The Atlantic Seamen are four Cornish-based, middle aged dads who have one enormous ambition. Together they aspire to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Exposed to the full force of the Atlantic; scorching sun, saltwater sores, sharks and passing tankers with only a 28-foot ocean rowing boat in which to take refuge. A challenge like no other……
More people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic.
Crossing the Atlantic is never an easy undertaking, but people have been making the journey for hundreds of years. The very first crossings were made to discover and explore new lands. Today, most crossings are made by huge cargo ships exporting essential commodities across the ocean.
But some daring people choose to cross the Atlantic to test the limit of their physical and mental strength; to achieve something unthinkable.
The idea of the Atlantic Challenge race came to Sir Chay Blyth whilst he was rowing the Atlantic Ocean in 1966 with John Ridgeway. It was a 92 day battle against hurricanes, 50 foot waves and near starvation.
It’s no surprise then that more people have been into space, or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. It takes a certain kind of person to keep going when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation.
That’s why the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the world’s toughest row.
Inspired by the endeavours of past competitors I have dreamt of competing in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge for several years, finally finding a group of like-minded friends with which to take on this enormous undertaking. Cornish born, I have a passion the outdoors and water sports. A keen amateur lobster fisherman, surfer, open water swimmer and pilot gig rower I am used to spending time in and around the sea but not for 45-55 days in a small boat in the middle of the Atlantic!
After serving for 6 years in the British Army as a Captain in the Royal Engineers I decided to return to Cornwall with my wife. I retrained as a Doctor and now work as a GP in Falmouth.
I enjoy travel and have ‘bagged’ all the continents. Highlights include medical volunteer work in a remote rural health post in Nepal as well as a rather rough trip across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. I have competed in several endurance events including Iron-Man competitions and ultra-marathons.
I expect the biggest challenge during the race will be spending time apart from my wife and three children…but I hope the money raised for Children’s Hospice Southwest and The Urology foundation as well as the after party in English Harbour, will make up for it!
Andrew ‘Bez’ Berry – 48
Originally from Burnley, Lancashire. I now live in Cornwall with my wife and two wonderful children. In recent years I have started to enjoy endurance events; including cycling from London to Paris in 24 hours, and cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats. I am incredibly competitive and I love a challenge. I am at the stage of my life when I want to stretch myself physically and mentally to the max. Rowing across The Atlantic is the ultimate challenge!
With a great team, each with a unique set of skills, means we can not only win but seriously challenge the record for the fastest four person crossing!
Robert Spence is a rower, open-water swimmer and a regular marathon and ultramarathon runner. Rob was a school and university oarsman and returned to the water 5 years ago, sculling on the open waters of the Persian Gulf and the creeks of the UAE coastline; and now Carrick Roads. He ran the first international marathon to be held in Iran last year, competed in the Great Wall Marathon in 2012 and has twice run the high-altitude Annapurna ultra. Rob’s 9-to-5 for the past fifteen years has been spent criss-crossing Arabia’s Empty Quarter carrying out environmental impact assessments for oil exploration projects, which has presented technical challenges and provided regular opportunity for planning remote expeditions, none though as testing as the Atlantic Challenge. Permanently on-the-go, Rob’s bedrock in Cornwall is his wife, Kerstin and their three children.
Tim May – 44
Tim, married with 3 children, hails from the South West and now lives and works in Cornwall.
A keen sportsman, whilst at Kings College, Taunton, Tim played Rugby, Cricket, water polo and has competed in a few local triathlons, coastal runs, swims and can be found regularly on the Squash court!
Always up for a challenge, Tim has completed cycles from Tangiers to Marrakech and an unsupported John o groats to Lands End, jointly raising over £7,000 for Alzheimers Society.
Although not a rower! he has always wanted a challenge where the only way out is the finish line – once Jon put the idea forward, The Atlantic challenge seemed the perfect solution!!
The Atlantic Seamen have chosen to row in support of The Urology Foundation. The Urology Foundation believes that better research and education brings better treatment, diagnosis and prevention of all urological conditions. These include cancer and diseases of the prostate, kidney, bladder and testes, male infertility, erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Whist our headline mentions ‘crossing oceans for men’s health’ urological conditions can affect both men and women with equally devastating consequences.
“Working with researchers, urology and health care professionals we are improving the nation’s urology care. We are dedicated to beating all urology diseases through cutting-edge research and leading education and training to ensure that fewer lives will be devastated.”
We believe that patients with urological diseases in the UK deserve the most advanced treatment options available delivering the best results.
The Urology Foundation:
Funds research to develop better diagnoses and treatments
Supports specialist training to improve the skills and effectiveness of urology professionals
Provides opportunities for UK surgeons to work with the most highly regarded specialists in the world, bringing the expertise back to the UK to improve patient choice, patient care and disease management
This work helps patients and their families in the UK.
The Foundation was established in 1995 as the British Urological Foundation (BUF). Since 1995, we have funded over 250 scholarships and research grants, and have arranged training programmes for hundreds of urologists.
This work we do is urgently needed. Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with urological conditions in the UK each year. Many millions more are affected worldwide.
We’re at the forefront of urological research and development. And we couldn’t do it without your help.
If you would like to sponsor the challenge and help raise money for this important cause, please visit our Sponsorship page. If you would simply like to donate and show your support for our challenge and our charity, please click the donate button below to be taken to our Just Giving page.
For more than 25 years Children’s Hospice South West has been caring for children with lifethreatening conditions by providing children’s hospice and professional family support services. They are dedicated to making the most of short and precious lives through the provision of the best possible hospice care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. The care offered at each of our three hospices is not just about medical and nursing support for sick children but enriching lives of the children and their whole family.
They provide care and support to families living in the South West, who have children with lifelimiting conditions. They provide specialist palliative care, respite for the whole family, a sibling service for brothers and sisters, emergency support, end of life care and a bereavement service for as long as is needed.
The Atlantic Seamen are proud to give their support to Children’s Hospice South West across this most demanding challenge of rowing across the Atlantic. We not only hope to raise awareness for the work this magnificent charity does but also raise much needed funds so they can carry on providing hospice care for children with life-limiting conditions and their whole family across the South West.
The Children’s Hospice South West and in particular Little Harbour Hospice in Cornwall is a charity which I am proud to support and one which has special relevance to my family. My nephew Tom, after many trips in and out of hospital as a baby, was diagnosed with a rare condition, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction as well as developmental delay. This life limiting condition is often painful and makes him prone to infection necessitating intensive medical treatment. His wonderful parents Lizzie and Griff, my sister and brother in law, have nothing but the highest praise for the hospice and the support they have received through difficult times. The hospice is an amazing facility for mums, dads, brothers, sisters and families and one which the Atlantic Seamen are proud to support. Jon – Atlantic Seaman
‘Little harbour enables us to be a normal family, a normal mum, a dad a brother and a sister’ – Lizzie, Toms mum
‘Little harbour is somewhere me and Tom can be a brother and sister. Its somewhere where we can be ourselves, make a mess and be loud. Its somewhere where we can forget everything that’s happening’ – Alice, Tom’s big sister
Messages from our supporters….
This is undoubtedly an epic challenge which will test these friends to the limit of their physical and mental endurance. They are putting their bodies and lives on the line to raise money for vital research into urological conditions and I would recommend this as a very worthy Challenge to support.” Sir Ranulph Fiennes, explorer and patron of The Urology Foundation
“Some people run 5km to test themselves and raise money for charity. And this is certainly commendable, every effort counts. But other people decide instead to subject themselves to two months of self-imposedd torture and row 3000 miles across an Ocean. Braving storms, sea monster and very sore bums. I’ve known people who have completed this feat in the past and all were rightly proud of their achievement but I don’t think any of them actually enjoyed any part of the experience. But great things never come easy and anything worth doing takes hard graft, and not in one brief spurt but by grinding away day after day. I’m lending my support to the lads because attempting to row the Ocean is both a bold venture and in a very good cause… and it’s not something I have any intention of ever doing. I’m much too sensible for that. Good Luck.”
Andy Torbet, underwater explorer, skydiver, adventurer and TV presenter.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat is an endeavour that has left me awestruck since I worked for John Ridgway in my late teens (he and Chay Blythe rowed from Boston to Ireland in 1966) and I’m deeply impressed by the ambition and determination of this small team. The Atlantic Seamen are taking on a physical and mental challenge that few have the capacity to fully imagine, and it’s for a particularly worthy cause. If you are in a position to help this team achieve their goal, then I would urge you to do so
Ben Saunders, polar explorer, endurance athlete, and motivational speaker
‘This group of friends are in for the most amazing experience in support of a good cause. No doubt it will be a tough test but it will also have the most amazing moments that will lift their spirits as they glory in nature. For advice I would say whatever happens ‘just be kind to each other’. As a sailor I wish them ‘Fair Winds’ which probably translates into strong arms and comfortable bum! Geddon Boys’.
Pete Goss MBE, sailor, adventurer, international speaker and former Royal Marine
This is just a quick post to say hello! We’re in the process of getting ourselves organised for the challenge ahead, this website and our sponsorship document being the first steps along the path to our departure from the Canary Islands in December 2018. It seems a long way off but with so much to …