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Team Antigua arrival and the latest TWAC update

Nelson’s Dockyard has been seeing lots of action over the last two weeks since the record-breaking arrival of The Four Oarsmen on 12th January, completing the 2017 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 29 days, 14 hours, 34 minutes.

Following just 12 hours later was our very own Team Antigua, welcomed home by a huge crowd watching from every vantage point available. Their tremendous row saw them arriving within the previous record of 35 days, and setting a new record as fastest Antiguan team to row the Atlantic for their crossing time of 30 days, 2 hours and 12 minutes. Relive the arrival with footage from Atlantic Campaigns, ABS Television/Radio, and Observer Media Group.

Photo: Ben Duffy / Atlantic Campaigns.

Once welcomed by family and friends, Eli, John, Nico and Scott went off for their race interview, followed by a grand welcome ceremony with speeches from government officials and gift presentations. Then comes the food – the first official meal (after being handed bites at first landfall) was burgers and fries all around (thanks to Cloggy’s), plus sushi platters and treats in a hero’s spread by Copper and Lumber. It’s safe to say they indulged!

Not long after Team Antigua’s arrival at 9:45am, we gathered to welcome the Swiss Mocean guys at 12 noon, where we then had the top three teams on stage – The Four Oarsmen, Team Antigua, and Swiss Mocean. In the evening at around 7:30pm we welcomed crowd favourite and absolute machine Mark Slats, solo rower of Row 4 Cancer, smashing the solo record with his row completed in 30 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. In the fastest crossing to date, Antigua welcomed the top 4 teams in 24 hours, followed then on Sunday 14th January with the Irish boys Home to Portrush.

Photo: ABS Television/Radio.

Since the excitement began on 12th January, we’ve seen records fall with almost every arrival. So far we’ve welcomed the following teams in the 2017 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge: The Four Oarsmen, Team Antigua, Swiss Mocean, Row 4 Cancer (solo Mark Slats), Home to Portrush, Relentless, Kung Fu Cha Cha, Rowegians, Row 2 Recovery, Oardinary Boys, Wight Lightning, Atlantic 4, Saddle Sand Sea, Homeward Bound (solo Oliver Crane) and Carbon Zerow.

Still on the ocean, we’re waiting to welcome Oceanomads, Team Noble, Oarstruck, Nuts Over The Atlantic, Team Remolon (previously pairs, now solo Jorge Pena), Gullivers Travels (solo Damian Browne) and Atlantic Ladies.

Check out this great update from Lead Duty Officer Ian Couch on the fleet and stay tuned to the Atlantic Campaigns Facebook page for all race updates and live coverage of the arrivals. Track the fleet here.

Photo: Ted Martin.

Nico, Scott, John and Eli battled for 30 days through power issues and a resulting grueling sleep schedule, and still managed to power through and hold tight to second in the fleet through the second half of the challenge, after leading in 1st for the first few weeks. It was an epic battle to watch from land and an even greater experience to welcome them home.

Their motivation to keep pushing throughout lied in family and friends of course, and in their drive for their charity for the challenge. Team Antigua raised funds through the row to create a properly managed marine protected area in Antigua, and to help in Barbuda following devastation from Hurricane Irma. Their charity, Team Antigua Atlantic Rowers Ltd., is the non-profit they created that will plan and implement the marine park outside of Nelson’s Dockyard, in collaboration with National Parks Antigua. Funds raised and used by their charity are required to be publicized, assuring transparency in the use of donations.

Fundraising is ongoing, and donors and corporate sponsors are essential to create this properly managed Marine Park and aid in Barbuda. In Barbuda, if possible they’d like to help in the aspect of recycling following the hurricane, but would have to meet with officials first to determine where they can assist. For the Marine Park, Team Antigua would like to see protection enforced in the area with a marine patrol boat, plus moorings and scuba and snorkel trails, a ‘no anchor’ turtle foraging zone, and even coral farming. A protected area like this that allows marine life to thrive is not only essential for us as a coastal community dependent on marine resources, but also vital to our tourism product, the main contributor to our local economy. Donate to the charity to see this become a reality for the benefit of Antigua and Barbuda.

Drone photo of Team Antigua’s arrival by Phikwe Goodwin.

Back home now for just over two weeks, Team Antigua is readjusting well following lots of sleep and a few of their favourite meals on repeat. Watch Team Antigua’s first local interview at home after their arrival, with Antigua Barbuda Today on ABS Television/Radio. Look out for upcoming videos on the row from the team themselves.

Team Antigua owes their row and their charity project to the numerous generous donors and sponsors who got them to the start and continue to support their row for Antigua and Barbuda. Thank you to:

Adventure Antigua, HIHO, Sugar Ridge, Global Bank of Commerce, Falmouth Harbour Marina, Kitesurf Antigua, Epicurean, Kings Casino, Sabrina’s Café, Harney Motors, Digicel, Virgin Atlantic, Seagull Inflatables, Frank B. Armstrong, Antigua Charter Yacht Show, Yamaha Outdoor World, Automotive Art, Anjo Insurances, Antigua & Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping, Indigo Event Services, Sterlings, Cloggy’s, National Parks Antigua, All Source Export, Al Porto, Paddy Prendergast, Asher Otto and Itchyfeet, Absolute Properties, Nanny Cay Marina Tortola, Aquasports, Carib Bean Coffee, Woods Pharmacy, Antigua Sails, Tropiscapes Ltd., DJ Quixx, DJ Tanny, Antigua Yacht Club, Crock Culture, Tir Na Nog at Harbour Heights on Jumby Bay, Nubec, Observer Media Group, Allan Aflak, Roddy Grimes- Graeme of Acquafilms, Ondeck, Geest Line Shipping Service, Sanity4Life, Club House, Ana’s Restaurant, Dr Sengupta and Associates, and Gill USA, plus a number of anonymous sponsors and individual donors both financially and in kind.