What we are doing - and what is involved?

What is the race?

Team C has entered the 2005 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race. This is the 4th race in a series started by Sir Chay Blyth's organisation - Challenge Business - in 1997. Click here for details of this year's race - 2,935 nautical miles across the Atlantic from East to West - finishing in Antigua.  We are expecting to complete the course in about 55 days, although we will be aiming to cut as much time off that target as possible.

The first 3 races were from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Port St Charles, Barbados. 73 boats have so far completed the course, and the current record time was set in the 2003 race by the New Zealand crew in Holiday Shoppe - taking 40 days, 5 hours, 31 mins. Click below for the results from the previous three races that have been held.

2003 Race results



2001 Race results



1997 Race results



[Photographs courtesy of Woodvale, Richard Blake and Tim Huelin]

The course for the 2005 race is from the same start point to English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua - 22 nautical miles further than the previous course and some 2,935 nautical miles (or 5491 km). If you are trying to get your head around how far that is, think of crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais 132 times (without the fry up breakfast on the ferry!!).

What are the boats like?

All entrants have boats which are based on identical kits. They are designed to be self-righting, and have a small cabin in the stern in which to shelter/sleep etc. (Follow this link to see further detail of the boat design and layout).

What is involved?

It is quite simple really - all crews start together and the first boat to get to the finish line under their own steam wins - BUT if you accept any outside assistance, you are disqualified, so you have to be totally self sufficient for the entire race - that means taking enough food for the entire crossing, having a watermaker that can provide drinkable (just about) water and resisting temptation to hitch a ride from a passing boat or rigging up a sail to speed up the crossing.

When is all this happening?

The race starts from La Gomera, Canary Islands on 27th November 2005. The course runs West across the Atlantic Ocean to the finish line in Antigua, and we hope to be there in mid January 2006.

But the hard work has already begun - previous participants have told us that the time spent on preparation is, in many ways, harder than the time spent in the race.

For us, that preparation involves:

  • Going on the necessary courses in navigation, first aid, sea survival skills (not forgetting the courses necessary to be in a position to repair anything that might break down - within reason!)
  • Refurbishing the boat we have bought - it has done the race twice before, and whilst it is in pretty good condition, it could do with a new coat of paint, and the rowing fittings will inevitably need replacing.
  • Sorting out food for 2 people for 90 days (although we hope to be on dry land sooner than that, you need to build in a margin for the unforeseen)
  • Sorting out the clothes and other essentials
  • Arranging transport for the boat (and us) to the Canary Islands and back from Antigua
  • Raising funds for our chosen charities, so that our efforts are truly worthwhile
  • Click here to find a list of questions that we have asked (and so have many other people) in order to get a better understanding of what is involved, and how it all works.