The Race

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2018

Image courtesy of Rannoch Adventure

The world’s toughest row

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the premier event in ocean rowing – 30 crews from around the world competing to cross 3000 miles of ocean, powered only by their own strength and determination.

The idea of the Challenge race came to Sir Chay Blyth whilst he was rowing the Atlantic Ocean in 1966 with John Ridgeway. They faced a 92 day battle against hurricanes, 50 foot waves and near starvation. The boats and technology may have changed since the ‘60s, but the challenge offered by the mighty Atlantic remains.

3000 rowing race across the Atlantic

The 2018 challenge

We’ll cast off in December 2018 from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands (28oN 18oW) rowing around the clock for over 50 days to reach Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda (17oN 61oW).

At the mercy of the elements, we will face a constant battle of sleep deprivation, salt sores and the physical extremes of rowing for 12 hours a day - 2 hours on, 2 hours off. With each exhausting stroke of the oars we'll have just one focus: to get the boat and crew safely to the finish line. It will undoubtedly be the toughest challenge of our lives but if successful we will enter an elite club - more people have been into space, or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic.

The boats

The boats are seven meters long and just under two metres wide. Built of fibre glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar, they have only a small cabin to provide protection from the waves, storms and powerful sun rays. If the waves prove too much and a boat capsizes, they are designed to self-right.

The boat has to be equipped at the start line with everything we’ll need for the entire voyage and we’ll not be able to take any repair, help or food and water during the crossing. We’ll have a water maker (a machine to desalinate the ocean water), the latest technology to navigate and communicate, and all our rations aboard. Most of our food will be dehydrated but we’ll also take a good supply of chocolate and of course hobnobs!

Life at Sea

The race will be the hardest physical and mental challenge of ours lives. Those few who have succeeded have said:


"The only thing that kept us both on that little boat was fear of failure" - Ben Fogle
"The scorching hot sun, the driving rain, the injures, the sores, the exhaustion, and the endless, endless rowing." - The Yorkshire Rows
"There is nothing more challenging than being exposed to the full force of the elements, 24/7"
"It’s like you’re flung into a bed of stinging nettles. It’s relentless."
"The conditions change minute by minute. 30 knot winds. Rain storms. 40ft waves. 40 degree heat."