Four British ocean rowers have become the first to reach the finish line in the 2019 Talikser Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, an annual race across the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. The team, which consisted of Oliver Palmer, Tom Foley, Hugh Gilum and Max Breet, completed the crossing in 32 days, 12 hours, and 35 minutes, covering approximately 3000 miles (4828 km) in the process.
The race began back on December 12. when the four men—aboard their rowboat the Fortitude IV—set out from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands. They arrived in Antigua in the Caribbean last night, wrapping up their epic journey in the process. In order to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a little more than a month’s time, they had to man the oars in 90 minutes shifts, 24 hours a day. While two men rowed, the other two would eat, rest, and wait for their turn to take over. That grueling schedule left them exhausted and sleep deprived, which was made all the worse by the boat capsizing on numerous occasions. Even in the final few days leading up to the finish they the Fortitude IV rolled several times.
This year’s Atlantic Challenge included 35 total teams spread out across solo rowers, along with teams of two, three, four, and five. Palmer, Foley, Gilum, and Breet held off the competition to claim victory, although there are a few other boats that aren’t far behind. The annual race has been run for a number of years and is one of the top endurance events in the world in part because of the tough schedule that is required to cross the Atlantic in relatively short time.
Breet summed up the challenge nicely when asked what he was looking forward to the most now that he was back on land. He said, “Food, shower, mattress, not waking up every 40 minutes. Not getting flipped when you’re asleep in the cabin. The little things you leave when you’re on the ocean. Being able to walk around and not having to crawl from a seated position to a lying position.”
Congrats to him and the rest of his team on wrapping up the race and good luck to those who are still making their way into the finish line. The last racers, likely to be a solo rowers, probably won’t come in for weeks yet.
Check out more on the official Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge website.
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