The 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge started on the 12th of December 2018 in San Sebastian, La Gomera, with 28 boats in the water.

The globe’s premier ocean-rowing race ended on the 27th of February 2019 in English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda, when the last member of the fleet rowed into Nelson’s Dockyard.

From the low lands to the high seas

The winners of the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge stepped on to land for the first time in 34 days with Champagne in their eyes and salt on their skin. Dutch foursome Bart Adema, Erik Koning, David de Bruijn, and Marcel Ates reached out to embrace their loved ones as photographers documented their arrival under Antigua’s night sky.

It was 23h19 on the 15th of January 2019. Nelson’s Dockyard was gently lit by fading flares and harbour lights. Cameras clicked and flashed. Torch beams followed the triumphant teammates as they moved through the crowd to accept hugs and handshakes. Welcoming words echoed from friends and strangers alike.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please,” said race organiser Carsten Heron Olsen from his makeshift podium on the dock. “Here we are at the finish line of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2018. The flag we’re going to raise tonight is… Dutch!”

Hundreds of hands clapped in unison as Bart, Erik, David, and Marcel lifted their weary arms in delighted acknowledgement. Their epic adventure on the high seas was over, but they’d accomplished something extraordinary. Together.

Five years ago, during a rowing race in their home country, the men encountered weather conditions that tested their hearts and minds. The wind measured 7 on the Beaufort scale (between 50km/h and 60km/h) and the waves crashed over the bow of their sloop. Daunted, but undeterred, they summoned all their strength and rowed against the gales. Their hands were bleeding by the time they completed the race – but they were victorious! It was the first win in the history of their rowing club. And it encouraged them to aim higher.

Bart, Erik, David, and Marcel went on to win rowing races across the Netherlands, and in Belgium and Ireland, too. They entered the Crazy River Race in Russia for a taste of the unknown: they rowed non-stop along the Volga River for 18 hours to cover a distance of 145km. In a media interview after the event, they joked that their next challenge would be an ocean crossing!

Their vodka-fuelled celebrations may have given rise to the idea of a 3000-mile group expedition across the Atlantic, but their deep-seated determination made it a reality. And today, the Dutch Atlantic Four belong to an extraordinary community of people whose lives have been changed by the mighty ocean.

Here’s a closer look at the 2018 teams, their race performances, and the worthy causes they supported along the way. Check out their websites to learn more about their campaigns, or follow them on social media to see what they’re doing now…

1ST | DUTCH ATLANTIC FOUR

Members of the Dutch Atlantic Four hold up their race flag in Antigua

ARRIVAL

15 January 2019 @ 23h19

RACE TIME

34 days, 12 hours and 9 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

1st overall, 1st in Fours

COUNTRY

The Netherlands

ROWERS

Bart Adema, Erik Koning, David de Bruijn and Marcel Ates

CAUSES

Kika and Precious Plastic

WEBSITE

www.dutchatlanticfour.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @dutchatlanticfour

Instagram – @dutchatlanticfour

Twitter – @fourdutch

2ND | OAR INSPIRING

The members of Oar Inspiring arrive in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, on their rowing boat

ARRIVAL

16 January 2019 @ 19h25

RACE TIME

35 days, 8 hours and 5 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

2nd overall, 2nd in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

George Blandford, Caspar Thorp, Toby Thorp and Justin Evelegh

CAUSE

The Starlight Children’s Foundation

WEBSITE

www.oarinspiring.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @oarinspiring

Instagram – @oarinspiringrow

Twitter – @Starlightrowers

3RD | NAUTI BUOYS

nauti buoys rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

18 January 2019 @ 05h49

RACE TIME

36 days, 19 hours and 9 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fives

RACE POSITION

3rd overall, 1st in Fives

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Matthieu Poudevigne, Paul Heerema, Hector Strickland, Rory Ormiston and Nicholas Rakowski

CAUSE

Cancer Research UK

WEBSITE

www.thenautibuoys.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @thenautibuoysRC

Instagram – @thenautibuoys

Twitter – @thenautibuoys

4TH | MAD 4 WAVES

south african rowers mad4waves arrive in antigua

ARRIVAL

20 January 2019 @ 19h43

RACE TIME

39 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

4th overall, 3rd in Fours

COUNTRY

South Africa

ROWERS

Cole Barnard, Lee Gordon, Grant Soll and Matthew Boynton

CAUSE

The Make A Difference Leadership Foundation

WEBSITE

www.mad4waves.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @MAD4waves

Instagram – @mad4waves

5TH | ROW 4 VICTORY

row 4 victory rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

21 January 2019 @ 03h32

RACE TIME

39 days, 16 hours and 42 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

5th overall, 4th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Fraser Mowlem, Will Quarmby, Glyn Sadler and Duncan Roy

CAUSES

The Royal British Legion

Soldier On!

WEBSITE

www.row4victory.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @Row4Victory

Instagram – @row4victory

Twitter – @Row4Victory

6TH | ATLANTIC DISCOVERY

atlantic discovery rowers arrive in antigua

ARRIVAL

22 January 2019 @ 10h48

RACE TIME

40 days, 23 hours and 33 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

6th overall, 5th in Fours

COUNTRIES

UK and South Africa

ROWERS

Ben Ajayi-Obe, Isaac Kenyon, Jack Hopkins and Cameron Parker

CAUSES

The Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Berkshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

WEBSITE

www.atlanticdiscovery.co.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @AtlanticDiscovery

Instagram – @atlantic_discovery

Twitter – @atlanticdisc18

7TH | THE TRANSATLANTIC TRAFFORDS

transatlantic traffords arrive in antigua

ARRIVAL

22 January 2019 @ 16h17

RACE TIME

41 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Trio

RACE POSITION

7th overall, 1st in Trio

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

James Trafford, Hugo Trafford and Joe Trafford

CAUSE

St Christopher’s Hospice

WEBSITE

www.transatlantictraffords.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @TraffordsgoTransatlantic

Instagram – @transatlantic_traffords

8TH | TEAM TYNE INNOVATION

team tyne innovation arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

23 January 2019 @ 21h56

RACE TIME

42 days, 10 hours and 26 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

8th overall, 6th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Phil Kite, Allan Huntly, Steve Sidaway and Claire Hughes

CAUSES

Daft As A Brush Cancer Patient Care

The Stroke Association

WEBSITE

www.teamtyneinnovation.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @teamtyneinnovation

Instagram – @team_tyne

Twitter – @Team_Tyne

9TH | ROW ROW ROW OUR BOAT

row row row our boat arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

24 January 2019 @ 00h28

RACE TIME

42 days, 12 hours and 53 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

9th overall, 7th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Andrew Williams, Nick Wright, Johnny Bayley and Andrew Burns

CAUSES

Over The Wall

St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital

WEBSITE

www.r3ob.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @R30B2018

Instagram – @r3ob2018

Twitter – @r3ob2018

10TH | ROW FOR THE OCEAN

row for the ocean arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

24 January 2019 @ 13h25

RACE TIME

43 days, 2 hours and 20 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

10th overall, 8th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Kirsty Barker, Kate Salmon, Laura Try and Rosalind West

CAUSE

Surfers Against Sewage

WEBSITE

www.rowfortheocean.co.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @rowfortheocean

Instagram – @rowfortheocean

Twitter – @RowForTheOcean

11TH | ATLANTIC SEAMEN

atlantic seamen arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

24 January 2019 @ 15h33

RACE TIME

43 days, 4 hours and 8 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

11th overall, 9th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Jon Davis, Alex Fawcett, Andy Grant and Andrew Berry

CAUSES

The Urology Foundation

Children’s Hospice South West

WEBSITE

http://atlanticseamen.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – Atlantic Seamen – Atlantic Row 2018

Instagram – @atlanticseamen

Twitter – @AtlanticSeamen

12TH | ASTRO TO ATLANTIC

astro to atlantic rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

27 January 2019 @ 02h09

RACE TIME

45 days, 15 hours and 14 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

12th overall, 10th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Helen Symons, Louise Read, Chloe Harvey and Emily Read

CAUSE

The Devon Air Ambulance Trust

WEBSITE

www.astro-to-atlantic.co.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @astrotoatlantic

Instagram – @astrotoatlantic

Twitter – @astrotoatlantic

13TH | TEAM ANTIGUA – THE ISLAND GIRLS

team antigua island girls arrival in english harbour

ARRIVAL

28 January 2019 @ 19h10

RACE TIME

47 days, 8 hours and 25 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

13th overall, 11th in Fours

COUNTRY

Antigua & Barbuda

ROWERS

Kevinia Francis, Samara Emmanuel, Christal Clashing and Elvira Bell

CAUSE

Cottage of Hope

WEBSITE

www.antiguabarbudaislandgirls.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @teamantiguaislandgirls

Instagram – @team_antigua_island_girls

Twitter – @ANUIslandGirls

14TH | MEN OF OAR

men of oar rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

29 January 2019 @ 22h37

RACE TIME

47 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fives

RACE POSITION

14th overall, 2nd in Fives

COUNTRY

UK and Germany

ROWERS

Robin Drysdale, David Wallis, Will Theakston, Sam Bolt-Lawrence and Guillaume Vanderwinden

CAUSES

Combat Stress

Bowel Cancer UK

WEBSITE

www.menofoar.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @Menofoar

Instagram – @menofoar

Twitter – @menofoar

15TH | THE WOLFPACK GYM POWERED BY GARMIN

wolfpack gym powered by garmin rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

30 January 2019 @ 14h44

RACE TIME

49 days, 2 hours and 29 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Pairs

RACE POSITION

15th overall, 1st in Pairs

COUNTRY

Denmark

ROWERS

Mads Vangso and Lasse Hansen

CAUSE

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef)

WEBSITE

www.thewolfpackgym.dk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @TheWolfpackGymTeam

Instagram – @thewolfpackgymteam

Twitter – @TWGTeam

16TH | WHALE OF A TIME

whale of a time row arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

31 January 2019 @ 18h03

RACE TIME

50 days, 5 hours and 53 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Pairs

RACE POSITION

16th overall, 2nd in Pairs

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Jemma Rix and Lauren Woodwiss

CAUSES

Cancer Research UK

The Mintridge Foundation

Fareshare

WEBSITE

www.whaleofatime.co.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @whaleofatimerow

Instagram – @whaleofatimerow

Twitter – @whaleofatimerow

17TH | HEADS TOGETHER AND ROW

heads together and row arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

1 February 2019 @ 10h23

RACE TIME

50 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

17th overall, 12th in Fours

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Toby Gould, Jeremy Reynolds, Justin Coleman and Alison Wannell

CAUSES

Mind

Combat Stress

The Marine Conservation Society

WEBSITE

www.headstogetherandrow.org.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @HeadsTogetherandRow

Instagram – @headstogetherandrow

Twitter – @htandrow

18TH | ROW 4 ALS

row 4 als rowing team arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

1 February 2019 @ 22h32

RACE TIME

51 days, 11 hours and 57 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fives

RACE POSITION

18th overall, 3rd in Fives

COUNTRY

USA

ROWERS

Tim Ryan, Alan Alderman, Teddy Waldo, Dale Smith and Brian Armstrong

CAUSES

The ALS Association

The ALS clinic at the University of Utah

WEBSITE

www.row4als.org

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @Row4ALS

Instagram – @row4als

Twitter – @row4als

19TH | AU LARGE – L’ATLANTIQUE EN SOLIDAIRE

au large rowing team arrive in antigua

ARRIVAL

2 February 2019 @ 12h56

RACE TIME

52 days and 51 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Pairs

RACE POSITION

19th overall, 3rd in Pairs

COUNTRY

France

ROWERS

Nicolas Saint-Bris and Guillaume Barrage

CAUSE

L’Ecole à l’Hôpital

WEBSITE

www.atlantique-en-solidaire.fr

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @atlantique.en.solidaire

Instagram – @atlantique_en_solidaire

Twitter – @Au_Large_Ocean

20TH | FIGHT OAR DIE

fight oar die arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

4 February 2019 @ 20h43

RACE TIME

54 days, 9 hours and 3 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Fours

RACE POSITION

20th overall, 13th in Fours

COUNTRY

USA

ROWERS

Alex Evans, Beau Maier, Bryant Knight and Chris Kuntz

CAUSE

Fight Oar Die

WEBSITE

www.usvetrow.org

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @fightoardie

Instagram – @fightoardie

Twitter – @FightOarDie

21ST | THE WILD OARSMAN

wild oarsman lukas haitzmann arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

9 February 2019 @ 16h17

RACE TIME

59 days, 3 hours and 52 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Solo

RACE POSITION

21st overall, 1st in Solo

COUNTRIES

UK, Italy and Austria

ROWER

Lukas Haitzmann

WEBSITE

www.lukashaitzmann.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @thewildoarsman

Instagram – @thewildoarsman

Twitter – @thewildoarsman

22ND | STATUS ROW

status row arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

11 February 2019 @ 20h37

RACE TIME

61 days, 8 hours and 47 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Trio

RACE POSITION

22nd overall, 2nd in Trio

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Susan Ronaldson, Caroline Wilson and Jessica Rego

CAUSE

The Marine Conservation Society

WEBSITE

www.statusrow.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @statusrow

Instagram – @statusrow

Twitter – @StatusRow

23RD | GRANDADS OF THE ATLANTIC

grandads of the atlantic arrival antigua

ARRIVAL

13 February 2019 @ 12h42

RACE TIME

63 days and 22 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Pairs

RACE POSITION

23rd overall, 4th in Pairs

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Neil Young and Peter Ketley

CAUSES

Royal British Legion Industries

Dreams Come True

Support Our Paras

WEBSITE

www.grandadsoftheatlantic.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @GrandadsRow

Instagram – @grandadsoftheatlantic

Twitter – @GrandadsRow

24TH | TAME THE KRAKEN

tame the kraken tim crockett arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

13 February 2019 @ 15h07

RACE TIME

63 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Solo

RACE POSITION

24th overall, 2nd in Solo

COUNTRY

USA and UK

ROWER

Tim Crockett

CAUSES

Combat Stress

Give An Hour

WEBSITE

www.tamethekraken.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @TametheKraken

Instagram – @TametheKraken

Twitter – @rowatlantic

25TH | DIFFERENT WORLDS

different worlds michelle lee arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

19 February 2019 @ 01h29

RACE TIME

68 days, 12 hours and 49 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Solo

RACE POSITION

25th overall, 3rd in Solo

COUNTRY

Australia

ROWER

Michelle Lee

WEBSITE

www.differentworlds.com.au

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @FirstAustralianFemale

Instagram – @firstaustralianfemale

Twitter – @SoloRower1

26TH | THE BLUE ROWER

the blue rower isaac giesen arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

21 February 2019 @ 08h22

RACE TIME

70 days, 19 hours and 37 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Solo

RACE POSITION

26th overall, 4th in Solo

COUNTRY

New Zealand

ROWER

Isaac Giesen

CAUSES

Bravehearts

Black Dog Institute

Victim Support New Zealand

WEBSITE

www.thebluerower.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @thebluerower

Instagram – @thebluerower

Twitter – @thebluerower

27TH | ROW TO RAISE

row to raise kelda wood arrival in antigua

ARRIVAL

27 February 2019 @ 04h12

RACE TIME

76 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes

RACE CATEGORY

Solo

RACE POSITION

27th overall, 5th in Solo

COUNTRY

UK

ROWER

Kelda Wood

CAUSE

Climbing Out

WEBSITE

www.rowtoraise.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @RowToRaise

Instagram – @kelda_wood

Twitter – @rowtoraise

DID NOT FINISH | ATLANTIC ALBATROSS

atlantic albatross lizzie gill mark agnew rescued

RACE CATEGORY

Pairs

COUNTRY

UK

ROWERS

Lizzie Gill and Mark Agnew

CAUSES

Eikon

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

Dyslexia Scotland

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

WEBSITE

www.atlanticalbatross.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook – @AtlanticAlbatrossRow

Twitter – @theatlanticteam

RACE RETIREMENT

On the 17th of December 2018, Atlantic Campaigns released a statement to announce Atlantic Albatross’s retirement from the race: “As many of our followers are aware, the team have been on para anchor for the last 39 hours whilst trying to solve challenges on board. After many years of effort to get to the start, tremendous hard work and dedication, the conditions experienced and issues faced were such that they are unable to continue. Though every effort is made to help rowers continue and succeed, sometimes the best and toughest decision is to stop.”

Rowers Lizzie Gill and Mark Agnew were picked up by the support yacht Skye and taken to Cape Verde, before their repatriation home. Fellow competitors and spectators from around the world reached out to offer support and encouragement to the pair. We certainly hope to see Atlantic Albatross back on the waves in future races!

A memorable year and a milestone on the horizon

Atlantic Campaigns CEO Carsten Heron Olsen thanked the rowing teams for making the 2018 race so special. “Each year you think that it can’t be any better than this, but you know, these teams, these rowers, these inspirational souls… keep surprising us in a positive way,” he said in English Harbour shortly after Kelda Wood’s arrival.

Olsen also paid tribute to his Atlantic Campaigns colleagues and support staff. “They’re incredible. And they love what they do.”

Looking ahead to the next edition of the race, Olsen said preparation is well under way for what’s shaping up to be an epic event. “The 2019 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge… It will be the biggest race we’ve ever organised.”

At present, 36 teams are listed as 2019 entrants. Melokuhle is one of them. Roll on, December!

Acknowledgement: The 2018 race images featured in this article were taken by Ben Duffy and Ted Martin – two of the photographers who capture the most magical moments of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

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