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The final stretch

By Will North | January 26th, 2014 | Department: Atlantic Row 2013 | Categories: News, Crossing

So we are down to the last 50 miles!! Can you believe it!! We are so chuffed to have come so far and we hope that we can see out the last few miles by this evening.


We felt a quick update on our progress was required considering that after over 50 days we are in the final stretch! BOOM! Every topic of conversation now has some reference to showering, eating, relaxing and most importantly, not rowing!

It's hard to sum up what we (hopefully) have achieved... In one word we would have to say it has been relentless. We have rowed two hours on, two hours off for 53 days which is mental when you think about it! It's amazing how the human body can adapt and just get on with the task at hand. The rowing however has just been one part of the story. We have spent two and a half years getting to where we are now and raised £80,000 in sponsorship to fund the row. We have then managed to raise approximately £125,000 for our charities (should we sell Blue Steel to someone in the next race) and the number continues to rise. You have supported us in your thousands and we can't thank you enough for making this journey so enjoyable. We could not have done it without you all it's as simple as that.

We had some tough conditions last night with a current of 0.6 knots against us which slowed us down considerably. Apparently this is normal when you get closer to Antigua. The current is now with us so we are making headway again and have planned our entry to English Harbour. We should win the pairs class, as of 8.00am this morning 2 Boys In A Boat were 52 miles behind us and running out of ocean to catch us. We in the meantime, are happy to keep sticking to our routine and will be rowing two-up from now on... Let's hope everything goes to plan and we make that finish line...

It’s been a big week for marine life. Four days ago an 8ft shark came to visit and cruised behind the boat before heading off for a surf in the wave next to us. I definitely set a new record for cleaning the bottom of the boat later that day! The next morning Dan was interrupted on his shift by a shunt on the rudder and a dark shape in the water ominously following behind us, scary!

However, thinking nothing could top “shark watch”, during my morning shift I was joined by a migrating fin whale ambling along beside the boat. He was then joined by about 20-30 of his buddies as they spent the next 40 mins passing us by on their way to the Caribbean! Possibly the one and only time being overtaken is acceptable and what a fantastic display of ocean life! We got some great photos and videos of them swimming and rolling over under the boat, but we only just found out that they do this on when highly aroused! It seems we were very nearly part of a post-watershed version of a David Attenborough documentary!

Now with less than 100 miles to go, our family and friends are already sipping rum punches on the beach, so it’s all starting to come to an end. That said, we still have some work to do in continuing to fundraise for our charities and prepare our school presentations on our return for all those that supported us. The life of an ocean rower is apparently never complete!

Finally, a big thank you to Dovecote Park, Edgerley Simpson Howe, Imagine Cruising, Newton Investment Management, the Cleveland Tontine and Jellyfish for funding the vast majority of the row. You have been incredible sponsors and so so supportive. We look forward to telling you all about it on our return. A huge thanks to David Kerfoot for having signed us up for 2 massages upon our arrival to Antigua; not too sure yet if he will be doing them himself though, either way that’s awesome! Also, to Rory Maxwell-Scott for the champers that has been put aside to help us celebrate, good lad!

As I sit here in the cabin it’s hard to think of some inspiration to finish with other than to say that you really can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. What was a pipe dream 5 years ago has become a reality!

Our support crew are waiting for us and it will be a moment to cherish forever when we see them. We have thought about it constantly everyday of the trip. The next time you hear from us we will be in Antigua. This time I won't be in a sweaty cabin but perhaps under a palm tree sipping a rum punch while grapes are fed to me.

Tags: Atlantic Row 2013, Atlantic Challenge, Talisker Whisky, finish line