The Challenge


In 1966, Sir Chay Blyth rowed across the North Atlantic with John Ridgway from Cape Cod on the North American coastline to Ireland. Their epic journey took place in a 20 ft. open dory named “English Rose III” and during their 92-day passage they faced hurricanes, 50 ft. waves and a near starvation diet. Their voyage was a challenge, a test of strength and endurance and an opportunity that just had to be taken up. This trip laid the foundation for the TALISKER Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The premier event in ocean rowing – a challenge that will take you more than 2,600 nautical miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera (28°N 18°W) to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua (17°N 61°W).

Safety is paramount to the ongoing success of ocean rowing races. Atlantic Campaigns SL provide on-water support coverage and 24 hr. safety support over the duration of the race. Since the first Atlantic rowing race, the world has taken notice of this extreme sporting activity. The race is unique and attracts individuals from all backgrounds, from Olympic athletes to the everyday person off the street.

The race structure brings together an environment where teams from across the globe gather in the race village San Sebastian in La Gomera, Spain. The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. All with the same objective – to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat. The party atmosphere creates strong friendships and competitiveness gives way to camaraderie that will continue throughout the event.

But then down to the serious business of rowing an ocean. From the sunsets and sunrises, to the wildlife that will be encountered first hand – the race offers different experiences to all those involved. There is a constant battle of sleep deprivation, salt sores and the physical extremes that the row will inflict. Once the safe haven and party atmosphere of port is left behind, you are left with your own thoughts, an expanse of ocean and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side. It’s now your world. A basic existence, leaving behind the memories and smells of land, and dealing with the emotions of leaving loved ones behind. The focus changes to your teammates, watch systems and knowing everything there is to know about your rowing boat.

This really is a life changing experience. More people by far have climbed Everest than have successfully rower an ocean in a rowing event. You will become a member of a small community of friends that have shared the adventures of an ocean crossing. The mental and physical endurance will result in a life changing achievement and in the closing days of the challenge, the excitement of reaching Antigua  will be your foremost thought with every pull of the oars.

The Atlantic Challenge – the No. 1 Ocean Endurance Challenge – is proudly supported by TALISKER whisky.

The Race Ports


Start – La Gomera, Canary Islands
San Sebastian de La Gomera Marina
San Sebastian de La Gomera Marina

La Gomera is a small rugged island, roughly circular in shape covering an area of 378 km2 and has one great claim to fame that beckons sailors to its shores. It was from the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera that Christopher Columbus set off on 6th September 1492 on his historic voyage to the New World.

San Sebastian de La Gomera is the main town in La Gomera and is situated on the south side of the island. The residents of San Sebastian de La Gomera are very supportive of the event.

Finish – English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda
English Harbour, Antigua
English Harbour, Antigua

Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, encompassing 108 square miles. Its highest point is Boggy Peak (1319 ft.), located in the southwestern corner of the island. Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies approximately 30 miles due north. The nation also includes the tiny (0.6 square mile) uninhabited island of Redonda, now a nature preserve. The current population for the nation is approximately 68,000 and its capital is St. John’s on Antigua.

Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45 inches; making it the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September.

John WuilliezThe Challenge