Follow Our Progress

2nd December 2016

You can also track their progress by visiting

www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/race-tracker/

or downloading the YB Races app


3rd February 2017

They have arrived! After an incredible 51 days 11 hours and 35 minutes, Justin and Azud rowed in to English Harbour with flares, music and huge cheers on Friday night.

Click here for the video that was recorded live as they arrived at Antigua. Here are some photos from Friday night: –

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Photos from Atlantic Campaigns – Photo Credit: Ben Duffy

We are all immensely proud of their achievement. They have also managed to raise £11260 so far for Rowcroft and money is still coming in.


25th January 2017

Justin and Azud are currently the fastest boat in the Atlantic row, travelling at 2.9 knots!

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Photo from Atlantic Campaigns


24th January 2017

The latest blog has arrived from Justin: –

End of week 6 is upon us and the day started by another whale coming to say hello just as the sun rose up in the distance. For some unknown reason we are attracting the whales. The heat is getting stronger every day and the cabin is our very own sauna. We’re now focusing on upping the miles as we close in on our destination. We’ve decided our handovers need to have a more formula one approach as opposed the current slow motion faffathon that it is now ….can take up to 10 mins by the time you’ve got the seat cushion to fit perfectly around the open wounds down below! We’re still working on uk time out here which is a bit crazy as it now gets dark at 10 pm and light at 10 am but it seems to work. The sky at night is amazing out here now the moon is at its smallest and the stars can light up the sky. We can only hope that the conditions continue to be on our side for the next week or so but I have a funny feeling the Atlantic hasn’t finished with us yet – crossed fingers.


22nd January 2017 – Update from Atlantic Campaigns

We are happy to announce that today at 11:54 local time (UTC -4) Team Row For James arrived to Antigua after 39 days, 4 hours and 14 minutes – CONGRATULATIONS!

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Photos from Atlantic Campaigns – Photo Credit: Ben Duffy

19th January 2017

Whilst the first four man crew have arrived in Antigua in a race and world record time, our guys have also passed another physical and psychological milestone. Yesterday the distance to finish went below 1,000 nautical miles and is now currently standing at 945 nautical miles to go. They are maintaining 6th place and are in their sixth week of rowing. Perhaps they will have a new race/world record for the fastest dentists to row the Atlantic.
Some words from Justin from Monday: –

We have finally got the weather we’ve been dreaming of and its great to have wind and waves behind us. Not so strong but enough to really get the oars stuck in and build up the hourly rate. I just did 6 miles in my 2 hr watch so should be hitting sub 1000 in the next day or 2.

We had a whale follow us for 3 hrs yesterday, I’m sure he was just interested to see why we were going so slowly.

We’re getting quite blasé by all of our whale experiences but to be honest I think people cross the Atlantic and don’t see any, weird!
It’s due for more of the torrential rain on Friday – I hope they’re wrong it is a pain.


19th January 2017 – Update from Atlantic Campaigns

We have a Winner! We are happy to announce that tonight at 21:33 (local time UTC-4 hours) Team Latitude 35 Racing, Jason Caldwell, Matthew Brown, Angus Collins & Alex Simpson crossed the Finish Line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2016 setting both a Race and World Record!!
35 DAYS, 14 HOURS & 3 MINUTES
CONGRATULATIONS! Photo credit: Ben Duffy

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16th January 2017

Here are some extracts from Justin’s messages home over the last week: –

Been battered by some strong Northerly winds with a big swell, but had some nice early morning rows with beautiful sunrises. Been thinking about BLT’s from the Guardhouse cafe but trying to stop the thoughts-feeling quite nauseous/weird when thinking of the freeze dried meals, struggling to keep my calories up.

Getting toothache from time to time-not great when miles from tools (except crude ones..)

Had a problem with the collar of the oar which we’ve had to fix.

We had a whale give us an amazing show for ten minutes swimming around the boat and then surfacing high into the air.

Some fantastic night rows with full moon and lovely sunsets, makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have such an opportunity.

Felt terrible last Thursday night thought it was my sinuses but realised I had not really eaten enough, too low on calories trying to get more down. Most unlike me to be off my food..

Just spent two hours in the most wild rain/thunder storm to match anything i’ve ever been in before. Sun now out..
Then the storm came back EVEN worse had a terrible shift 10-1230 at night. Rain biblical and the boat heeled right over, struggled to control the oars or anything else for that matter, lightning was everywhere, hitting the water. Now recovering…


11th January 2017

A brilliant update received from Justin:

At midday today we passed ‘our’ halfway point that we had of 1335 nm to go. We decided to celebrate with a swim mid Atlantic. The sea was calm and conditions perfect for a dip. Azud jumped in attached to the boat and thrashed around for 10 minutes. It was amazingly brave considering he really can’t swim. He was full of adrenalin and grinning all over when he got out. I enjoyed the chance to just dive off and feel the freedom from the boat for a bit, I swam down underneath the boat and around it. It was amazing to think how deep it is in these crystal clear waters. I reckon its a swim we’ll never forget again. The weather has now changed in our favour and there’s a nice following breeze with associated seas, so here’s hoping we can make up some lost ground of the last day or 2. its been hard to be rowing so much for such little return. In addition to this we had ANOTHER near miss last night. A huge oil tanker took avoiding action and passed across our stern at about 3am GMT. He was if anything closer than the one the other day. I was asleep but was woken by its engines as it passed so close and Azud seemed quite cool about it because the ship had flashed him as it approached and saw our lights. Can’t believe how close we’ve come twice!

Too much excitement out at sea, going to haver an afternoon nap

Justin


10th January 2017 – Halfway!

Justin and Azud have been in the Atlantic for 27 full days at midday today and they have reached the enormous milestone of halfway.
They have rowed 1376 nm and have 1363 nm to go to arrive at the finish in Antigua.
They are also very close to their £10,000 fundraising target for Rowcroft having a current total of £9,784. It’s not too late to sponsor them.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/FreshAtlantic

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9th January 2017 – Update from Justin

Another message from Justin has arrived. They’re approaching half way and the weather looks to be changing in their favour again, but for some of the fleet further back it looks like they’re having a tough time from the conditions.

We’ve had quite a bad night.

The boat was being tossed around in big waves under a very dark night with little visibility. A wave caught us and disengaged the auto helm and we spun 180 degrees, which meant we were facing the wrong way in big seas. I got Azud up and we managed to turn the boat around downwind and get her back on track without capsizing her. Azud went back to bed to leave me in pouring rain, strong winds and wild seas for 3 hrs. All in a nights work mid Atlantic – no-one said it would be easy.

Today has been full on beam seas with significant winds 30 -35 knots. Massive swells that take the horizon away and drop you like a stone into the trough before raising you up and the crest of the ridge with huge drops all around. In the last 10 mins a little bit on easterly has appeared and the seas have decreased, Azud is on the oars and being given a chance to power on. Crossed fingers for the next 12 hrs. Its a clear sky and should be a bright moon tonight.

Hope you’re having a nice winters Sat….is a world away from here. Think we may be another good 4 weeks . Who knows but we’re not low or down but resigned to the fate of the ocean rower.


8th January 2017 – Near miss! Update from Justin and Azud

We saw a huge ship ( a tanker) in the distance coming in our direction. I switched on the AIS which receives and transmits your position to other ships and like wise. It said that the vessel was 2 miles away and closing in at 13.5 knots . This gave us 10 mins to make sure he’d seen us, contact him and/or take action against collision.
I immediately put on the VHF channel 16 and transmitted “ Big ship on course 340 o this is small ocean rowing boat over” I tried 3 times with no reply. Quickly i got the flares out of the bag bright white and orange ones that would help him see us, if anyone was on deck/bridge.
Again on the VHF I repeated my call. Finally after 3 more attempts i got a response and he acknowledged our presence and that he would take action to avoid us. He passed over our bow about 300 metres in front. He wished us a good day and was gone.

Trust me for a big ocean thats a near miss!! I’m not sure if he took action to turn but it did seem so.


5th January 2017 – New Year Update

Happy new year! We hope you have all been enjoying your holidays.

A big milestone was achieved on 2nd January when the Justin and Azud passed through 1,000 nautical miles and are now over 1/3 of the way. They’ve now been on a 23ft rowing boat for 22 days!!!

Here are a few professional photos that were taken before they left.

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Justin has been in touch over the past few weeks and updates have been posted on their Facebook Page (which can be found here). Here are some of the highlights.

The weather was pretty favourable at the start but they soon experienced some big swell – 4 to 5 metres and although scary, as it came from behind them together with the wind it helped them along nicely. However at times, the seas were mountainous and the size of small tower blocks. When they were at the top of a wave it looked a long way to the bottom! They were caught in a bit of a mega storm fairly early on and were holed up in their cabin together. Justin said it is not the most comfortable of places. They struggled to turn due to lack of space, the mattress was wet and water dripped onto them…coupled with it being airtight so they began to struggle re oxygen! However opening the cabin door had its own issues as waves can then come in!

On Christmas Eve, Justin and Azud had been out in the Atlantic for a full 10 days. They were being helped along by strong winds and from surfing the swell which is a great help but also very scary. They spent over 12 hours huddled together in the rear cabin sheltering from another storm which by all accounts was a very unpleasant experience. One of the other boats in the fleet capsized demonstrating how real this challenge is! Thankfully the boat (Rowers Ark) righted itself, which it is designed to do, the crew was ok and has carried on the race.

The weather calmed down a bit until the 27th, which slowed their progress but gave them time to get straight, cook food, rehydrate etc.

Over Christmas, they had some real highs and lows. The low was when their water maker broke and it took over a stressful hour to fix. Another low was the torrential rain Christmas eve night and struggling to keep anything dry.

However there were some great highs. They were accompanied by a pod of dolphins and were being followed by three birds, that Justin has named Gilbert, Horatio and Bartholomew. The sunsets are amazing and, one night, there was lots of lightning on the horizon that was pretty spectacular provided it didn’t get closer!!!

On Boxing Day there was a special treat for them when roughly 30 whales casually passed them, not paying much attention. The support yacht also paid them a quick visit and it sounded like they had no concerns with the Fresh Dental boat and crew which is a good vote of confidence.
There were some further issues to contend with: –
The water maker/ desalinator has broken down a couple of times, one time quite majorly on Christmas Day but on both occasions they have managed to repair it. It is not a complete deal breaker if it becomes unfixable as they do have a manual one on board but that would become very labour intensive.

They were also suffering with the red sand and dust blowing off the Sahara desert. This causes problems for the generation of electricity as the solar panels constantly need cleaning and the sun is also not as strong due to clouds.

In the New Year, they said that they have had a good couple of days with sunny weather and better winds. They had to divert more South to seek out the wind and faster conditions which in the short term has lost them some ground but they are now going at a better pace which will benefit them longer term.

They were joined at their bow by a 7ft shark on Saturday that slowly meandered back and forth alongside their boat. (Slightly put Justin off his morning swim!).

On New Year’s Day, flying fish leapt over their boat and two fell in their laps. They are still being accompanied by their birds (named Gilbert, Horatio and Bartholomew).

Justin for once in his life is not feeling hungry and is struggling to eat the freeze dried food. Azud is doing better forcing the calories down. They continue to get regularly wet either by the waves crashing into them on deck or in their damp salty cabin.

Throughout their journey so far, messages of support from Just Giving and Facebook have been read out to them and these have kept them motivated. They are currently at 95% of their Just Giving target, which is fantastic news.

Their position in the group has been consistently good remaining in around 6th place, with a current predicted finish date of 8th February 2017!

We will continue to keep you up to date as they progress.


14th December 2016 – Launch Day!

Justin and Azud have now started their Atlantic Challenge! They set off from La Gomera at around midday, heading for Antigua.

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A couple of videos have also been posted of Facebook: –

  • Click here to see the message they recorded to all of their supporters before they left.
  • Click here to see a video of Justin and Azud starting their journey.

Justin and Azud have really appreciated all of the messages of support that have been flooding in from friends, family and colleagues, and the locals also came out to encourage them as they set off.

Justin posted a photo of himself on Facebook from the boat, clearly enjoying the experience so far: –

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We hope to hear from them next week to find out how they are getting on and send out further updates as soon as we hear.


13th December 2016

We have received some drone footage from 13th December when they were rehearsing the launch. Click the links below to have a look.

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13th December 2016

Justin and Azud will start their 3000 mile adventure tomorrow morning and they are so grateful and touched by the support that has been shown to them.

Azud Irshad has sent across this update today: –

Our time in La Gomera is now coming to an end and we’re finishing our final preparations. Just making sure all of our belongings are in order.

We’ve spent a lot of time testing out the equipment and making sure everything is running smoothly. For now everything seems to be very good but problems will inevitably arise, at least we’re confident enough to figure them out.

We have less than 24 hours left until the boat is on the start line and we’re given the all clear to make our way.

We are humbled by the amount of support we have received and all of the encouragement and well wishes.

Our focus is on safety and taking care of each other.

We can’t wait to return and share our stories.

Below are some photos that were taken today at their start rehearsal.

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2nd December 2016

There are only 12 days to go before Justin and Azud begin their row across the Atlantic! Very soon they will be heading over to La Gomera to begin their preparations and they are so grateful for all the support they have already received from friends, patients and colleagues.

Have a look at the Talisker Whiskey Challenge teaser trailer to find out more about what they will be facing – https://youtu.be/RdQXYCYr9eA

 

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