Atlantic Dash 2021

After successfully rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in 2020, the second Atlantic crossing was born out of Covid restrictions

In March 2021 a crew of four set off from Lanzarote and, using muscle power alone, rowed 3,200 miles of open Atlantic Ocean to Antigua. This voyage firmly paved the way for the Atlantic Dash.

After a challenging start which included a tow to Fuerteventura, during which the boat was damaged, the crew once again set off for Antigua. After fifty days of rowing, despite everything the Atlantic threw at them, the crew successfully landed at the Windward Estate jetty on Pigeon Point Beach in Antigua.

blisters

ships

dehydration

sharks

exhaustion

boils

hallucinations

storms

injuries

From the second the crew pushed off until they next set foot on dry land, the boat was  everything to them. They were either on deck rowing or they were in the tiny cabin at the back of the boat. Inside that cabin they rested, cooked, ate, slept, navigated, communicated with the outside world and each other, patched up their injuries, wrote blogs and filmed vlogs, carried out any equipment repairs…in fact one of the only things that they didn’t do in the cabin is row, and go to the toilet. Going to the toilet was an alfresco affair that bore a striking resemblance to a bucket on deck…because it is a bucket on deck. Lovely when it was sunny and calm but try to imagine yourself balanced atop said bucket when there are howling winds and towering waves crashing on deck…

The Crew

Billy Taylor

The Skipper

Billy started ocean rowing challenges in 2014 after finding out his childhood friend had been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

He has rowed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the Mediterranean and the English channel, all of which have been used to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and mental health charities.

Johnny Ward

The Blogger

Johnny is a self-confessed ‘normal’ Irishman who felt there was more to life than a 9-5 job, and with that, he took off around the world, literally. He has been to every, single, country!

What he hasn’t done, is row an ocean, and this latest challenge will be his most demanding yet.

Martin Heseltine

The Sea Dog

Martin was once chased through Nigeria by 300 locals with machetes shouting ‘kill him’. Whilst that alone means he needs no further introduction, he has spent huge portions of his life on the high seas.

Rowing an ocean is new to Martin, but will be the latest in a long line of unique adventures in Martin’s life.

Mathew Pritchard

The Dirty Vegan

The pro skateboarder and TV daredevil found fame in MTV’s Dirty Sanchez leading to a drink and drug filled lifestyle. He turned his life around in 2011 when he began a series of fitness challenges, including a continuous deca (10x ironman).

He is now going to take himself out of his comfort zone with a voyage that will test him to the extreme.

The Atlantic Dash maiden voyage was supported by:

HUMEN is a movement to improve and maintain men’s mental health through campaigning and The HUMEN Space. Anonymous, preventative and non-clinical spaces for men to talk, listen and connect on a regular basis. 75% of all UK suicides are male. The right to talk should never be a privilege.

Believing in compassion, life & empowerment – all factors that contribute to a sustainable, healthy & cruelty free planet. By providing information on the use of animals in factory farming, intensive breeding & cruel sports, the Dean Farm Trust seek to enable cruelty free choices and wider awareness.

Throughout the crossing the crew worked together as a team to ensure success. Unsupported meant just that, and they had to deal with everything that was thrown at them. There was no stopping and calling a specialist out to help with repairs, no popping to A&E for medical attention. Although the crew were able to use a satellite phone to seek advice they, and they alone, were the ones who had to deal with any and all problems they encountered. Whilst, thankfully, it didn’t happen on this crossing, it is entirely possible that if they got into trouble they may have to wait for up to 5 days for the cavalry to arrive. Everything that they needed for the crossing was loaded onto the boat before they left and once they did leave there was no turning back.

BLISTERS

SHIPS

SHARKS

DEHYDRATION

During the row they experienced sleep deprivation, extreme fatigue, massive weight loss, big seas and the only place that all four crew were able to shelter was their tiny cabin no larger than the size of a small double bed.

The boat was 29ft long, a little under 6ft wide and was the crews life support system for the time that they were on the water. The crew rowed in pairs and managed on a shift pattern of two hours rowing followed by two hours resting. The continued like this 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

STORMS

HEALTH

EXHAUSTION