We briefly discussed this race in dsnm social media posts in July 2021 and September 2021, but as the December 2023 date is charging towards us, we really wanted to bring some serious attention to the Atlantic R2R team taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. This is an unaided 3000-mile rowing race across the Atlantic from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to the English Harbour in Antigua. It will be a gruelling challenge for the 4 man team of Atlantic R2R who will embark on this unique and life changing expedition.
The race brings together people from across the entire globe who all hold the same singular objective – to complete the unique and unparalleled experience of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat. Rowers will row for 2 hours and sleep for 2 hours, constantly, 24 hours a day for the whole journey (estimated to be between 40-80 days). In their time on the ocean each team will row more than 1.5 million oar strokes in waves that can measure up to 20ft high.
Throughout their journey the teams will battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores and the physical extremes inflicted by the race., Mentally rowers are left with their own thoughts across the full expanse of the ocean so this test of both mental and physical endurance will push teams to their limits.
The Atlantic R2R team was put together in 2020, and is made up of two best friends ex-soldier Tom and a serving sniper infantry warrant officer, Paul; and a father and son Jordan Parkinson who is a current yacht crew member and his father, Richard. A fully Highland team Tom, Jordan and Richard all live on the Isle of Skye in Scotland within half an hour of Talisker Distillery, the main sponsor for the race, with Paul living in Inverness-shire. Although the team all come from various backgrounds the combined qualities, skills and experience of each team member makes for an exciting, cohesive, and competitive team. You can find out more about the team here.
It was through Tom and Paul’s shared experience of the loss of their team commander in the army taking his own life that has led the Atlantic R2R team to fundraise for the charity Rock2Recovery. Rock2Recovery specialise in helping both ex and serving servicemen and women who battle with mental health issues through service, particularly PTSD, and assist in integrating them back into civilian life.
To find out more about the race, the team and Rock2Recovery please follow the links below. If you would like to donate to the campaign this can be done via their JustGiving page, at the time of writing the team has raised £2644 of the £37,500 they need so now is the time to get involved. The hardest part of this race for the team is getting started and raising the finances to begin, so please support if you can. (I am sure the team will be cursing me halfway across the Atlantic for saying the fundraising was the hard bit!).
The Atlantic R2R teams’ intention is to create a legacy project by donating the boat and all equipment, as well as trying to secure some future sponsorship, to allow onward veteran teams to undertake the challenge. This will provide continuing support for mental health assistance to the UK’s current serving and veteran military as well as our 999 services. Although they aim to win the race, raising as much money as possible for the veteran’s charity Rock2Recovery remains their biggest motivating factor at this stage.
Navigational skills are extremely important to ocean rowing, probably more important than rowing experience…the relationship the vessel will have with the prevailing wind and currents, can really make the race a world record attempt!
Let’s help them get there.
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