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Oceanomads: A Year Later

Mar 20th 18
By Hillary Hoffower

Roughly 52 days and 3,000 nautical miles later, crewmember Dylan Jones and teammate Sam Weir completed what’s known as the world’s toughest row — the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which they started preparing for last January and embarked on this past December to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Australia Foundation. 

  

While they didn’t achieve their goal of breaking the world record by completing the row under 40 days, the time they did make was just as noteworthy — fast enough to win the Pairs Pure class and outrace a few four-man teams. 

  

That’s even more impressive considering the rough start they had — Weir struggled with seasickness during the first week, and they changed their course to make the boat’s movement better until he overcame it. This, however, put them on the wrong end of nasty weather. A wave knocked Sam off his seat, resulting in a fractured elbow. “Whereas the concept boats, which are affected by the wind more than us in the pure class, were able to get ahead of it and use the wind to their advantage, we just got smashed around for a few days,” says Jones. “Sam did an amazing job to keep going despite all this. I don’t get sea sick and I didn’t have a fractured elbow to contend with, but it was still difficult mentally and physically in that first week adjustment period.” 

  

He and Weir resisted the temptation to stop and rest so they wouldn’t be out at sea even longer or drift off course and have to work even harder to regain their track. Instead, they broke it down by focusing on one rowing shift at a time, one day at a time. 

  

“The overall experience was definitely one we won’t forget; from the preparation leading up to crossing and throughout the race, it challenged us and tested us the whole way,” says Jones. “Being wet, sleep deprived with sores all over your body, and just overall uncomfortable 24/7, combined with the thought of how far you have to go before it is over, was difficult.” 

  

“I feel like we both learned a lot from the row,” he added. “It made me realize how much I can push myself, and what you are capable of if you just accept your situation and tell yourself that you won’t let it beat you.” 

  

With one more event to wrap it all up, they’ve yet to receive a final tally for their funds, but Jones is expecting it to be somewhere just under $10,000 AUD. 

  

Weir is now focusing on his ultra marathon training again and next up for Jones is a return to yachting, but not before he goes for the world record for the million meter row on the rowing machine as part of a 10-man team to help raise money for the Plastic Soup Foundation. You can still donate to their cause through their GoFundMe page. 

 



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