The challenge: Row across the Atlantic Ocean in a boat with a tiny cabin as its only shelter from bad weather. Row, row, row your boat -- despite circling sharks, storms, salt rashes, blisters and no sleep.
This ain't the America's Cup.
The World's 8 Most Grueling Endurance Events
Competitors vying for victory in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge cast off today from the Canary Islands. They're headed for Antigua 3,000 nautical miles away with only their arms to propel their vessels. (Google Maps suggests flying there.) In past years the grueling race generally lasted between 40 and 90 days, depending on crew size.
"More people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than rowed the Atlantic," the Challenge's website says. Given the tough conditions and duration, this isn't surprising.
The rules dictate that competitors use boats no larger than about 25 by 6 feet. That's not really enough room to walk around. Fortunately the boats, which are made from all kinds of materials, have solar panels to power that crucial GPS and other basic electronics. They have desalination equipment to produce drinking water. And they have tracking beacons.
Each boat gets 90 days' worth of rations. Anyone who runs out gets disqualified.
Last year 16 crews started the race in December 2013, and only 11 made it to the finish line. Bad weather forced teams to shelter in place for several days. A 20-foot marlin put a huge hole in one crew's boat. Solo rower Andrew Abrahams split his knee when his boat capsized, but still finished in 57 days.
Stand Up Paddle Boarder Attempting Atlantic Crossing
Solo rowers, pairs, and fours are taking to the waves for a total of 26 teams. They include an all-amputee team of ex-servicemen, a 19-year-old student, and two all-female crews.
The UK team Row Like A Girl came together after rower Lauren Morton and her rowing partner had to bail last year on Day 96. A broken rudder pulled their boat too far off course. Now it's redemption time.
via The Adventure Blog