The Toughest Race on Earth?
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean is a phenomenal achievement in itself but its been done now for hundreds of years. According to Wikipedia, Amyr Klink was the first person to row across the South Atlantic, leaving from Lüderitz, Namibia on 10 June 1984 and arriving 100 days later in Salvador, Brazil on 18 September 1984. On 3 December 1999, Tori Murden of the USA became the first woman to row any ocean solo when she arrived in Guadeloupe, having set off from Tenerife in the Canary Islands 81 days earlier. In March 2006 Julie Wafaei of Canada became the first woman to row across the Atlantic from mainland to mainland.
Today, most Atlantic Crossings are made by huge cargo ships transporting goods for trade and commerce and most people still think humans that attempt to cross the Atlantic by human power are certifiably nuts. But thank goodness for nuts.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge calls itself the World’s Toughest Rowing Race, reminding us that more people have been into space and climbed Mount Everest than successfully rowed across the Atlantic. The race began in the mind of Sir Chay Blyth, when he and John Ridgeway spent 92 days battling Hurricanes and fifty foot waves rowing the Atlantic in 1966 when both men were paratroopers and extremely fit in their twenties.
In 1971, Blyth became the first person to sail single-handed non-stop, westwards around the world in a 59 foot boat called the British Steel. Blyth ran the BT Global Challenge until 2008, a periodic around-the-world sailing race, as well as the Atlantic Rowing Race, a fleet of rowboats all trying to go continent to continent. Ridgeway started the Ridgway School of Adventure at Ardmore, Scotland. In 1977-78, Ridgeway raced the school’s 57-foot ketch around the world via The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. (OcenaRowing.com)
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, now tests both teams and individual rowers looking for an extreme challenge. Competitors must row more than 3,000 nautical miles across the world’s second largest ocean. Departing from San Sebastiean in La Gomera rowers will spend at least 50 days at sea, unsupported in their craft, traveling to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.
Rules are as follow (taken directly from Talisker Whisky Challenge).
- The boat shall be raced with the correct number of persons on board at all times.
- Before the race starts, each team shall have rowed their boat for a minimum of 24 hours, at least of 12 of those during the hours of darkness.
- The oars used shall not have blades exceeding 1,530cm2
- Only flags authorised by the Race Organiser shall be hoisted or carried during the race
- Each competitor shall hold a valid RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory certificate, a valid First Aid at Sea certificate and a valid RYA Basic Sea Survival course completion certificate.
- No outside assistance shall be permitted throughout the duration of the race
- Apart from the use of a watermaker, collection of rainwater and fishing, no boat shall receive any re-supplies of food, drink or equipment during the race.
To see the race rules in full, visit Atlantic Campaigns Race Rules
The Toughest Race on Earth? We don’t know about that but it just might be. What do you think?