News from Antigua: The Atlantic Rowers Are Here.
20th January 2021
Of course we don't want to miss that. The participants in the “toughest rowing regatta in the world” started in La Gomera a month ago. From teams of four to solo rowers, everything is included. Curiously, the boat in the lead is not a team of four but a team of two (Row4Cancer), which dominated the race from the start.
In the race tracker we see that the rowers should arrive the next morning from 6:00 a.m. I set myself an alarm clock to be there on time. But when the alarm goes off the next morning, I look at the race tracker again and lo and behold: the rowers have already arrived. In the last few miles they got everything out of themselves again, so that they were significantly faster than calculated in advance. Congratulations 🎉 🎊Mark Slats and Kai Wiedmer on their new world record. The two exceptional athletes crossed the Atlantic in a rowboat in 32 days and 22 hours.
We are better prepared for the next boat. The skipper takes the dinghy from our anchorage in Falmouth over to English Harbor an hour before the advised time. Meanwhile, I'm going on foot, because I don't want to take part in this ride on the open sea. I get back on the other side. We're in the dinghy; the skipper checks when the rowing boat should come around the corner.
When the time comes, cheers break out, the fans stand on top of the fort at the entrance to English Harbor. Measured against the tremendous sporting performance that the team has undergone, the public interest is rather modest. Pity…
The team of four "On Shoulders of Giants" crosses the finish line. The signal torches are lit (see cover picture above). Then the rowers gather briefly and then drive into the harbor.
They are accompanied by all kinds of watercraft.
The award ceremony takes place directly at the dock. The team finished second overall. With this they won the so-called "Race Class". Congratulations👏 👏👏
They spent 35 days and almost 7 hours in this small boat on the Atlantic. How do you endure this exertion? For me, the 8 day long ocean passage on escape was a challenge where I reached my limits. What I'm just a wimp 🤣🤣🤣.
More rowing boats will arrive in the next few days. The third boat, the team of four "Latitude 35", arrives in Antigua. You did the distance in 35 days and 5 hours. Unfortunately, we did not see this boat arrive.
The next day we do a morning hike over the hill from Falmouth to English Harbor. This time we're lucky: just as we arrive in English Harbor, the next rowboat comes in. "HPF Atlantic" is also a team of four. After 37 days and almost 2 hours at sea, they did it. While two are actively rowing across the finish line, the other two are in the boat.
The torches are lit again both on the boat and on top of the fort.
In the port, the official part comes before the rowers can hug the waiting family members.
Unfortunately, the photos in this post are of low quality. When we sat in the dinghy, it was very wavy. Most of the photos and all of the videos were completely blurred 😂. Sometimes we didn't get close enough because the support and press boats shielded the rowers. Also, I only ever had one cell phone with me, the zoom possibilities are limited.
Nevertheless, this post is important to me because I am absolutely impressed by the performance of these exceptional athletes. Last year I was already fascinated by the arrival of the solo rower Stephane Brogniart in Martinique . Back then it took him 72 days. I wonder how you feel comfortable in a boat like this when waves and storms sweep over you and you know that you still have 1000 nautical miles to go 🤔? There are significantly more dangers than on a sailing trip across the Atlantic. One boat was even attacked by a swordfish who had drilled a leak in the hull with his sword. Fortunately, the crew was able to fix it and no one was seriously injured.
More boats will arrive in the next days and weeks. There are also mixed teams and all-women teams. The solo rowers have the hardest time, of course. You will be on the road twice as long as those who have just arrived. What strength of will you have to have to endure something like that.
While we are at anchor in Falmouth, we hear that the first Atlantic rowers are due to arrive in Antigua the next day.