far to go. Even if your crew has finished, please carry on with your support of all the rowers until the last boat is in – it makes an enormous difference.

At the time of writing:

Finished:

Swiss Raw 34 days 23 hours 42 minutes

Atlantic Flyers 36 days 0 hours 24 minutes

Five in a Row 36 days 3 hours 33 minutes

Shaw and Partners 37 days 4 hours 29 minutes

Anna Victorious 37 days 8 hours 58 minutes

Bubbleheads 37 days 12 hours 45 minutes

East Rows West 37 days 17 hours 44 minutes

Team Peninsula 38 days 0 hours 13 minutes

The finishes have been emotional with effort paying off, huge sums being raised for charity and heartfelt reunions between loved ones. It shows that this event is not just about the rowers but the families and supporters too who are a huge part of this and endure the challenge in their own way.

Still at Sea:

The Salty Sappers 76 miles to finish. Nearest crew 47 miles. The crew have been incredibly consistent and chipped away at this task from day way taking everything in their stride. By the time many read this they will have already taken their first wobbly steps ashore.

Atlantic Nomads 123 miles to finish. Nearest crew 17 miles. The crew have battled against technical issues at times but have worked incredibly hard and if there are no changes to the present speed, they will set a new world record as the fastest mixed trio.

One Ocean Crew 140 miles to finish. Nearest crew 8 miles. The race between One Ocean Crew and The Mothership to be the first female crew has been perhaps the closest fought battle of the race and at present it looks as if One Ocean has just pulled away. The crew are happy and looking forward to Antigua and fresh food. Their supporters were at the family brief today and are very excited to see them.

Helvetic Waves 148 miles to finish. Nearest crew 0 miles. Absolutely neck and neck with the Pacific Boys the young crew are having an exceptionally good row. There have been some minor health issues that are common at sea but within a few days they will be on dry land and recovering quickly.

Pacific Boys 148 miles to finish. Nearest crew 7 miles. After battling poor conditions of the northern route, they have worked hard through it all and are speeding up towards the finish. Always upbeat they are doing well and making the most of the crossing.

The Mothership 155 miles to finish. Nearest crew 5 miles. This crew has thrived in this environment and faced each challenge brilliantly and as a Safety Officer I can hear first-hand how their confidence has grown. The closely fought race with One Ocean has been tough. It has meant that they have pushed themselves harder and felt a greater pressure to perform than they would otherwise have. Looking to arrive Friday evening the crew are ready for sundowners.

Wrekin Rowers 160 miles to finish. Nearest crew 26 miles. The story of the last few days has perhaps been the marlin strike on the crew with the fish hitting directly from below and driving its bill right through to the hull. Using the items on board and having discussed options the crew have made an adequate fix but are disappointed that they have slowed down. The flip side is that they have said it is possibly the best thing that could have happened bringing them even closer as a crew but also getting enormous media coverage and boosting their fundraising efforts.

Force Atlantic 186 miles to finish. Nearest crew 29 miles. With one crew member battling through an injured leg, they are pushing on and seemed particularly happy today with the end in sight.

Elijah’s Star 215 miles to finish. Nearest crew 10 miles. The crew have dealt with a power problem but are doing well and will be ashore in just a few days. Some of the supporters are well practiced having seen every crew in so far.

Two Rowing Finns 225 miles to finish. Nearest crew 32 miles. With a massive lead over the pairs class the crew are ahead of fours and trios too. They have had an unwanted passenger when a tuna landed on deck, but they resisted the temptation of fresh food and are continuing to increase their lead over the pairs.

Foar Tomorrow 257 miles to finish. Nearest crew 19 miles. Clearly enjoying the experience and working steadily towards Antigua the crew always seems unphased and calm whatever the situation.

In Deep Ship 276 miles to finish. Nearest crew 18 miles. Quiet in terms of communication with Race Safety the crew are doing well and reporting no significant issues.

ExtraOARdinary 294 miles to finish. Nearest crew 9 miles. Apart from melting in the heat the crew are doing well and on a great line to Antigua.

Row For Impact 303 miles to finish. Nearest crew 153 miles. The crew have been enjoying faster conditions and even briefly saw a racing catamaran crossing the Atlantic averaging 30 knots.

Wild Waves 456 miles to finish. Nearest crew 290 miles. Currently on course to set the record for the fastest female pair they are working hard to get to Antigua. Partly driven by the record, partly the desire to have fresh food and drink and partly because they finished all their chocolate and good snacks a few days go. The pair have forgone social media to focus on the row and are loving it.

Emergensea Duo 702 miles to finish. Nearest crew 3 miles. The husband-and-wife pair are having a great row though frustrated by a slower few days than they had hoped for. They are both well though weight loss has reduced ‘padding’ and they have aching sit bones.

Row 4 Hope 705 miles to finish. Nearest crew 24 miles. Ben and Matt continue to have a great row, raising money and having an incredible adventure taking everything in their stride.

Foar From Home 729 miles to finish. Nearest crew 17 miles. Speeding up and making the most of the conditions the four are truly seeing how incredible and life changing this row is. It is great to talk with them through both highs and lows as they raise money and awareness and inspire a whole community.

The Entrepreneur Ship 746 miles to finish. Nearest crew 6 miles. Guy and David have both said how much of a profound influence this row is having on them. The hardship and simplicity are empowering and having such time to think is unusual these days. The pair are faster than they expected and are having a great row seeing the miles clicking by. They reported a messy, slow sea today but were still moving at over 2.5knots.

Tropical Blue Wave 752 miles to finish. Nearest crew 18 miles. Another crew who are quietly rowing their own row and loving it. Not a single technical issue the pair are doing well and have sped up significantly in the last week.

The Mindcraft 770 miles to finish. Nearest crew 81 miles. Highs and lows of speed and emotion typify this row. Both are battered and bruised to the extent that the aches and pains are just background noise. This week the crew reached a highpoint of over 8 knots and their ETA is reducing.

Ocean Warrior 851 miles to finish. Nearest crew 24 miles. Lasse is a big guy, and his boat is small. So much so he has found he cannot sleep comfortably in the cabin which is taking its toll as he is tired and has lost a considerable amount of weight. That said he is working hard and making great progressing closing in and overtaking pairs as he pushes to complete his third row.

Team Migaloo 875 miles to finish. Nearest crew 150 miles. After dealing with a daggerboard problem the crew found themselves very south which can be a huge problem for an ocean rowing boat trying to come up into Antigua. They are now moving N as they make W for a better angle of approach. They are strong rowers and doing well.

Tideway Odyssey 1025 miles to finish. Nearest crew 228 miles. There has been a significant mind shift and both crews are now far more positive and focussing on the good aspects of the challenge. By the time this is posted I expect them to be under 1000 miles to go which will be a huge morale boost.

Owen’s Rowing 1253 miles to finish. Nearest crew 158 miles. As conditions changed Owen has increased his speed. Unnecessarily worried about going too far S he is using his daggerboard and is holding a great line.

Prowject X 1411 miles to finish. Nearest crew 229 miles. Still the most cheerful boat in the fleet the crew are making the most of every day at sea and taking everything in their stride.

A Lung Journey 1640 miles to finish. It is tough being at the back of the fleet, but Sandro has increased his seed significantly and managed to get into better conditions. His latest goal when we spoke today was to catch Prowject X.

SUMMARY

It is a brutal grind. Mentally and physically but it can also be tremendously rewarding. I urge you all to watch the FB live reporting of the arrivals to get a feel of the sheer intensity, joy, and sense of accomplishment. For me the greatest part of this job is to be there when the rowers step ashore on wobbly legs and I can look them in the eye and see the impact of this adventure, to see how much it means. It is not the same for everyone but having seen them when they are in training, in Gomera and then talking to them at sea for some it changes everything and to be part of that is a huge privilege.

LOOKING FORWARD

Conditions remain benign and will continue to fluctuate with winds predominantly good and having E as well as N elements. Generally further W the more easterly and better the winds.

Antigua will be busy with possibly 7 arrivals on 21st Jan, 2 on 22nd, 2 on the 23rd and 2 on 24th. Even as we watch these crews finish keep an eye on the fleet at sea and the battle amongst the pairs particularly.