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The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2018: Meet the teams

11 December 2018

Today, 28 teams will battle it out to be the fastest to row across the Atlantic. As the start line approaches, we find out how our SunGod teams are preparing….

“To overcome one of the most extreme environments on the planet will be the adventure of a lifetime…”

In a herculean effort to raise funds for their chosen charity, these 28 teams will face the adventure of a lifetime as they attempt to conquer the almighty breadth of the Atlantic Ocean in the mighty Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. This year, SunGod will make this 3,000-mile journey with two of these teams, Row For The Ocean and The Nauti Buoys, as they battle the elements to claim the top spot. We catch up with them as they make their final preparations...

Driven by grit and determination, these teams will row for 3,000 miles from La Gomera to Antigua. Photo: Row for the Ocean

1. Please introduce yourselves!

TNB: We are Hector, Nick, Matthieu, Paul and Rory AKA, the Nauti Buoys! We’re a mixed bag of a team employed in finance, digital marketing, architecture and two doctors!

RFTO: We’re team Row For The Ocean made up of Ros, Kate, Kirsty and Laura. We are one of three women’s fours in this year’s race. We all have different jobs as a physio, a Met Office scientist, a social media manager and a public realm designer.

The Nauti Buoys at the start line in La GomeraPhoto: The Nauti Buoys

2. Why take on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

TNB: For us, it’s always been about taking on the challenge of a lifetime to overcome one of the most extreme environments on the planet. The event will change our perspective on the world and potentially impact the direction the rest of our lives take.

RFTO: We want to use the row as a platform to inspire change and tackle the issue of plastic in our oceans.

Each team is battling across the Atlantic in aid of their chosen charityPhoto: Row for the Ocean

3. How many hours training will you have done by the time you get to the start line?

TNB: The race requires a minimum of 100 hours training which we have more than surpassed! It’s more than just rowing though, it’s been a 2 year journey learning how to survive on the ocean both mentally and physically.

RFTO: Too many to count! Each week we’re doing at least 6 hours on the ergos with weights sessions and water outings when possible. Last week we each did 100km in over 5 days to really toughen up the hands!

Matt from the Nauti Buoys makes some final preparations ahead of the racePhoto: The Nauti Buoys

4. What excites you most about the row?

TNB: Thinking about the impact it will have on our lives and how we will adapt to the conditions!

RFTO: Thinking about nothing but the row will be a relief and seeing the stars at night will be breath-taking! Surfing down our first big wave should be pretty epic too!

Ros and Kirsty from Row For The Ocean take a turn behind the oars during training Photo: Row For The Ocean

5. Have you set a goal for finishing the row?

TNB: The race itself is so weather dependent so setting a time is hard but if we can place in the race it will be a tremendous achievement.

RFTO: We’re all keen to be competitive and our top goal is to be the first women’s team to reach Antigua. If we happen to beat a few of the men’s teams then that’s even better!

Hector from the Nauti Buoys takes a moment to refuel during trainingPhoto: The Nauti Buoys

6. What will you miss most while out on the Atlantic?

TNB: I think this row will highlight everything we take for granted like running water, a bed, security, peace of mind and a proper toilet!

RFTO: Friends and family are top of the list alongside running water and using a normal loo!

"Luckily our jobs have been supportive but we’ve all sacrificed a lot to get to this point."Photo: Row For The Ocean

7. Are there any hidden talents within the team?

TNB: Whether it’s our two doctors who are capable of performing brain surgery blind folded or Hector’s renditions of Justin Timberlake anthems, it’s safe to say we are a talented bunch!

RFTO: Kirsty is surprisingly good to at catching food in her mouth whilst rowing which is useful when she needs a little power-up on the oars! Kate is also a great singer so has already been practicing her Christmas carols for our festivities – we can only hope this includes Wham!

"The event organisers joke that if we can get to the start line fully prepared and ready to go, that’s the hardest part done!"Photo: The Nauti Buoys

8. Do you have a go-to power song to keep spirits high?

TNB: YES. Without a shadow of a doubt it’s "Hooked On A Feeling" by Blue Swede. Somewhat of a team anthem!

RFTO: We’ve actually all got pretty different music tastes but we've found this is actually great on our training rows as it brings a bit if variety. We’ll definitely have some 80’s songs blaring at some point in the middle of the Atlantic though...

All smiles for the Nauti Buoys as they make their final preparations Photo: The Nauti Buoys

9. What’s the most important thing you will be bringing with you?

TNB: The Keys to the motor are definitely up there! Our boat came with a keyring from English Harbour Antigua, where we will finish the race. This will serve as a nice reminder of the gold at the end of the rainbow!

RFTO: We’re each bringing notes from friends and family to be opened in our lowest moments. We’re yet to find a small team mascot though, unfortunately we can’t take a team dog across!

"During the Row, life will become about living in the moment, we will be completely at the mercy of the weather!"Photo: Row For The Ocean

10. What’s the first thing you’ll do when you set foot on dry land again?

TNB: Trying to stay balanced and not fall over after all our time at sea will be a challenge! As a team we joke about the four B’s getting to Antigua- we’ll want a Burger, Beer, Bath and undoubtedly a Bed!

RFTO: Shower! Having that moment underneath the running water is said to be one of the best experiences when you finish. We’ve also talked a lot about first meals so lots of eating will also be involved.

"We’ve all made a lot of sacrifices to be where we are at this point- it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve made it work."Photo: The Nauti Buoys

Incredible words from two incredible teams. To get to the start line alone is a phenomenal achievement and in the coming weeks, we will see what they are truly made of. It's not too late to get behind them, simply head to their Just Giving pages to show your support to each teams chosen charity, Surfers Against Sewage for Row For The Ocean and Cancer Research for the Nauti Buoys.

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