Taking on the World’s Toughest Rowing Race

April 21st, 2017

After completing an epic trek across the South Pole in 2014/15 and the North Pole in 2013, Andy Styles, Andrew Cameron and Andy Sacker who together make up A-Adventures, took the plunge and signed up to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – the world’s toughest rowing challenge.

More people have travelled into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. Those who dare row more than 3,000 nautical miles across the second largest ocean. The route heads west from San Sebastian in La Gomera to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua. Once they’ve left the harbour, the teams are on their own and at the mercy of Mother Nature as well as the threat of sharks, blisters, salt rashes, sunstroke and sleep deprivation.

The three ordinary men aged 46-52 had never rowed before and needed to learn the basics and prepare mentally for the endurance event.

“We spent so many hours on the rowing machine and weight training,” explains Andy Styles. “We’d done a couple of test runs in the boat but it was a case of taking the plunge and facing the elements when we were out there.

“The first six days were really tough as there wasn’t much tailwind or current to give us extra speed. We also had power issues after a couple of days which meant that we had to row solidly for 49 days,
rotating our shift patterns to include one hour rowing, one hour steering then one hour rest. Yet it wasn’t actually the rowing that was the hardest part but looking after each other and making sure we were all okay during the trip.”

A-ADVENTURES, GB TRIO OF DADS, CROSS THE FINISH LINE OF THE TALISKER WHISKY ATLANTIC CHALLENGE L-R ANDREW CAMERON, ANDY SACKER AND ANDY STYLES CREDIT BEN DUFFY

Andy describes how some of the particular highs were seeing pods of dolphins, whales and turtles, as well as shooting stars at night when the sky was clear.

Andy continues: “There was also some real lows like at night when a wave would come and knock you off your seat so you were pretty much hanging off the side of the boat.”

With 12 teams setting off and 11 making it to the finish line, the A-Adventures completed the journey in 53 days.

As the first ever British team to complete the challenge, they’ve so far raised more than £25,000 from friends, family and partners including us at the Champion Group for Bowel Cancer UK, Barnardo’s and the Joliba Trust. To donate and show your support, visit: http://bit.ly/2nk51b9.

So what’s next for the A-Adventures? Andy explained how he’d like to row down the Amazon or walk the Great Wall of China. Whatever the future holds, we wish them the best of luck!


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