Alum Conquers ‘World’s Toughest Row’

Lauren Champion rowing

Terp, Teammate Complete Race Across Atlantic in Record Time

By Annie Krakower

Photo courtesy of World’s Toughest Row

For Lauren “Nini” Champion ’16, rowing a boat doesn’t so much happen gently down the stream as it does fiercely across the ocean, amid towering waves, roaring winds and unforgiving sun.

In January, the alum completed the World’s Toughest Row, an unassisted 3,000-mile trek on the open sea from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to the Caribbean island of Antigua. Along with her teammate, Lisa Roland, Champion lived up to her name, setting a world record for a female duo rowing across the Atlantic.

“I felt kind of a security and confidence that I just didn’t know I had,” she says.

The Annapolis native grew up sailing with her family, and after graduating from the University of Maryland, she joined her brother in the sailing industry in Antigua. That’s where she met Roland, who was also working on yachts there, and first witnessed participants finishing the annual World’s Toughest Row race.

“Both of us as sailors looked at it as an additional challenge,” Roland says.

They then started their “row-lationship,” Champion says, logging over 100 hours in their racing vessel. Named Invictus , the 7-meter-long boat features solar panels, two small cabins and rowing stations.

Race organizers checked in with the eight competing pairs—as well as 11 solo rowers, six trios, 12 teams of four and one team of five—via satellite phone every 48 hours, but that was all the outside contact they got as they braved stories-high waves and endured sun-soaked stretches of an unchanging seascape. Those check-ins broke up the monotony of eating freeze-dried meals, sleeping in two-hour shifts and having hours upon hours to think.

After braving a partial capsize, uncooperative winds and blazing heat, the duo clocked in at Antigua at 45 days, one hour and 27 minutes, breaking the previous world record by nearly six hours.

“The most memorable part of it for me was just stepping on shore and how shocked I was with how I felt in my body,” Champion says. “I honestly felt nearly intoxicated.”

The team scored another victory, too. Champion and Roland, who was raised in the foster care system, developed the Bridges Over Water fund to help young adults aging out of foster care find jobs in the maritime industry. As part of a fundraising campaign, they collected nearly $60,000 to go toward 10 scholarships.

Now, as they promote the fund, they’re considering future rowing races—possibly across the Pacific next.

“I definitely think there’s a part of me that seeks interesting (challenges),” Champion says.

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Vendée Globe: Everything you need to know about the world’s toughest sailing race


Charal was one of the favourites going into the 2020 Vendée Globe, but suffered a major setback early on. Photo: Damien Meyer / Getty Images

Founded by French yachtsman Philippe Jeantot in 1989, the Vendée Globe is a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race.

More people have been into space than have finished the Vendée, earning it the reputation as the world’s toughest sailing race.

Since 1992, the Vendée Globe has taken place every four years. The race sets off from its start / finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne, on the Atlantic coast of France, in November in order to avoid the worst of the Southern Ocean weather by sailing the Southern Ocean stage of the race in the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Who is racing in the 2024 Vendée Globe?

The 2020 Vendée Globe race, its ninth edition, was perhaps the most successful ever: it saw 33 entries, a record number of new foiling designs, and the lowest ever number of abandonments.

In previous editions of the Vendée Globe the attrition rate usually sees around 40% of skippers retire before completing the course. One skipper, Canadian Gerry Roufs, died attempting the race in 1997.

Previous winners include Francois Gabart, who also holds the solo around the world record, and Michel Desjoyeaux, the only man to win it twice. 

Usually the winner is the first sailor to cross the finish line. However, the winner of the 2020 race, Yannick Bestaven was awarded time redress for his part in the rescue of fellow Vendée sailor Kevin Escoffier which saw him awarded first place.

Entries opened for the 2024 Vendée Globe in February 2022 and will remain open until October 2023. 

The initial notice of race for the next Vendée Globe allows a record entry of 40 boats to complete. The 2024 race is likely to be oversubscribed, with keen competition in the qualifying races. The rules prohibit older IMOCA 60s from competing with 2008 generation boats being the oldest allowed.

Purchasing an ‘old’ IMOCA 60 has long been a way into the event for the skippers with lower funding levels than the ‘premiere’ teams who are looking to build a latest generation IMOCA 60. However, when Yannick Bestaven won the 2020 event on Maître CoQ , a 2016 generation foiler , it fuelled the values of recent IMOCA 60 s that are tried and tested, competitive and ready to fine-tune right away.

At the start of 2022 55 skippers had indicated their intention to compete in the event, though the initial list is usually whittled down over time as sailors struggle to find adequate funding or complete the qualification miles. 

world's toughest yacht race

As such there are many from that list who will not be able to enter the event. But there are also several sailors who have already confirmed their funding with a sponsor, and / or have a new boat in build, all of whom are very likely to be on the startline. 

The most likely 2024 Vendée Globe entrants so far include:

Sailor – Sponsor / Boat Name – Designer (year launched)

Antoine Cornic (FRA) – TBC – Owen-Clarke (2008) Isabelle Joschke (FRA) – TBC – VPLP – Verdier (2008) Manuel Cousin (FRA) – Groupe Sétin – Farr (2008) Romain Attanasio (FRA) – Fortis-Best Western – VPLP – Verdier (2016) Pip Hare (GBR) – Medallia – VPLP – Verdier (2016) Benjamin Dutreux (FRA) – TBC – VPLP – Verdier (2016) Damien Seguin (FRA) – Group Apecil – VPLP – Verdier (2016) Fabrice Amedeo (FRA) – Newrest – Art & Fenêtres – VPLP – Verdier (2016) Alan Roura (SUI) – TBC – VPLP – Pete Hobson (2020) Clarisse Crémer (FRA) – Banque Populaire XII – Guillaume Verdier (2020) Kojiro Shiraishi (JPN) – DMG Mori Global One – VPLP (2020) Armel Tripon (FRA) – TBC – VPLP (New) Boris Herrmann (GER) – Team Malizia – VPLP (New) Charlie Dalin (FRA) – Apivia – Guillaume Verdier (New) Jérémie Beyou (FRA) – Charal – Sam Manuard (New) Kevin Escoffier (FRA) – PRB – Guillaume Verdier (New) Samantha Davies (GBR) – Initiatives-Cœur – Sam Manuard (New) Maxime Sorel (FRA) – V&B, Monbana, Mayenne – Guillaume Verdier (New) Yannick Bestaven (FRA) – Maitre Coq V – Guillaume Verdier (New) Yoann Richomme (FRA) – Arkea Paprec – Antoine Koch / Finot Conq (New) Thomas Ruyant (FRA) – TBC – Antoine Koch (New)

What is the route for the 2024 Vendée Globe?

After departing from Les Sables d’Olonne on 10 November, the racers sail across the Atlantic and head south along the east coast of South America to avoid the South Atlantic High.

Upon entering the Southern Ocean, they will head east past the Cape of Good Hope and Australia’s Cape Leeuwin before sailing across the Pacific and rounding Cape Horn.

A final return journey back up the Atlantic follows Cape Horn as the sailors make their way to the finish off Sables d’Olonne. 

world's toughest yacht race

Follow the links below to read all the latest Vendée Globe news, features and analysis right here on

world's toughest yacht race

Clarisse Crémer cleared following Vendée cheating accusations

  • March 4, 2024

Clarisse Crémer has been cleared of any misconduct following anonymous accusations that she cheated during the 2020/21 Vendée Globe by discussing routing options with her husband, Tanguy Le Turquais. The…

world's toughest yacht race

Two new IMOCA skippers who will be fighting at the front of the next Vendée Globe

  • February 20, 2024

One year before the 2024 Vendée Globe, two back to back transatlantic races – the classic double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre race to Martinique, closely followed by the…

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“I never cheated” Clarisse Cremer denies rumours of Vendee Globe routing

  • February 15, 2024

Clarisse Cremer, who finished 12th in the 2020/21 Vendée Globe, has posted a firm rebuttal of anonymous accusations that she cheated during the solo around the world race by discussing…

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  • November 28, 2023

Ahead of me, the bow of Medallia is pointing at the sky. This is not poetic license; I am actually looking upwards at my bowsprit as it rises up, 50ft…

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World’s fastest monohull: Malizia-Seaexplorer IMOCA 60

  • August 17, 2023

Followers of the IMOCA 60 fleet will know that two names have dominated the class over the past two generations when it comes to design: VPLP and Verdier. So, it’s no…

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Clarisse Crémer confirms new Vendée Globe sponsor, Alex Thomson heads team

  • April 19, 2023

It has been confirmed that Clarisse Crémer’s Vendée Globe campaign is back on with L’Occitane en Provence stepping in as headline sponsor, while British five-time Vendée Globe veteran Alex Thomson…

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Alex Thomson buys Banque Populaire IMOCA, but skipper still to be confirmed

  • March 22, 2023

British four-time Vendée Globe competitor Alex Thomson has announced that his team has agreed to purchase the IMOCA 60 which Clarisse Cremer was set to race in the 2024 Vendée Globe before she…

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  • March 13, 2023

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  • March 8, 2023

As the 2024 Vendée Globe draws ever closer it looks like British fans will have plenty to shout about in the next edition as a bumper number of British skippers…

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Banque Populaire drops out of the 2024 Vendée Globe

  • February 17, 2023

In early February Clarisse Cremer broke the news she had been dropped as skipper for the 2024 Vendée Globe by her sponsor Banque Populaire. Now, following a month of terrible…

world's toughest yacht race

The ‘motherhood penalty’? Controversy as Vendée Globe skipper Clarisse Cremer loses sponsor

  • February 3, 2023

IMOCA skipper Clarisse Cremer, who has recently given birth to her first child, has been controversially dropped by her sponsor Banque Populaire ahead of the 2024 Vendée Globe. Cremer, who…

world's toughest yacht race

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  • August 23, 2022

When solo ocean racing skipper Alex Thomson announced that he was stepping aside from competitive sailing after the 2020 Vendée Globe, he didn’t give many clues as to what he…

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Kevin Escoffier: Tough guy of the sea

  • August 22, 2022

We all know how French solo skippers get so darn good. They move from youth sailing to Mini Transat and Figaro classes, where they drill for years. Then the lucky…


Alex Thomson stands down as Vendée Globe skipper

  • October 25, 2021

British sailor Alex Thomson has announced he won’t compete as a skipper in the 2024 Vendée Globe, the solo, non-stop race around-the-world, but doesn’t rule out returning to the race…

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The Ocean Race: What’s it like on a fully crewed IMOCA 60?

  • September 27, 2021

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If ever the stars aligned to see a sport’s popularity grow exponentially, they did so for the recent story of double-handed racing offshore. Societal changes, a brief hint of a…

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Vendée Globe: Race on for 2024 entries

  • August 2, 2021

The 2020 Vendée Globe race, its ninth edition, was perhaps the most successful ever: it saw 33 entries, a record number of new foiling designs, the lowest ever number of…

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Pip Hare gets ‘dream’ foiling IMOCA for 2024 Vendée Globe

  • May 13, 2021

British Vendée Globe sailor Pip Hare today announced that she has renewed her partnership with Medallia, and bought a foiling IMOCA for her 2024 Vendée Globe campaign. The news will…

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Mid-ocean repairs: Vendée Globe sailors tell all

  • May 4, 2021

Some of the damage we saw at the Vendée Globe finish was simply staggering, yet this edition was also remarkable for its small number of retirements. Many boats suffered major…

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What we learned from our Pip Hare Ask Me Anything on YBW

  • April 23, 2021

On April 22nd, Vendée Globe hero and the first British sailor to finish the 2020/21 solo non stop round the world race, Pip Hare was our second special guest in…

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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race arrives in Puerto Sherry, Spain

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Seattle Sports Commission

Thanks for Joining Us in Seattle!

Race supporters, visitors and locals toured the ocean racing yachts, attended networking events and discussions, and heard directly from race crew on what it’s like to embark on The Race of Your Life . Get a Seattle recap here .

Welcome the Clipper Race Fleet at Bell Harbor Marina

Arrivals Window | April 21 - April 26 | FREE | Bell Harbor Marina

Having raced across the iconic mighty North Pacific, the fleet of eleven 70-foot stripped-down Clipper Race sailing yachts arrived in Seattle after nearly a month at sea and a 5,580 nautical mile sprint from China. Race supporters welcomed these extraordinary crews to the Emerald City and Bell Harbor Marina with opportunities to tour the iconic yachts and more. 

Track the Clipper Race Fleet on the Race Viewer  

Follow SSC Socials for the latest on arrival times. 

Clipper Race Fanzone | April 27-May 3 | 10am – 5pm | FREE | Bell Harbor Marina

Do you want to learn more about the Clipper Race, the world's toughest ocean challenge? Then come and visit the Clipper Race Fanzone, where you can learn about this incredible adventure and how you can get involved in the next edition. 

Clipper Connect | April 29 | 10am | FREE | Port of Seattle Headquarters, 2711 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121 | LEARN MORE - REGISTER

Adventure For Good: The Positive Impact of Women in the Marine and Sailing Industry  

Around the world, women are actively engaged in all facets of the marine sector, contributing to the transition towards a decarbonized, digitized, and increasingly sustainable future. Seattle’s Clipper Connect event featured a panel of individuals influencing the maritime industry as sailors, stewards, event planners, and innovators. 

Clipper Connect includes a panel discussion, Q&A, and opportunities to network with a global audience as attendees include Race participants, supporters, and organizations from various countries. 

Interested in sponsoring a future Clipper Connect? Contact [email protected]

Tour a Clipper 70 Racing Yacht | April 29-May 1 | 11am-6pm | FREE | Bell Harbor Marina  

Bring your family and step on board a Clipper 70 stripped down ocean racing yacht. Take an above and below deck tour with the Race Crew that will call these yachts home for the next seven months. 

On deck, test your skills on one of the eleven winches that hoist the sails up the 29m [95 foot] mast. Below deck, explore the Nav Station, galley, bunks, stowage to see where the 20 Race Crew members live when off watch. 

Become an Ocean Racer | May 1 | 5pm | FREE | Bell Harbor Marina | REGISTER HERE

Calling all adventurers! Have you got what it takes to cross the world's toughest oceans in the next edition of the Clipper Race?  

Discover more about the selection process, training, the race, the fleet, stopovers, personal logistics and most importantly the race crew. You'll either walk away inspired or scared. One thing you won't be is bored. 

Fleet Departure | RACE 11 | The USA Coast-to-Coast  

Friday, May 3 | FREE | Bell Harbor Marina  

Slipping Lines Ceremony | May 3 | Noon-12:30pm  

Watch as each of the eleven yachts depart ready for Race Start .

Parade of Sail | May 3 | 1pm-1:30pm  

The Clipper Race fleet set sail as Seattle sent them off in style for the official start to Race 11, “The USA Coast-to-Coast” leg. Supporters cheered them on from Alaskan Way, at one of the designated waterfront watch points, and by sailing their own vessels out to the designated spectator craft zone. It was a sight not to be missed! 

Departure to Race Start Zone | May 3 | 1:30pm  

Race Start: Watch from the Water

Lucky enough to own your own boat? Get close to the action and watch Race Start in the designated spectator craft zone. Download the fleet departure and Race Start documentation to help plan your passage. COMING SOON! 

Special Thanks to The Port of Seattle, Visit Seattle, Anthony’s Pier 66  

Corporate & Sponsorship Inquiries:   Pamela Quadros [email protected]   

Opportunities to sponsor future Clipper Race events including awards ceremonies, closing ceremonies, VIP events, and more. 

Yacht & Sailing Club Inquiries:   Alex Webster [email protected]  

Media Inquiries:   Mara Mote [email protected]

world's toughest yacht race

About Clipper

The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other.

Eleven amateur sailing crews undergo an intensive training program before setting sail on 70’ racing yachts to complete a full circumnavigation of the globe. Covering 40,000 nautical miles and facing grueling conditions, the race is broken up into legs, with opportunities to earn points along the way.

world's toughest yacht race

2022 Seattle Stopover

In the last iteration of The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the Emerald City sponsored Team Seattle in their circumnavigation. It was a joy to welcome them into their home port (with some crew from the PNW and others from other countries) alongside the ten other race crews. We are excited to share the beautiful sea and landscape with this year’s group of adventurers.

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Tim Moynihan

Grueling 39K-Mile Yacht Race Tests the Sanity of Cramped Crews

Image may contain Vehicle Transportation Boat Watercraft Vessel and Sailboat

The idea of sailing around the world seems a bit iffy, even on a huge luxury liner with hot meals, cold alcohol, ample shuffleboard, and a decent bed. The idea turns horrific when you’re talking about doing it on a 65-foot sailing yacht with no fresh food, no shower, a narrow net of a bed, one change of clothes, and a single “toilet” the size and shape of a mixing bowl.

(P.S. You need to share that micro-toilet with seven other people.)

This is what the members of Team Alvimedica have signed up for. Led by skipper Charlie Enright and general manager Mark Towill, they’ll make up one of six competing teams in the Volvo Ocean Race, widely considered the toughest sailing race in the world.

The 2014-15 edition of the race, which takes place every three years, will cover 39,000 miles, hit six continents, and run from October to June. This is the first time it will be a “one-design” race: All entrants must use a specially designed boat—the $6 million Volvo 65—with the same exact specifications. The new carbon-fiber boats, designed by Farr Yacht Design in Annapolis, Md. specifically for the next two Volvo Ocean Races and assembled in different spots around the world, are strong and sturdy.

The idea is that giving everyone the same boat will keep teams from sacrificing safety features at the expense of speed. That’s not an idle worry: The race has claimed the lives of five sailors in its 41-year history. That doesn’t mean the boats are slow. With two sails, the 65-foot long craft can hit 30 knots (34.5 mph).

The identical boats will emphasize sailing skills, which could make this year’s race more competitive than ever. Teams will be evenly matched off the starting line. Once on the water, they monitor the weather to determine the exact route they want to take and which sails to use (Team Alvimedica will bring seven options to choose from). Depending on their choices, the boats may end up close together for some of the legs.

Each of the Volvo Ocean Race’s nine legs is treated as an independent race, with points allotted for the top finishers. At each port stop, the boats compete in shorter sprint races. The in-port races are used as tiebreakers if there’s a dead heat in the overall competition.


The boat may be safer than ever this year, but it offers little in the way of temperature control and sleep-friendliness. The cramped innards house a communications center, a video-editing lab, sleeping quarters (basically hammocks), and the head (a very non-private toilet). Enright says the temperature down there is either “really really hot or really really cold.” Carbon fiber doesn’t exactly dampen noise, so the cramped below-deck quarters pound constantly with the sound of waves hitting the hull.

We checked out Team Alvimedica’s boat on a gorgeous 80-degree day in New York City. It was a scorching, claustrophobic slice of hell. A tiny electric fan mounted to the right of the boat’s navigation center---a couple of ThinkPads with a cable-suspended seat in front—provided a sip of relief. It’s hard to imagine what would help if it were cold. There is no fireplace.

Each stage of the race is its own unique flavor of nightmare, from typhoons off the southern coast of China, dodging steamships in Malaysia, pirates near Somalia, to a combination of massive waves, powerful winds, and gigantic icebergs in the southernmost stretch of the competition. The first leg will take the teams from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa---a 6,487-mile jaunt that will last more than three weeks. The teams will swing so far west after passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, they’ll practically scrape the coast of Brazil. Then they loop back east to Cape Town. It’s not the most-direct route, but it may get them there the fastest thanks to the trade winds. As an added bonus, the route should also steer them clear of potential pirate attacks off the west coast of Africa.

If the competitors can duck and dodge their way through all of that, they’ll still need to make sure they don’t run out of food. That requires careful planning. Too much food will add unwanted weight to the boat. Too little of it would be disastrous during a slower-than-expected leg. During the last Volvo Ocean Race, the American PUMA Ocean Racing team ran out of food a day and a half from port on one leg.

But no matter how much food they bring, it will not be delicious. It’ll be freeze-dried everything, little packets of blech that won’t replenish the crazy amount of calories each crew burns on board. It’s no shock that the first thing the team will do when they get to each port is eat actual food, “or maybe get a blood test,” says Enright.


When you’re stuck on a boat for weeks with a small crew, personnel decisions are a big deal. Substitutions are allowed between legs---and boats rarely finish the race with the same crew they had at the start---but while on the water, you’re stuck with whomever you’ve got. So each team builds a roster loaded with specialists who can deal with whatever happens: An electrician, a sailmaker, a medic, maybe a bowman or a strong grinder for the winches. A media specialist will also be on each boat to edit together video, as well as an embedded onboard reporter who’s only allowed to report, cook, and clean. It’ll be all-hands-on-deck, except for that reporter.

If something does go horribly wrong, the teams are on their own for a little while. The sailing yachts won’t be followed by chase boats and they’re often thousands of miles from land. In 2012, the mast of Team PUMA’s boat snapped in three places in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean and ended up on Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island on the planet.

The boats are tracked: Every five minutes, Volvo Ocean Race officials will receive an update of each boat’s location, and the boats are certainly equipped for several forms of communication. A few Inmarsat Sailor satellite antennas are in the back of each boat: A large unit used for beefier transmissions, such as sending video from the boat via satellite. A second, smaller Inmarsat Sailor antenna will be used for less-demanding data delivery: Text messages and e-mails back home. Ordering a pizza probably won’t work.

There will also be five video cameras on board, including a pair mounted to the mast, and they’ll be rolling at all times. Not all the footage will be saved, however. Instead, there will be a buffer of at least 30 minutes so that the ship’s media crew member can review footage in case anything goes wrong, and to have more leeway when editing together montages. The mast-mounted cameras are controlled from below the deck, with a panel that can swap cameras, operate the zoom on each of them, and move them around. There’s also a Panasonic Toughpad the team can use on deck to see what’s happening, and remotely control the navigation system below.

According to Enright, the yachts were practically designed around one of the many cameras, a live-stream-capable module above the hatch that’s also equipped with a microphone for chatting. There won’t be a live-stream from the boat’s cameras, so you’re out of luck if you want to follow along with them for nine months straight. But you can follow them with an online map, and the media crew member will be editing videos aboard the ship and sending produced packages to TV stations via satellite.

The toughest part of the race will likely be the fifth and longest leg---the 6,776-mile, iceberg-infested stretch in the Southern Ocean from New Zealand to Brazil. “There, it’s not about going fast, it’s about controlling the crew and the boat,” says Enright, who anticipates filling the boat’s ballast tanks during that leg to slow the boat down and keep it more manageable. “To finish first, you must first finish.”

The prize for finishing first? Zero dollars. Each boat’s crew members are professional sailors who will be paid by their teams, but there’s no jackpot at the end of this grueling race.

The trophies aren’t too bad, though.

world's toughest yacht race

2022 Race Entrants

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Mike Bates Country: UK Boat Design: R25 Charity: Leeds Hospitals Charity Social Media:

Union Jack

Why I’d like to do the row – For me there are lots of reasons. Firstly I want to give back to our NHS and the unit that saved our son’s life. I also want my children to witness their dad complete a successful project of this magnitude, the brakes will be off then for them as they look forward to what they both may become and achieve in their lives. Lastly, I need an adventure and a refreshed challenge as I enter my 40th year. I’ve always set myself huge goals (joining the Marines, getting my BJJ black belt) and this will be the biggest of them all! Why chosen charity – Leeds Hospitals Cares are the official charity for Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Both of our boys were born prematurely and both needed special care. Our youngest son was born 9 weeks early and spent time in intensive care and high dependancy, he later was diagnosed with meningitis and underwent a further period in and out of intensive care. The amazing staff at Leeds General Infirmary saved his life and we’ll be forever grateful. This is my chance to give back and I aim to raise over £50,000 to support other families like mine who are or have cared for really poorly children. I hope to fund a improvements to the intensive care unit and that project will be decided upon completion of the campaign.

Rower: Linda Emilsen Country: Norway Boat Design: TBC Charity: Mausund Feltstasjon Social Media:

The national flag of Norway

In April 2019 I discovered that there is such a thing as rowing across oceans and this is a thing people do. “I want to do that too”, I thought completely mezmerised, and soon after I decided to enter TWAC 2022 to row across the Atlantic alone. Ever since deciding to row an ocean, both I and others have asked «Why row an ocean and why do it alone?». My best answer to date is “Why not?” I have search both my own mind, the internet, asked other ocean rowers and so on, but I haven`t been able to find a single reason for not doing it myself. So, then I`ll do it, and I can hardly wait! And it`s about time, because no other Norwegian woman has rowed solo across any world ocean yet. I will be the first. Rowing an ocean means I will acquire skills and gain insights into how to cope with both extreme mental and physical hardship, seamanship and navigation, and getting to know myself better, gaining confidence in myself as an adventerous seawoman. The main reason for doing it is still just to get the opportunity to be at sea in such a silent and non-pollution vessel as a rowing boat is, getting as close to the sea as possible, learning about the sea from the sea. How can I say no to that? My passion for the ocean drives me to take on this adventure, but it also makes me want to do something more with my row. Therefore I`m taking this opportunity to also raise awareness of how marine environments are threatened today by the way we are polluting the ocean. One essential part of this is my collaboration with Mausund feltstasjon. They are a local institution on the coast of Norway working in many ways to clean up the marine garbage threatening the marine life here. They collect enormous amounts of garbage, do research on the garbage, and they help spread knowledge about the garbage and what we can do about the situation to young people. I am very humble to be associated with them. During my crossing I will aim to observe and register any garbage I come across, for Mausund feltstasjon to analyse, and I will passionatly row for the ocean. The journey has already started.

Rower: Bernie Hollywood OBE Country: UK Boat Design: R10 Charity: #boatofhope Campaign (on Behalf of Samaritans & Love Rowing) Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Bernie hollywood OBE to row solo across atlantic to support young people’s mental health parentpay backs Bernie Hollywood as he seeks to raise £1m for samaritans and love rowing Bernie Hollywood OBE, charity guru and adventurer, is to undertake a solo row across the atlantic ocean, it has today been announced, in support of samaritans’ vital work in tackling the mental health issues faced specifically by young people. The ‘boat of hope’ campaign is being backed by parentpay group, europe’s leading provider of cashless payment and parental engagement systems for schools, and aims to raise a total of £1 million jointly supporting the mental health charity samaritans and love rowing, the british rowing charitable foundation. Well-known for his intrepid charity projects, bernie’s latest expedition, the talisker whisky atlantic challenge, will see the 63-year-old embark on a 60-to-90-day solo voyage across the atlantic in 2022, in a rannoch adventure r10 solo ocean rowing boat measuring just 6m by 1.5m. The boat of hope campaign is devised as a collaborative fundraising effort, with various parties lending their expertise and support pro bono. In addition to the contribution from parentpay, artist justin eagleton, will be designing a mural comprising a series of images that encapsulate the spirit of the campaign, and that will be transposed onto the exterior of bernie’s boat. The design will also incorporate entries from a national competition where young people will be invited to submit representations of what they believe ‘hope’ looks like. In addition, children’s author natalie reeves billing will be creating a bespoke picture book and animation inspired by bernie’s incredible journey on his boat, whilst musician and composer ben hughes will be composing a unique theme tune for the boat of hope. Although bernie will set sail in december 2022, the boat of hope campaign will be kicking off in september this year, with the launch of the newly built boat at the houses of lords. Bernie will then head to his home city of liverpool where the boat will be officially named and the campaign to raise awareness of, and much needed funds for young people’s mental health issues will begin in earnest. Commenting on the fundraising challenge, bernie said: “though I’ve always been someone who enjoys pushing my body to its physical limits, what motivates me to persevere when the going gets tough is knowing that my efforts are aiding others. Rowing the atlantic ocean solo has always been an ambition of mine since the first time I sailed with my late father, so being able to fulfil this personal goal while supporting charities whose causes are so close to my heart really is a dream come true.” parentpay director, clint wilson, added: “the unsettling events of the last year have only served to underscore how vital it is to nurture your mental health – something that’s just as important for young people as it is for adults. As an organisation whose core mission is rooted in supporting families, we are delighted to be able to play a part in this inspiring challenge, the funds raised from which we know will make such a huge difference to the lives of many young people in the uk.” love rowing chair and olympian cath bishop commented: “we are delighted to have been chosen as a beneficiary of the boat of hope campaign. The funds raised will enable us to deliver life changing, inclusive rowing programmes across the uk. Bernie is an inspiration and we share his commitment to supporting the positive mental health of young people”. Samaritans ceo, julie bentley said: “we are delighted that bernie has chosen to support the vital work of samaritans with his fantastic and hugely ambitious rowing challenge. There are many parallels with bernie’s challenge and what young people have endured throughout the pandemic – his resilience will be tested, there may be struggles in adversity and he will need to overcome the challenges of loneliness and isolation. Samaritans believes in hope and recovery and bernie’s challenge and his boat encapsulates this. We wish him all the best in achieving his goal.” plans are also underway to create a documentary film detailing bernie’s gruelling two-year physical and mental endurance training programme. Bernie hollywood charity guru extraordinaire, over the past 39 years bernie has raised £42 million pounds for uk and overseas charities. He is a world record-holder running the longest distance in 7 days and has received countless awards for his philanthropy over the last two decades, including the president’s certificate of appreciation from hrh the duchess of cornwall in recognition of his work with barnardo’s and the honours award for the millions raised for local charities in his hometown of liverpool. https://www.Berniehollywood.Com/

Rower: Lara Vafiadis Country: UK Boat Design: R10 Charity: Plan UK Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Since being involved with a team who competed in the race a few years ago.. the idea of rowing the atlantic has always been at the back of my mind. I have always had an innate sense of adventure, gaining my yachtmaster at 21 and subsequently sailing the atlantic. Rowing the atlantic is the next logical step… ! Since 1937, Plan International has been promoting the rights of children around the world. They work with their partners in more than 45 countries, making sure children in some of the poorest communities are safe, and protected from violence. They provide access to essential services including education, healthcare, clean water and toilets. They are there when disasters happen, providing emergency relief and supporting communities to recover, rebuild and develop their resilience. Through their “Because I am a Girl” campaign, they are also dedicated to improving girls’ lives globally – including right here in the UK. By working with young people, they are challenging gender inequality, campaigning against harmful practices like child marriage and enabling girls everywhere to build a better future. Because I want to live in a world where every child, especially every girl, knows their value – and the communities they’re growing up in – and the world around them -values them too.

Rower: Jamie Carr Country: Ireland Boat Design: R25 Charity: Cancer Fund for Children (IRE) and City in the Community (UK) Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

The Nothing Ventured campaign is a solo and unsupported endeavour, comprising of physical and mental challenges in two of mother nature’s most testing environments. I created the Nothing Ventured campaign to raise much needed funds for children’s charities in the UK and Ireland, while attempting to fulfil my lifelong dreams. The two charities I will be supporting are Cancer Fund for Children (Ireland) and City in The Community (UK).

Alongside rowing the Atlantic Ocean, In the same year I will be attempting The Marathon Des Sables (MDS). This is a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ run in six days over a course of approximately 156 miles (250km). This gruelling multi-stage race takes place in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara Desert.

This will be the adventure of a lifetime!

Rower: Miriam Payne Country: UK Boat Design: Coming Soon! Charity: Mind & Wellbeing of Women Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Why? Well, why not? I am sure that most people could think of a thousand and one reasons not to take on ‘The World’s Toughest Row’. And granted 3000 miles of blisters, salt sores and ration packed food doesn’t exactly scream ‘festive Christmas getaway’. However, I could not find a single reason as to why I didn’t want to take part.

I have chosen to fundraise for Wellbeing of Women and Mind. I am inspired by Mind’s mission to bring people together through social initiatives and sport. Nobody should go it alone, be that a difficult time in your life or rowing an ocean. Wellbeing of Women are dedicated to improving the health of women and babies through pioneering medical research. Included in their research is gynaecological cancers like ovarian cancer, to which we have lost loved ones. Women’s health is typically underfunded, and through my campaign, I hope to raise awareness of this problem and just how crucial research in this area is.

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Craig Sadler and Stu Vince Country: UK Boat Design: Adkin Pair Charity: Solent Mind and the Firefighters Charity Social Media: mindsmatter

world's toughest yacht race

Craig and Stu have both had to overcome some form of mental health problems during their working life. Through the tragic loss of colleagues, the regular pressures of making life and death decisions and attending dangerous incidents on a daily basis, the Minds Matter concept was born.

Through Minds Matter, Craig and Stu support mental health awareness, regularly holding mental health workshops and fundraising for charities. Supported by  toob , their biggest fundraising challenge has begun, with the pair preparing to row across the Atlantic Ocean in December 2022 to raise money, with a target of £50,000, for Solent Mind and the Fire Fighters Charity whilst raising awareness of mental health.

Rower: Gowyn Jones & Jacob Boston Country: New Zealand Boat Design: Actinidia Deliciosa Charity: Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs & Parkinson’s UK Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

The murmurs grew into whispers, the whispers to rumbles, the rumbles to brave words and finally, brave words into a sign up email. Nervous and excited looks were exchanged before pressing the ‘ENTER’ key of no return. That’s it – we’re going to do it. And just like that the world for kiwifruits Gowyn and Jacob had changed and they were embarking across the Atlantic. In a row boat…. And of course, those brave words? In their place – whimpers.

Team Strengths: Nutritional Content: Two kiwifruits – extremely high vitamin C. RATING: SCURVY-PROOF

Stubbornness: Known to trot around mountains and through deserts for extended periods of time. RATING: EXCEPTIONAL

Resiliency: Haircuts and shaving completely optional for at least one. RATING: SCRUFFY

Team Weaknesses: Communication: Gruff, taciturn kiwi personalities. What conversation? RATING: SHUT UP AND ROW

Organisation: Being frank, they couldn’t organise a wave in an ocean. RATING: UNLIKELY

Rowing Experience: both are the progeny of Olympic rowing parents and were born on a row boat. Raised at sea these two lads didn’t set foot on land until the age of seventeen. Yeah right! RATING: IDIOT

Rower: Lisa Roland and Nini Champion Country: Canada, USA Boat Design: R25 Charity: Maritime Education Grant for Youth in Foster Care Social Media:


Lisa Roland and Nini Champion are a North American pairs team who, having separately found their way into the yachting industry, were both in Antigua when they were first introduced to the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. It also just happens to be where they first met, and fate would have it that in a familiar scene at Skullduggeries, they sat down with one another and agreed to take on the challenge themselves.

Nini had always wanted to adventure, and live beyond what felt to be the confinements of her hometown. Working in the yachting industry appeared to reveal only fractions of what the world has to offer, but led to an awakening of self-discovery. Breaking beyond familiar boundaries led to a sensation of fulfilment, and presented experiences she had always dreamed of, as well as a drive to challenge herself further.

Lisa is Canadian born, but is now a citizen of the world, working as a yacht captain. She lives a life at sea, and relishes in the triumphs and tribulations of this lifestyle. She is passionate about her work with at risk youth, and inspiring the next generation of change makers. She was raised primarily in the foster care system, experiencing the struggles faced by children in this environment

It is for this reason that we have chosen to donate proceeds to The HomeBridge Youth Society. Based in Halifax, Canada, this organization provides tailored educational programs, arts and recreation, counselling and support, and are truly changing lives for at risk youth. All of the campaign proceeds will go towards a grant to fund youth aging out of the foster care system to pursue careers in the maritime sector.

Rower: Rosie Arnel & Angela Lawrence Country: Australia Boat Design: R15 Charity: The McGrath Foundation Social Media:

Flag of Australia

Two Girls a Boat and an Ocean –

Two girls from regional Australia rowing a boat! Some say that’s crazy. We say, why not!

Ange and Rosie are both adventurous spirits having spent their years dabbling in a variety of sports: kayaking, triathlons; trail running; swimming and riding, they want to try a challenge outside of their comfort zone. TWAC has been a challenge Rosie has been dreaming of completing since 2018. With ups and downs she knew this was one challenge she would have to work hard for to make sure she reaches the start line. They met in 2020 and soon realized they both have the same love of sport and experiencing new things as each other. During a coffee catch up the unexpecting Ange had no idea her future would soon change.

But a Dream will be raising awareness and funds for The McGrath Foundation . A foundation close to Rosie’s heart, having suffered breast cancer herself 7 years ago during her last pregnancy.  The McGrath Foundation supports breast cancer patients and families by providing a Breast Care Nurse from diagnosis through to treatment. An invaluable service which should be available to everyone suffering from breast cancer.

In addition to raising funds for their charities, Ange and Rosie want to build awareness and encourage younger generations of the possibilities available. And to inspire others to believe in themselves, see their true potential and dream big!

Rower: Nina & Simon Crouchman Country: UK Boat Design: R25 Charity: The Samaritans Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Having thought about wanting to compete in this race a few years ago and telling ourselves it was an impossible thing for 2 middle aged ordinary people like us to consider we find ourselves planning and prepping for the challenge in Dec 2022.A firm believer of anything is possible and anything can be overcome Nina was actually the one that was a bit hesitant on the” yes” we are going to do this but with the message in mind of “take every day as it comes or you will regret it”. The true grit this pair have will become reality. The duo will be raising funds for the Samaritans ,a great cause which provides emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. Having lost an old friend through difficult isolating lonely times during covid ,this charity is close to the couples hearts. Emotions of being alone ,no human contact, no new conversation and isolation are exactly what Nina & Simon will be going through too Whilst out in the middle of the Ocean. Both Nina & Simon are experienced rowers at their local rowing club but realize new skills will need to be learnt and practiced along this journey to enable them to complete the worlds toughest rowing race.

Rower: Simon Svendsen & Kasper Skaarup-Andersen Country: Denmark Boat Design: R25 Charity: Coolunite Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are two ordinary guys from Denmark, who want to do the extraordinary, alongside raising money to a charity. The inspiration to sign up to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge came from some YouTube clips. The clips showed tall waves, calm seas and people pushed to their limits. That where something we couldn´t shake off and taking part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge where soon a reality and we signed up. We are not special we haven’t done anything like this before. But we believe that anyone can achieve the impossible the unthinkable and make different regardless of their background. There is no worse thought than children that are diagnosed with life-threatening disease or children that are so vulnerable that they do not even have a home, where they feel safe. These are situations that for many are hard to imagine, but unfortunately the reality for many children. CoolUnite gives support to these children. Children that suffer from serious and life-threatening disease and children that are born into families, where abuse is part of their everyday life. Among others, CoolUnite cooperates with Denmarks only children’s hospice, Lukashuset. Here, children can receive palliative care, while the entire family can stay together. Often only one parent can stay with the child in hospitals, and therefore this is often the first time during the child’s illness that the family has an opportunity to be united with and around the child. Furthermore, CoolUnite has established Pausehuset in collaboration with Ønskeland. Pausehuset means the Break House, and as the name indicates it is a place where a child with a serious illness and their family can take a break from their everyday lives, hospitalization, cleaning and cooking. At CoolUnite we believe that honesty is the most important element when it comes to charity. That is why we strive to have the most transparent charitable foundation in Denmark, where everybody can follow every step of our journey. Therefore you can find stories and information on all causes we support on our website.

Rower: Charlie Layton & Ben Towill Country: UK, USA Boat Design: R25 Charity: Green Heart Project Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Two Britts, living in Charleston South Carolina, Ben and Charlie were Inspired by friends that have competed the Talisker Challenge over the years, and after years of dreaming have decided to follow in their footsteps. Having always admired people who break outside their comfort zone to accomplish a goal, Ben has held to a longstanding goal of rowing the Atlantic. Witnessing his friend, Bobby Melville’s (Founder of IGO Adventures) journey across the Atlantic and experiencing firsthand the fact that setting big goals and surmounting obstacles, can change the course of one’s life quite positively — Ben is now making his 10 year dream a reality and getting down to work. Over the course of three years since moving two Charleston SC, Charlie has whipped into the best shape he’s ever been with a longstanding goal on the horizon. Back in 2018, Charlie’s friend, Andy Grant, a chef as well, completed the challenge with the Atlantic Seamen, and planted the seed for Charlie to set his determination towards. Working closely with Ben, Charlie spoke of his goal of rowing the Atlantic and it just so happened shared the same dream. And the dreamboats were born! We have chosen two charities to support, firstly Green Heart. As chefs & restaurateurs, we believe deeply in the power of food education and shar- ing experiences around the table, a driving force behind our business as we build stronger connections with our teams and our communities. Here in Charleston, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by individuals and organizations – such as The Green Heart Project – dedicating their work to creating equal access to farm fresh foods and empowering the next generation with healthy habits. The Green Heart Project – a non-profit founded in 2009 – has established a network of Farm to School programs within Charleston, utilizing school gardens & urban farms as vehicles for teaching – connnecting students to food, health, culture & the environment. Students are connected with fresh, locally grown fruits & vegetables as they participate in the growing, harvesting and cooking processes. With hands-on, outdoor learning experiences students learn core values and practice essential so- cial-emotional learning (SEL) skills while working alongside volunteers – “Green Heart Buddies” – in the garden & kitchen classroom. Secondly 2041 A kindred sense of adventure, perserverance and environmentalism unites the Atlantic Challenge Dreamboats team, with the 2041 Foundation. The 2041 Foundation was founded by polar explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan, the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole that was the inspiration for 2041, an organization he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the polar regions. The mission of the 2041 Foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices. With an emphasis on the environment, our food systems and the social impact of Green Heart and 2041, the Dreamboats team will be dedicating all proceeds raised to the efforts of the Green Heart alongside the 2041 Foundation.

Rower: Steve Hayes & Peter Wright Country: UK Boat Design: Adkin Pair Charity: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust & Macmillan Jersey Social Media:

The Jersey Flag

TWAC has been towards the top of Steve & Pete’s bucket lists for some time but always seemed like a pipe dream. With permission granted from their wives they’ve finally taken the plunge, signed up and are now hanging on for dear life as they ride the exciting journey of Ocean rowing planning. The Jersey pair met in 2012 through their shared love of endurance events and mutual thirst for adventure. They have since gone on to compete in numerous challenges, both individually and together. These challenges include 6 day Ultramarathons in the Amazon Jungle, the Sahara Dessert, the Sub-Arctic tundra and mountains of Canada and Alaska, a channel swim, a marathon pulling a car, a Triple Ironman and countless other challenging Ultra endurance events, both in the UK and abroad. But the pair had never rowed until a couple of months after signing up for TWAC2022. They’re both looking forward to immersing themselves in the sport of Coastal rowing at Jersey Rowing Club and learning everything they can about ocean rowing. For this challenge they will be pushing themselves to their mental and physical limits with a view to finding the balance between trying to win the race and enjoying the experience to the full whilst hoping to raise much needed funds for the Durrell rewilding projects in Brazil. The first Rewild Carbon Project in the Atlantic forest of Brazil aims to restore 4,500 hectares of vital forest corridors by 2030 in an attempt to restore the populations of Black Lion Tamarinds and other primates. With less than 2 years to go and a fast clicking clock, we have a lot of planning, preparation and organization to undertake. We look forward to welcoming you on board as our partner/supporters. Join the Journey! For more information, follow our Instagram and Facebook pages. We both enjoy regular family visits to Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust at home in Jersey, and are fully supportive of their mission of “saving species from extinction”. Back in 2015 we competed in a multi-day ultramarathon in the Amazon Forest of Brazil, nominating Durrell as our chosen charity and were delighted to raise thousands in the process. We are passionate about conservation and we will continue to support Durrell by fundraising for the first Rewild carbon project in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. The project aims to restore 4,500 hectares of vital forest corridors by 2030 by planting 17,000 trees and creating sustainable livelihoods for local people and neutralizing approximately 2,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Rower: Sean Geiser & Darryl Thole Country: South Africa, UK Boat Design: LB4 Charity: Kids Cancer Foundation, Children With Cancer UK & the Cancer Society of the Bahamas Social Media:

National Flag of South Africa

We are related so the bond runs in the blood.

The endeavour to enter into the world’s most grueling rowing event was spawned by Sean having lived in Antigua since 2017, watching the yearly event finish and then, being drawn into entering the event after becoming great friends with a soloist in the 2020 campaign.

In an act of madness, after a fleeting discussion with the TWAC management, Darryl was contacted via a short WhatsApp message which was the genesis of this incredible journey.

Sean’s wife battled and beat cancer, whilst Darryl with a toddler in their life decided to dedicate the crossing to fighting children’s cancer and assisting the families needing to deal with the daily struggle and trauma that cancer can inflict.

Darryl has run marathons and Sean is all too familiar with the daily stress, strain, and pain that cancer wreaks in a person’s life.  What better way to raise awareness and help with donations to the charities we have chosen, than to row across the Atlantic?  Well, some may say it is madness, and indeed it may be, but we felt it was the most fitting way to raise awareness and funds by challenging our minds, bodies, and souls in the most arduous conditions the ocean can throw at us.

It is with guts, grit, determination, a lot of pain and hopefully still a bond between us that we will pursue this epic challenge, crossing 3,000 miles of ocean unassisted!

Rower: Ian Yates & Dan Wise Country: UK Boat Design: R25 Charity: Ocean Generation, Cleanwave, Fundación JoyRon Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are Team Roaring 40s: two mates from Mallorca, both forty years old (more or less), and we’ll be rowing across the Atlantic in 2022 as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Our focus is to win the pairs division, and we hope that our journey will inspire others to take on their own challenges.

And We couldn’t feel more strongly that the our seas are in dire straits and need every scrap of attention possible. We want to help Ocean Generation in their pledge to tackle the threats to the world’s oceans, we want to help Cleavewave reduce the Balearic Islands’ reliance on plastic bottles, and (keeping things close to home) we want to give local support to Fundación JoyRon as they help children who experience all kinds of difficulties every day in Mallorca.

Rower: David Turkington & Jamie Hancox Country: UK Boat Design: R25 Charity: TBC Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Jamie and David are the jack-of-all, master-of-none sort when it comes to the outdoors. Riding, climbing, paddling, skiing or hiking—everything has its own appeal. All that matters are the effort and the solitude. They both enjoy a good challenge and will say “yes” to anything that puts them in over their head.

They have been partners in business for over 10 years. During this time they’ve gotten to know each other pretty well and learned that they both share a never give up attitude and a competitive mindset. It was in those early days of business while following the 2011 edition that they were inspired to take on this epic challenge. It took a further 10 years for them to finally take the plunge and sign up.

Our friendship has always been dotted with fantastic challenges; Marathons, Triathlons, Ultras. Both of us would go above and beyond to support each other when it matters and are excited to see how it translates into rowing an ocean. With no rowing or ocean experience between us, it will certainly be our toughest test yet.

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Felix Ambrose, Finn Ambrose & Louis Ambrose Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Tusk Trust Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

As a team, we have found it almost impossible to identify a single motivation as to why we have committed to ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, instead we feel that we are driven by a handful of factors. We are three brothers who share an affinity for the outdoors and we see this as the perfect test. In 2003, we were exposed to the enormity of this challenge as our father completed the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race as part of a pair. Hearing stories about the endeavour, witnessing firsthand the toll it took and experiencing the atmosphere at the finish line has done little to quell our curiosity. Rather than merely sowing a seed in our minds that we might one day embark on a similar journey, it cemented the plan and fabricated an absolute objective for us to follow in those footsteps. In fact, as children, we were so confident that we would not only take on the challenge but also surpass our father’s time of 59 days, that we made a bet with him! As we will be a team of three, and with the boat and much of the equipment having improved, we have normalised these factors to reach a new time to beat – 40 days. The stakes are yet to be finalised, but vary dramatically between the original bet of £5 and having to turn around and row back when we reach Antigua!

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has not only created a huge challenge for conservation, but has highlighted how connected we are to the natural world, and illustrated just how delicate that web is. From the oceans we sail on, through the habitats that provide the air we breathe, to the estimated 10 million plant and animal species that share our planet, there has never been a more crucial time to fight for the protection of all life on earth. In Africa, one of the most biodiverse areas on our planet, the relentless impact of the pandemic threatens to undo decades of conservation progress. The collapse in tourism and economies has seriously affected rural livelihoods and conservation efforts. Large scale redundancies of wildlife rangers, community liaison teams and other project staff have led to reports of an upsurge in illegal bushmeat hunting, and fears of an imminently approaching international poaching crisis.

Rower: Gareth Keighley, Charles Taylor & Aaron Kneebone Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Youngminds Social Media: DarkTri0

world's toughest yacht race

Team Dark Trio, we are three friends in our 30s with a passion for adventure. Team Dark trio has harboured ambitions of crossing the Atlantic for nearly 12 years. Our adventurous spirit and aspirations to complete challenges has lured us to enter the race. We will utilise the platform to raise money for our chosen charity as we believe it is equally important to give back, help and potentially encourage others who are not as fortunate in life to have the time, the physical health and means to complete a challenge such as this. We will look forward to being alongside other adventureres on their own journey.

Rower: Marie Adserballe, Camilla Tvernø & Anne-Marie Feilberg Country: Denmark Boat Design: R45 Charity: Social Media:

A picture of team Rowmodels, a ladies four from TWAC 2022

Why would you put yourself in a boat and row across the Atlantic Ocean? Basically, it is a feeling but essentially it is about setting goals, the team, and your mind to accomplish an experience of a lifetime.

We are all someone’s role model and with this adventure we want to show the importance of following your dreams and taking the challenge – setting yourself up for something bigger and doing it.

Rower: Mark Pfetzer, Jarrod Slindee & Michael Hogue Country: USA Boat Design: R45 Charity: Guardian Initiatives Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Each and every one of us are served by first responders in our communities. These men and women voluntarily enter in to a profession that we all know to be dangerous. Gunfire, ambushes, fires, search and rescue missions, and emergency driving are all dangers of the job that the general public hear about and can understand. However, lurking in the shadows of these high-profile dangers is a lesser known, but just as deadly risk. The psychological traumas experienced by our nation’s police, fire, EMS, and 911 dispatchers can lead some down a destructive and all too often deadly path. The consequence of seeing tragedy on a regular basis can contribute to depression, substance abuse, and other effects of post-traumatic stress. Tragically, for some, a false sense of hopelessness results in suicidal behavior. The number of first responders who die by suicide is alarming and heart-breaking. More powerful than the problem is the reality that the effects can be prevented and the damage treated. Through awareness, training, and treatment by culturally competent clinicians, first responders affected can move on to live full and satisfying lives. It is the hope of Team Guardian, through this initiative, to make as big of an impact in this as possible. While this challenge will be the biggest we have ever faced, it’s nothing compared to the challenge many of our local heroes face every day! So, why row the Atlantic? Simple – we’re raising money and awareness for our fellow first responders. The First Responder Support Network (FRSN) is a nonprofit offering treatment and education to promote recovery from stress and critical incidents experienced by first responders and their families. FRSN hosts The West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat, a six-day residential treatment as well as the Significant Others and Spouses, a similar program for the partners of first responders who have been affected by critical incidents experienced by their loved ones. In addition to First Responder Support Network, Team Guardian will be working with multiple other charities who are making a positive impact in first responder wellness and suicide prevention.

Rower: Matt Garman, Neil Furminger and Steve Woolley Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Wolo Foundation and Prostate Cancer UK Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We’re a team of 3 Dads seeking to inspire and show people that life begins at 40 (or even 50!!). Some of our friends and family think we’re having a mid-life crisis by investing in an ocean rowing boat instead of other ‘boy’s toys’. We’re out to show the world that at our age, there’s more to life than pipes and slippers, and a ‘middle aged spread’ is not mandatory. Between us we’ve competed at CrossFit games, climbed mountains, finished Ironman events and competed at endurance swimming events. We’ll be raising money for 2 charities very close to our hearts: Wolo Foundation in Sussex, England that helps support families affected by cancer, and Prostate Cancer UK, raising awareness for a disease that affects so many men of our age.

Rower: Gemma Best, Kevin Watkins & Adam Siggs Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Action Medical Research for Children Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

As a mixed team of four, we have mixed reasons for wanting to do the row. Gemma, our seasoned Ocean Rower completed TWAC ’20 in a team of four. She’s seeking to set a record for the first woman to row the TWAC twice. There is competition though for this record in 2022 – it’s going to make things interesting. Kevin sadly had to pull out of TWAC’21 due to family commitments, but he’s now 100% committed to 2022. He’s the teams’ Royal Navy Veteran and his engineering skills will no doubt come to the fore during the crossing.  In all honesty, the team assembled through chance, you might say fate brought them together, but they’re under no illusion that grit, determination, compassion and chutzpah will see them and the boat ready and signed off at La Gomera – Raring to Row. Across the UK, thousands of families are dealing with the devastating fact that their child has a rare disease for which there is no cure. Research into rare diseases in childhood is woefully unfunded leaving families without any hope. This is beyond comprehension. Action Medical Research actively fund research into rare disease in childhood. The team are Raring to Row to give genuine hope to children and families affected by rare diseases and where hope so sadly has been lost, a lasting legacy.

Rower: Laura-Jayne Pattinson, Francesca Tuck, Millie Frith Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: The Brain Tumour Charity Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

It’s hard to explain the ‘why’. It’s usually the first thing people ask and still we don’t know. It’s not something that we’ve found the words to explain – it’s more of a feeling, a need or a desire to do something that not many have done before, to test ourselves beyond what we might perceive we’re capable of. In doing so, in taking such big steps outside of our comfort zones, to take on an ocean, we hope to learn something about ourselves and bring back something incredible to our lives and to those around us. This team have rowing in their blood, a sport we all found as young people, at a time when you should be able to look forward to the future. Through all too personal connections this team know that brain tumours can limit that future. They know that brain tumours do not discriminate – they can afflict the very young to the very old and for some of us this meant seeing our twenty-something year old friends suffer through some of the hardest of times. This charity is small but the work they do is unquestionably huge. We’d like to support their integral work with the vision of doubling the survival rate by 2025 so that more young people get a second chance at their life. So for us, who we should row 3000 miles across an ocean for really was a no-brainer!

Rower: Simon Lemon, Steve Dredge and Matt Inglsby Country: UK Boat Design: Rossiter Ocean 2 Charity: Rock 2 Recovery & Chestnut Appeal for Mens Health Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Introducing Team Status Code 14!

We are a small group of friends, Two serving Police Officers, a retired Police Officer and a Commercial Diver, who have similar goals, ethos and a love of adventure. We have come together to complete a number of significant physical challenges to raise funds and awareness of two charities which are close to our hearts.

We will be Swimming the English Channel, rowing the Atlantic Ocean, Running an Ultra Marathon across the Namibian Desert and Climbing and Flying from Mont Blanc on paragliders.

Have you ever had to make an emergency call for help? If you have, you will have been assisted by one of the many calm and courageous police officers, paramedics, fire officers and staff who dedicate their lives to keeping others safe.

Status Code 14 is a UK Police radio request call used when the sender requires an urgent call-back, help or assistance.

But what about the staff behind those emergency calls? They are routinely exposed to distressing and traumatic incidents, alongside demanding workload pressures. Stress and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is now well recognised within the military community, but the Police, Ambulance and Fire Services are increasingly falling further behind. Who is there to help them?

Team Status Code 14 want to enable those who ‘press the button’ to get the help they need both with PTSD, anxiety and depression in the short and long term. Funds raised from our challenges will go to our first chosen charity, Rock2Recovery, who support and treat those suffering with PTSD, and those individuals who may not be able to access the support they need through what’s offered by the emergency services.

Our second Charity is, The Chestnut Appeal for Men’s Health. When it comes to men’s cancer, most men don’t know what’s normal and what’s abnormal – and are afraid to ask.

This has got to change. Prostate, penile and testicular cancer can be checked and successfully treated – but checking needs to become a habit and talking about it and educating men is paramount. Team Status Code 14 want to raise awareness of men’s cancer and that a regular check could potentially save a life.

Rower: Toby Gregory, James Raley & Rai Tamagnini Country: UAE, UK & P Boat Design: R45 Charity: UNEP Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team is a three-man squad, consisting of Toby Gregory, James Raley, and Rai Tamagnini. The three are neighbours in the UAE and plan to become the first team from the Emirates to ever successfully row across the Atlantic.

While challenging themselves mentally and physically, Rai, Toby, and James will also be taking the opportunity to raise awareness about environmental sustainability, reducing marine litter, and protecting the oceans. The team has partnered with the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Clean Seas campaign and the expedition will also attempt to highlight the issues caused by plastic pollution, which is a global problem.

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Olly Collins, Louis Cruysmans, Henry Putt, Will Hole Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: The Oli Hilsdon Foundation / Mind Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Atlantic Endeavoar are four friends brought together by a shared belief that ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary. We want to put that belief to the test by completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Through taking on this challenge we want to raise awareness and funds for two amazing charities: The Oli Hilsdon Foundation and Mind.

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation was setup in loving memory of a close friend of the team who sadly passed away from Glioblastoma Multiforme, a malignant Grade IV brain tumour, just days before his 27th birthday. The foundation was established to raise awareness and fund research projects that advance its goal of extending and ultimately saving the lives of those diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme.

Atlantic Endeavoar are committed to supporting Mind in their aim to ensure everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect. Whether personally, or through friends and family, we have all seen the suffering that can be experienced through poor mental health. The additional pressures experienced by all of us during the Covid-19 pandemic have only emphasised the importance of mental wellbeing and the need in society for the support that Mind provides

Our original motivation was wanting to complete an expedition which would well and truly push our physical and mental boundaries in a way they had not been tested before. However, the hectic nature of student life meant the row got pushed down our list of priorities. That was until a pair of tragic incidents in recent years – two friends unexpectedly took their own lives. This provided the impetus to seriously commit to the row and to raise money for MIND. The desire to honour their memory will be with us for every oar stroke across the Atlantic. It is also worth noting sibling rivalry as an important motivation behind the row! From 2017 to 2018, two school friends, Joe and Ross, tragically and unexpectedly took their own lives. Both possessed enormous, vivacious personalities which still burn brightly in the lives of their families and friends. Joe and Ross were both intelligent, confident, outgoing, devilishly good looking, and surrounded by loyal and loving friends. Nevertheless, they were afflicted by the horrific problem of mental health issues. Their experiences highlight the fact that even lives filled with love, laughter and success are not safe. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for under-35s in the UK and it is estimated that 1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue every year. We are proud to do our little bit to help fight mental health problems by completing this row. The desire to honour the memories of Joe and Ross will be with us for every oar stroke across the Atlantic Ocean. We are thrilled to have both of their families supporting our fundraising efforts for MIND.

Rower: Classified Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and the Submariner Memorial Appeal Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are Royal Navy Submariners; having taken part in the 2019 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge we found our culture as submariners really harmonised with the extreme environment of “the World’s Toughest Row”, whether it was knowing everything there is to know about our boat, looking out for our crew mates, managing watch systems all while contending with sleep deprivation and dealing with the emotions of leaving our loved ones. Fortunately, one of the greatest strengths of the Submariner is being able to maintain a sense of humour in some of the very worst conditions. This humour really is a cornerstone to our ethos; when the sea going vessel you choose to call home for upwards of 3 months at a time chooses to sink, remaining positive and being able to laugh really is essential. HMS Oardacious are back to showcase our professionalism and adaptability as Submariners, pushing ourselves both physically and mentally. Our bodies and minds will again be tempered by the sheer vastness of the Atlantic Ocean; Neptune will again throw his fury upon our little craft and he will be met by Submariners, laughing back at him! Having previously fundraised over £100,000 in support of Mental Health initiatives, we continue to build on our legacy working with our service charity RNRMC, to provide Mental Health and Wellbeing support to our community: serving submariners, veterans and their families through life. Heritage and remembrance are also significant parts of our ethos, recognising all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country; we are therefore proud to also be supporting the Submariner Memorial Appeal to create a fitting memorial to submariners who lost their lives in the service and to the sacrifice of their families.

Rower: Hollie Luff, Mike Hatch, Rachel Lasham & Elliot Holman Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: The University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation to Revolutionise Plastic Use Social Media:

In our Element Logo

In Our Element are joining forces with The University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation. We aim to raise awareness and funds for its pioneering research programme which could evolutionise plastic use and help reduce the scourge of ocean plastic pollution.  The University of Portsmouth’s team is developing enzymes that can break down man made plastic materials, returning them back to their original building blocks and providing the potential for infinite plastics recycling

Rower: Dan Buckley, James Bailey, Eugene Mohan & Frank Mohan Country: Ireland Boat Design: R45 Charity: RNLI & Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are two teams of friends who are always setting challenges where we can compete with each other in all-out battle for bragging rights. The Atlantic Ocean is a little more extreme than we are used to but we can’t wait to race across the ocean to settle the score for good!

Rower: Max Lawrence, William Botes, James Tate & Roland Walker Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: The Scots Guards Charity Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are all current serving members of the Scots Guards, both Officers and soldiers. Having previously completed the 2019 Challenge, Atlantic Guardsmen is back with a fresh crew, eager to rule the waves and experience possibly the hardest way to enjoy a holiday in Antigua. Whilst not experienced Ocean rowers, as Scots Guardsmen we are no stranger to many of the challenges rowing the Atlantic will throw at us: austere living conditions, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion and the joys of eating rations are all in a days work for infantry soldiers. We relish the challenge of pushing ourselves physically and mentally, however there is a much greater purpose to Atlantic Guardsmen. Our passion to support serving and veteran soldiers is the primary motivator for entering the race, and at the very heart of our drive and determination to raise sponsorship and awareness for our service charity – the Scots Guards Charity. Our Charity has a vision that all soldiers, veterans and their families should have the opportunity to avoid hardship and enjoy independence with dignity. It provides immediate, critical and often life-changing support to those in need and their families, serving or retired.

Rower: Tatiana Baltensperger, Selina Vogt-Rūtti,  Levin Baltensperger & Claudio Prante Country: Switzerland & Germany Boat Design: DOR34 Charity: Fondation Les Perce-Neige Social Media:

The Swiss national flag

Hailing from the landlocked nation of Switzerland, the spirit of the Ocean came calling down the river Rhine into its many lakes and rivers. This spirited team of water afficionados are all well versed in the kingdom of the sea. From scuba diving the seven seas to riding the waves during kitesurfing expeditions, these water fanatics have answered the call to live this adventure of a lifetime. Under the stewardship of Tati, who completed the challenge in 2019, they are fighting for the cause of the Perce-Neige Foundation. An association that helps people with disabilities gain their independence through professional and personal development initiatives. The team comprises of Levin, the Strong spirit, with Thor like complexion, will be sure to keep Loki at bay during the journey. Selina, the Action spirit, never hesitates to dive courageously headfirst into a new challenge. Bringing her wisdom and experience to the team, Tati, the Master spirit, will be the team’s compass and help it navigate the various obstacles that Poseidon will put in its path. Claudio is like a climber who can endure and enjoys the challenge of overcoming challenges, yet does not forget to enjoy the view once he is on top. Claudio, with his Party Spirit, sees life as one big celebration.

Rower: Edward Ogden, Oliver Browne, James Peet & Jos Pape Country: UK & The Netherlands Boat Design: R45 Charity: Starlight Social Media:

The Dutch national flag

We are Team This Way Up – four endurance athletes who can’t resist a challenge.  Everyone brings something different to the team – Oliver is an ex professional sportsman who leads treks and expeditions, Ed is a fitness racer, James a high performing triathlete and Jos is both an endurance cyclist and rower.

So, rowing the Atlantic seemed like the next logical step for all of us – an extreme mental and physical challenge – and what binds us together is that we want to row fast.

We’ve committed to be the fittest team on the start line and are training hard, at home and out of our team base at Poole Harbour.  We are also working with The University of Kent, taking part in their training research project, feeding back into sports performance improvement.

We are equally ambitious to use this personal challenge for good, so we will be aiming to raise £250,00 for Starlight UK, who use the power of play to make the experience of illness and treatment better for children and their families.  With young children ourselves, we understand how important play is in a child’s life and we will be so proud to fund their important work.

Rower: Jean-Claude Vacassin, Jack Fleckney, Daniel Vacassin & Mike Keith Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Calm Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We chose the TWAC for two reasons. One, its a bucket-list line for all of us, something that we have talked, laughed, joked, and threatened to do, many-a-time. It also represents both a physical and mental challenge, something that we all wanted to embrace. So, here we are. Daft sods that we are.

We want to open the conversation about mental health, particularly amongst men. We are all fathers, brothers, team-mates, colleagues and friends, with those who need support at times. Us too – we’ve all been there. And we want to help promote this in a way that feels natural, ‘over a pint’, rather than medicalised and taboo. CALM are championing this and doing amazing work to support those who need it.

Rower: Joaquim Planells, Martí Ramírez, Sergi Franch & Juanba Romero Country: Spain Boat Design: R45 Charity: Surfrider Foundation Europe Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Bring together four rowing lovers, each one with their pluses and minuses, working together to carry out this wonderful project, which of course, will change our lives and the way we understand it. The ocean has given us great moments in our lives, many hours of rowing, good company and wonderful landscapes. Despite this, we have seen how the quality of the water was getting worse, finding large pieces of plastic floating in the water. Our interest goes beyond raising money for the charity, as we actively collaborate with them and the University of Barcelona to carry out scientific microplastics sampling. We do these samplings regularly in the Mediterranean and we will also do them in our crossing of the Atlantic!

Rower: Jack Friend, Hamish Friend, Arthur Friend, Euan Friend Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Drive Forward Foundation, Kiwoko Hospital, Uganda & CHAT Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are the “Friend” brothers, two sets of twins only 18 months apart in age. Our aim is to become the first four brothers to row any ocean. Growing up together in the green hills of Devon, adventure has come naturally, as has the competitive need to push each other further, faster, and higher. Now older and following different career and personal paths, this challenge is our opportunity to restrengthen the bonds of brotherhood and raise money and awareness for causes close to our hearts.

Rower: Brian Nicholson, James Hein, Brian Chontosh & Chriss Smith Country: USA Boat Design: R45 Charity: Big Fish Foundation Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Coming Soon!

Rower: Ilja Kok, Marcel Ates, Ingeborg Dijkstra & Guus Koppes Country: Netherlands Boat Design: R45 Charity: The Ocean Cleanup Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Wind, water and wide-open spaces have continuously shaped The Netherlands and its history. To its Dutch inhabitants, water has always been both friend and foe. As a mixed team of 4 Dutch rowers we – team BOKA NEDurance – are eager to further explore these elements by participating in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 2022. Confidence, humor and endurance embody the essence of our team, and it’s this spirit that will lead us to set off in December 2022.

By crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat, we will be raising funds for The Ocean CleanUp. Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the oceans, of which the majority spills out from rivers. A portion of this plastic travels to ocean garbage patches, getting caught in a vortex of circulating currents. If no action is taken, the plastic will increasingly impact our ecosystems, health, and economies. The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization, is developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Their aim is to put themselves out of business once the oceans are clean.

We strongly believe in our capabilities to contribute to the completion of one of the most ambitious engineering projects of this generation. Therefore, our aim is to help the hardworking team from The Ocean CleanUp to make our planet a better place to live.

Ingeborg Dijkstra – Marcel Ates – Guus Koppes – Ilja Kok

Rower: Garreth Murrell, Jason Watkin, Chris Harvey & Phil Kite Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: Veterans at Ease & Veterans Adventure Experiences Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Team Emotive has entered the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 22 in a bid to raise vital funds for the charity Veterans At Ease which all the rowers are beneficiaries of or have had their lives changed because of their involvement with the charity. Our secondary mission is to show the world that you can come from a place of poor mental health including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, PTSD and addiction to do things that are truly amazing and beyond what we think is possible.

Rower: Chad Miller, Nicholas Rahn, Tommy Hester, and Will Janssen Country: USA Boat Design: Spindrift Charity: Fight Oar Die Social Media:

Fight Oar Die

Rower: Rufus Mitchell-Heggs, Simen Sandtorv Hansen, Sindre Toft Nordal & Thor-Martin Sandtorv Country: UK, Norway Boat Design: R45 Charity: Engineers Without Borders Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

We are a team of engineers from the UK and Norway with a collective fire for adventure. Each Enginoar is equipped with endurance, competitiveness, teamwork and leadership that has been developed over lives of sailing oceans, international kayak racing, summiting mountains and endurance cycling. As engineers, we are navigators and problem solvers, we explore brains, oceans and solutions to sustainability. These skills define us and will be tested on our journey across the Atlantic. We wanted to partner this great adventure with a great cause. As young engineers, we are constantly reminded that we are inheriting a dying world and that nothing is more urgent than securing its future. Over the next two years, we aim to raise £100,000 for Engineers without Borders UK & Norway and to inspire students and professionals to join us on a journey that will far exceed rowing an ocean

Rower: Daisy Lucker, Aileen McCann, Jessica Rowe & Corrine Amos Country: UK Boat Design: R45 Charity: World Vision – Ukraine, Maggies Cancer Care, Campaign Against Living Miserably and Great Ormond Street Hospital Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Three English girls and one Irish girl walk into a bar, several Guinnesses later and in no time at all four girls had committed to starting a campaign 150 days before departure with 130k to raise.

With Tracy Edwards helping to steer the ship, the team were filled with excitement. What a privilege to have the first female to skipper and navigate an all female team in the Whitbread round the world yacht race to help set the waypoints in this huge challenge.

Four charities were chosen; World Vision – Ukraine, Maggies Cancer Care, Campaign Against Living Miserably and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 1 iPhone overboard

5 Dehydrated meals chucked up

12 All nighters

18 Dolphins seen

22 Tony Chocoloney bars eaten

28 Evenings in the yard

40 Gruelling workouts provided by Gus Barton

150 hours on the water

 … And they were off to a cracking start. In the words of Cafe Rouge founder Karen Jones “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” With all of us keen to recalibrate the compass of our day to day life, we’ve taken on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

 It’s safe to say that we are in the hands of the elements with this one, but ready to put some power through our quads and run the engines, Full Throttle.

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Tom Nolan, Diarmuid Ó Briain, Shane Culleton, Gearoid O’Briain, Derek Mcmullen Country: Ireland Boat Design: R45 Charity: RNLI & Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice Social Media:

world's toughest yacht race

Rower: Cal MacAninch, Alec Martin, Ed van der Ven, Sean Wattens & Matthew Callis Country: Scotland Boat Design: R45 Charity: Body and Soul Social Media:

The Saltaire

Cal MacAninch has been a familiar face on British television for thirty years with shows ranging from Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge and more recently Time, Vigil and Trigger Point. Having spent a lifetime pretending to do things, he is now taking up the challenge to row the Atlantic, (that’s right, no stuntmen). It’s all getting a bit ‘real’. In saying that, he has run the Ben Nevis race, 3 marathons  and has climbed the Old Man of Hoy amongst other peaks but this is by far his greatest challenge. What’s the worst that could happen! At least if he gets taken by a shark it will do wonders for his back catalogue.

And who better to face this challenge with than four comrades from the same coastal rowing club who he has gotten to know and trust over the last five years. Experienced, talented, committed crew mates, who you can trust with your life, though not necessarily to buy the next round. A builder, a joiner, a site manager, a company director and an actor- we all live in Portobello in Edinburgh and train with and compete for Eastern Amateur Coastal Rowing Club. Our ethos as a club is simple: to create a supportive atmosphere which encourages learning, development and opportunity for all to achieve their potential; to engender a collective responsibility to care for the boat, promoting integrity on and off the water in a spirit of trust and transparency while aspiring to the success of personal/ team development and competition wins. These values we will be bringing to our Atlantic crossing together.

And we are blessed to have found the charity Body and Soul to accompany us on this journey. A charity that can transform the lives of people who have experienced childhood trauma. Including hundreds of young people each year saved from feeling suicidal, giving them reasons to live. Twenty five years of demonstrating the power of community, love, kindness and bravery. It’s never to late to heal! With so many people’s mental health battered by the raging storm of this pandemic it is fitting that Body and Soul are there to build resilience and overcome adversity: the very qualities that our crew will require on our voyage.

The truly brave ones are the ones struggling to overcome childhood trauma. By taking on this challenge of crossing the Atlantic we will be able to empower Body and Soul to continue to do their essential work with those who need it most. For them, we will never give up.

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About the author  (2012).

Brendan Hall began sailing at the age of four in his home waters off Brisbane, and was 27 years old when the 2009/10 Clipper Race began. He transformed a motley crew of 18 amateur sailors into a race-winning sailing machine, as well as battling hurricane conditions and gear failure, and rescued two other yachts in the North Pacific Ocean.

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Music Features

On 'one of wun,' gunna can't flaunt his way out of the ysl trial's shadow, the rapper slipped free from the legal mess that swallowed his label, but his new album finds him still in the grip of an image crisis.

Sheldon Pearce.

Sheldon Pearce

world's toughest yacht race

Gunna performs during the event "A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop" on Nov. 08, 2023, at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy hide caption

Gunna performs during the event "A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop" on Nov. 08, 2023, at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif.

Everything was looking up for the Atlanta rapper Gunna when he released " pushin P ," the cult hit from his 2022 album DS4Ever . His third LP to go No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in as many years seemed to establish him as a budding rap star, and "pushin P" felt like a sort of baton pass, featuring his maverick mentor Young Thug and his autotuned forebear Future . Gunna had already been installed as Thug's heir apparent, with a series of drip-themed projects teasing out a soothed style, and here his extravagant music of muted overindulgence was nearing its shining apex. Produced by Wheezy at Art Basel in Miami, the song sounds like trying to ride the Vogue-wrapped, candy-painted hydraulic whips of "Still Tippin' " through a snowstorm of Swarovski crystal. Gunna sets the purchasing power from the jump: "Pointers in the Patek and my piece, I'm pushin' P," he states matter-of-factly, eyeballing the diamonds in a bust-down Swiss timepiece. The phrase, open to interpretation, became its own slang , and Gunna opened his SNL debut performing the song with Future at his side. Listening now, it is one of the last times he really sounded like himself. By October 2022, "pushin P" was platinum, and both Gunna and Thug had been in jail for months. By last November, the song was being discussed in court .

In May 2022, Thug's record label, Young Stoner Life, which puts out Gunna's music, was classified as a gang in a RICO indictment , via the racketeering law created in the 1970s to deal with the mob and, by way of a Georgia act passed in the 1980s, more recently filed against Donald Trump. Thug was arrested as the organization's leader, and 56 counts were brought against the 28 associates charged under the indictment in the state of Georgia by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The charged included YSL rappers such as Duke and Yak Gotti, as well as characters from an extended entourage, accused of murder, attempted murder (among them a 2015 shooting of Lil Wayne's tour bus), armed robbery, drug dealing, carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft and witness intimidation. In casting the label as a "street gang" and Thug as its ringleader, the DA's office created a legal basis for detaining those associated with YSL under the pretense of building a case and preventing witness tampering, exercising one of RICO's more controversial powers. "Prosecutors often use the law to push groups of (often low-income) Black and brown defendants to turn on one another or take plea deals to avoid decades in prison," Jerry Iannelli wrote at The Appeal that month.

The charges against Young Thug build on a growing trend of criminalizing rap crews

The charges against Young Thug build on a growing trend of criminalizing rap crews

How Atlanta became the center of the rap universe

Hip-Hop 50: All Rap Is Local

How atlanta became the center of the rap universe.

As one such defendant caught up by association, Gunna, who was denied release twice as he awaited trial and remained behind bars for seven months, entered an Alford plea — an agreement that allows a defendant to maintain their innocence but accept a sentence — in December 2022, pleading guilty to a racketeering charge. One year of his five-year sentence was commuted to time served, the rest suspended subject to probation conditions, provided he "testify truthfully in any further trial as it may become necessary," and the artist was released. Understanding the PR implications of copping a plea in this context, he tried to get ahead of the gossip in a statement: "While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way," he wrote. A year and a half later he remains a free man, and last month he was cut from the witness list — but the trial is still underway, and he exists in its shadow as long as it is unsettled.

This is the order of silence under which Gunna now operates. His new album, One of Wun (released May 10), wants more than anything to keep quiet and get back to uninterrupted drippin,' but it can't escape the gravitational pull of the label on the packaging. There is a line in its two-part closer, " time reveals, be careful what you wish for ," that seems to establish his governing principle in this moment: "I'm tryna get back the way I hustled and felt the thrill / I'm tryna stay rich so I can cover every bill," he raps over woebegone keys and phantom vocal loops. Even considering rap's many tangles with the carceral state, there has never been a situation quite like the YSL RICO case, or the dynamics facing the two rappers at the heart of its ongoing saga. The fallout has reverberated through the Atlanta rap scene, which has yet to truly recover, and turned Thug and Gunna into pillars for more polarized conversations about injustice and betrayal.

Gunna's previous album, 2023's a Gift & a Curse , had no choice but to seriously reckon with the maelstrom swirling around him. In the immediate aftermath of his Alford plea, he was returning into a radioactive discourse: Lil Baby denounced him as a snitch , other rappers including Lil Durk , Freddie Gibbs and Boosie joined the chorus, and those sentiments echoed throughout the rap citizenry. He hasn't worked with Wheezy, his most frequent collaborator, since his release. With the heat of scrutiny bearing down on him, and not so far removed from nearly seeing his own future snatched away, the rapper miraculously produced the best record of his career, a discreet meditation on dependability that pushed back against public perception. Songs like " i was just thinking " and " turned your back " are trenchant in response to criticism, adamant in tone and unmistakable in message; rarely has the rapper sounded so focused or intentional. Fending off accusations in the court of public opinion as you face down the actual judiciary is undoubtedly a difficult, defensive mindset to work under, but in doing so, Gunna's purpose and presence were in near-perfect alignment for the first time. In seeking a return to the before times, One of Wun loses that sense of balance.

Once merely among the more curious and catchy Thug offshoots, Gunna's style has developed its own exclusive tailoring in recent years, performing a sedated luxury. Plenty of rappers channel splendor, but Gunna also mimes the restfulness and self-possession of wealth as a sort of immunity idol. Just consider the biggest song of his career, the slippery " Drip Too Hard " with his one-time road dog Lil Baby, a declaration of sartorial swank: "TSA harass me, so I took a private plane," Gunna raps in his verse through a whine so disarmed it's as if a masseur is working out his knots through each phrase. "Designer to the ground, I can barely spell the names." Not even the social friction of adjusting to a higher sphere could disrupt his comfort; he prioritized convenience so thoroughly that nothing could bother him.

If your whole public identity and conception of cool is about weaponizing excess as style, how do you return to that mode when the most relevant thing about you exists in opposition to glitz and pageantry — when your main benefactor is still in court as you speak? Gunna's answer has been to pivot slightly, to a comeback narrative: He's still the best dressed at the Met, surrounded by Marilyn Monroe lookalikes, lounging around on yachts headed to Greece in Vetements, but just beneath the surface is a colder reality he is bouncing back from. "I heard the blogs comparing my number, I guess they think it's a contest / Ain't worried 'bout it, got way bigger problems," he raps on One of Wun 's " whatsapp (wassam) ," the problems in question remaining unspoken. "And yet, I'm building a company," he adds through motor-mouthed flows, "Everyone who fake it, I act like they traded, I swear I don't want no apology." The haters are plentiful in the margins of these songs, but their ire is a bit more acute in context — and the heat of that gaze subtly shifts the Gunna perspective. "They hope I fall off, ain't no way, I might be alright, but it ain't OK," he raps on " on one tonight ." He tries to muster venom in " blackjack ," but that voice doesn't seem to come naturally, every attempted clapback landing more like an aside. The zeal and poise that possessed a Gift & a Curse are missing, the retorts aimless and straying. It's never long before he's name-dropping Loewe or Balenciaga again, like a politician trying to stick to the talking points when questions of scandal are lingering in the open.

The Racist Roots Of Rap On Trial

Louder Than A Riot

The racist roots of rap on trial.

Self-presentation is complicated, even when you aren't navigating a kind of creative probation. And to be fair, there are compelling reasons for Gunna to watch what he says, for his sake and Thug's, since rap lyrics remain a persistent means of self-incrimination . That said, there is an unshakeable weirdness to the image of him returning to his flamboyant song-world, jet-setting in designer, without much explicit consideration for the carnage left behind him, as his label boss fights for his freedom. Gunna doesn't have to keep releasing albums through all this, though it may feel that way; the case has dragged on for two years now, and there is an obvious tension between its protracted sprawl and the sink-or-swim demands of the streaming economy. As the trial has inevitably drifted from the center of hip-hop's attention span to its margins, Gunna has clearly felt a need to keep his music top of mind. But in negotiating this unusual strain between personal, creative and commercial space, he is struggling to merge the artist he has always been with the one he needs to be now.

As a sort of half-measure, vague gestures at his circumstances abound. "I hate the four walls, the cages / They told me dissolve the patience / We livin' through all the changes," he raps on " collage "; "All these tribulations, hope it make a better man," he adds on " life's changing ." His reticence is forgivable, the platitudes less so. It doesn't take a legally actionable specificity to say something meaningful about what is, inarguably, a dramatic predicament. He could be challenging himself more, as a writer and a performer. Even the best One of Wun songs — " prada dem " and " today i did good " — are prisoner to his well-worn patterns and sounds, returning many of the beatmakers from a Gift & a Curse to their usual haunts. It would be one thing if his music could dissociate itself from its tensions, or if he elected to try something totally new. But the album is clearly aiming for a familiar frictionless trap, and is lyrically stuck between the reality of the outside noise and the ability to acknowledge it out loud. When Gunna proclaims, "I'm not a rat, still gettin' cheddar," on "prada dem," he is trying to close the distance between those realities, upholding his honor and his self-sufficiency all at once. But it feels even stranger to gloss over these matters than it would to dismiss them entirely.

The most pointed and plainspoken Gunna ever gets on the record is, fittingly, on a song called " conscience ." "No, I never flipped, n***** jumped ship just to go and get a check / I've been a tough soul, the whole world weighin' on my neck," he raps before concluding, "I'ma trust the process and I let it all go." Its punch is as much in how he sounds as in what he is willing to divulge, one of the few moments where you can hear everything weighing on him, his voice clipped and exasperated. Tone can speak where words fail. Shouldering that weight must be daunting, a feeling of having to perform under impossible conditions, but the album never really makes you grasp those stressors. Maybe trying to let it all go is the problem. The world of his songs, so thrillingly drawn in the past, is too at odds with the world outside of them.

  • Stream One of Wun by Gunna


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