The Challenge


The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (December 2022) is the premier event in ocean rowing. The challenge takes rowers more than 4800 kilometres (3000 miles) west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda. The annual race begins in early December, with up to 30 teams participating from around the world. Weeks before the race begins, the rowing teams and the world's media begin to gather in the race village in San Sebastian. The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the once-in-a-lifetime challenge of crossing the mighty Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat. The preparation culminates in a leaving party the night before the race begins, where nerves and excitement hit fever-pitch.

The mental and physical endurance required to complete the challenge is extreme - more people have been to space or climbed Mt Everest than have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. Each competitor will row for two hours and rest for two hours, twenty-four hours a day, every day. Teams will battle sleep deprivation, salt sores, dehydration, hallucinations, sun stroke and waves of up to 30ft. Each rower burns more than 5,000 calories per day, resulting in an average weight loss of 12kg during the row. The average crossing takes around 42 days but is hugely dependent on weather conditions - in the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, having lost his rudder on the 56th day! Below is the 2019 race summary video: