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Boat Inspection!

We’re just back from an intrepid voyage South of the Border into deepest Yorkshire (specifically the barracks at Ripon) to have our boat inspected by the Atlantic Campaigns Team. This was a softer version of the pre-race inspection we’ll go through in La Gomera, where in the past teams have been failed and prevented from racing until their boat’s issues have been resolved…so it was a little stressful!

The boat was packed up and left Scotland around 6am driven by Fraser, who, doubtless to get some sleep deprivation training in, had pulled an all-nighter at work and got to bed at 4am. The minute the inspection was over he curled up in the back of the car and was out like a light.

Ripon was chosen as it’s the base for The Salty Sappers – a crew of Royal Engineers who’ll be racing this year too – and a halfway house between us and Wrekin Rowers, another TWAC 21 crew who hail from Shropshire. Nerves about the inspection aside, it was great to talk to all of these guys and share the challenges we’re all going through to get to the start line, and (like all of the crews we’ve encountered thus far) they were all really nice lads. The Sappers even had a barbeque fired up!

The inspection involved laying out all of our kit in a pre-arranged pattern so everything could be cross checked and any missing items noted. Despite having the majority of the kit we need on the enormous and exhaustive list, we still have a large number of upgrades, spares and ‘on-order’ items that will need to be checked in La Gomera.

Although the kit list is seemingly huge, it has been refined over the years by Atlantic Campaigns to keep the boat functioning and the crew alive. There’s just not room for spares for everything and with five of us on board we’ll have a very limited space for personal items, so Dunc may have to leave his teddy bears at home.

Our inspection was done by Fraser Mowlem, the assistant safety officer for the race. We’d met him virtually before as he ran the day-long zoom course on Ocean Rowing that we completed earlier in the year. The man’s a font of wisdom and was really helpful as we went through the inspection process.

As the spreadsheet king, Clive was in his element and before long all boxes were ticked, Fraser M gave us a figurative pat on the head and a biscuit for being good boys and wagons rolled Northwards to get us home before the natives remembered they can still legally shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow from the walls of York.

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Blog Race updates

We’ve got our boat!

We’ve finally taken delivery of our boat from the Maclean brothers who competed as team BROAR in the 2019/20 race. It feels great to take on the baton from a previous Scottish crew and is even more fitting because it was this boat crossing the finish line on the pub TV that caused Dunc, Fraser and Ian to put their deposits down then and there (amazing what a few pints can do!).

We’ve not been able to do much more than give her a good clean and remove the previous sponsor stickers from the hull, but with restrictions about to be relaxed up here in Scotland we’re aiming to get her on the water as soon as we can!

I’ll freely admit that we were all ruinously hungover the day we first saw her in the flesh, so it was both exciting and daunting to clamber aboard with a clear head. The deck area is bigger than I remember but unfortunately the cabins seem to have shrunk a bit! If you’d like to experience what she’s like for yourself we will be taking her down to North Berwick Harbour regularly this summer so you can hop on (on dry land) and see what you think. Keep an eye on our social media for dates and times.

Sticker removal was a real family affair down at the harbour. Everyone got stuck in with the heat guns whilst the kids tested the seats and oars, and we soon had her looking clean and white – a blank canvas ready for new sponsors and stowaways.

Speaking of sponsors, we’ve had some questions about how you can support our challenge, so there’s some information below. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to know more.

Make a Personal Donation

To make a personal donation you can either donate any amount you’d like to our Gofundme account or, if you’d like your name to be applied as a vinyl sticker to the deck and hatch area of the boat (see the interactive model below at the bottom of the page), you can become a Stowaway for ¬£250. Check out both of these options here

Become a Corporate Sponsor

If you’re a business and would like to get your logo on the hull, buy a race oar, get involved in our ‘Race Us’ online event, or even get a full vinyl wrap of the boat, you can check out our Sponsor Packages page to see what rewards we’re offering, or download the PDF (11MB) by clicking the image.

Last year’s race figures are due out soon, but the 2019/20 race reached a global audience of over 800 million, so sponsoring us will take your brand into new waters both literally and figuratively!

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Blog Race updates

2020 race going ahead!

Much to everyone’s relief, the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge will be going ahead as normal, with the race starting 1 month from now (squeaky bum time)! Atlantic Campaigns who organise the race have been working hard to ensure that competitors are able to stay as safe as possible during the pre-race run up in La Gomera and it looks like most of the crews will still be competing.

Sadly for some crews, travel restrictions have meant they’ve had to postpone their campaigns for a year or even two. We’ve been chatting to The Pacific Boys from the USA, who should have been racing this year, but had to defer, and were on the waiting list for our race in 2021. The great news for them is that they’ve had their place confirmed, so we’ll (hopefully) be able to share some beers with them in La Gomera next year!

Boats getting ready to start from La Gomera

Having to delay is far from ideal when you’ve spent so much time building up fundraising and fitness, and mentally gearing yourself towards the challenge, so we really feel for the crews who haven’t been as lucky at securing places yet and really hope that the pandemic doesn’t adversely affect our crossing.

Because of crews like The Pacific Guys coming into the fleet, our race is now full with 37 boats taking part! It’s going to be some race! Seeing the crews we’ve been following on social media making their last preparations is just about giving me heart failure with the amount of work we still have to do before our race starts in 13 months time.

But at least we have some big news on our race boat coming very soon!