An Atlantic Rowing Challenge – 15 December, 2015
For several years, i have enviously watched small contingents of brave-hearted and adventurous individuals row into English Harbour here in Antigua, as they complete the bi-annual Atlantic Campaign’s Rowing Challenge, the so-called “World’s Toughest Ocean Rowing Race”.
As these rowers approached Antigua from the East, I have often powered up to meet them in our sport-fishing boat some 30 miles above Antigua, watching in awe as these sunburnt and weary seafarers slowly row their way to English Harbour to complete their transatlantic 2,800 mile journey from the starting point in the Canary Islands, just sixty miles off the coast of Africa.
It has often been said that more people have been into space or to the top of Mount Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic.
I finally made up my mind to do the Challenge myself some two years ago . This decision came at a time in my life when my family obligations have been pretty much completed, “kids all big and on their own”. Also, I’ve managed finally to save the money to buy the boat and its “innards” on my own, this being the main expense. So far, I’ve also been able to pay part of the entrance fee.
I decided to do the crossing as a “fours” entry: that is, four persons on the boat.
While growing up on the waterfront here in Antigua at my parents’ small family-run hotel at Dutchman’s Bay, the sea became my playground , water sports and diving in all its facets my hobby; and seafaring as a part-time salvor, my passion. My years of experience on the sea have made me a qualified challenger for this adventure and there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll be “comfortable” out there doing it.
As soon as the other three crew members have been identified and they agree to come on board for the crossing , their full bios will be posted and their blogs will start . Unfortunately the ones that I’ve asked to come with me , six so far ,have given me a peculiar look and then walked away shaking their heads laughing .
Whilst an entrant must be fit and reasonably well trained, most of the challenge is mental. The entrant must be “comfortable” on there, and I am. I certainly won’t be the youngest entrant to have done this row, but on the other hand, I won’t be the oldest. I’m in great health with no chronic illnesses and I keep fit, so watch out Atlantic – here we come! The bottom line with regard to my boat’s entry any crew member, including myself, can and will be substituted at any time if it is decided the need arises, and the Challenge will continue regardless.
I’ve entered the team as TEAM WADADLI (the colloquial accepted variation of the pre-Columbian Amerindian name for Antigua, Waladli, as recorded in 1635). The boat has been named the WA’OMONI, which is the Amerindian name for our sister island of Barbuda. It is thought to mean “Island of Large Birds”, possibly referring to the Frigate Birds, which are plentiful in Barbuda.
Our rowing adventure will be chronicled on this site, with continuous daily updates and blog posts, bringing everyone up to par as we progress through the preparatory stages, right up to and including the race itself. We will have full 24-hour satellite communications and our positions during the crossing can be seen at any time with Yellow Brick tracking on the Campaign’s website.
Our charity for this row is the ST. JOHN HOSPICE which is located on the Holberton Hospital grounds ; it is a privately run non profit institution which provides a place for the financially challenged terminally ill to spend their final days with dignity in a clean and friendly environment whilst being looked after by carefully chosen medical professionals ; no one is turned away . We are asking everyone to donate generously to this cause ; this can be done by giving to the Hospice directly or going online to their Facebook page where you can make your contribution . You can also go to our menu and click on CHARITY for their full information . Follow us carefully on our blog as we will be having a online fundraiser by giving everyone a opportunity to buy rowing miles starting in the next week or two , and this will continue till the boat gets to Antigua .
It is going to be a wonderful adventure, not only for the rowers, but for our followers and supporters. The race will start on 15 December, 2015.
Our progress and updates can also be followed on our Facebook page Team Wadadli .
Kindest regards, and we will look forward to sharing this adventure with you.
Dr. Nick Fuller
From the Governor-General of Antigua