Roughly 52 days and 3,000 nautical miles later, crewmemberDylan Jones and teammate Sam Weir completed what’s known as the world’stoughest row — the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which they startedpreparing for last January and embarked on this past December to raise money for the Make-A-Wish AustraliaFoundation.
While they didn’t achieve their goal of breaking the worldrecord by completing the row under 40 days, the time they did make was just asnoteworthy — fast enough to win the Pairs Pure class and outrace a few four-manteams.
That’s even more impressive considering the rough start theyhad — Weir struggled with seasickness during the first week, and they changedtheir 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 hisseat, resulting in a fractured elbow. “Whereas the concept boats, which areaffected by the wind more than us in the pure class, were able to get ahead ofit and use the wind to their advantage, we just got smashed around for a fewdays,” says Jones. “Sam did an amazing job to keep going despite all this. Idon’t get sea sick and I didn’t have a fractured elbow to contend with, but itwas still difficult mentally and physically in that first week adjustmentperiod.”
He and Weir resisted the temptation to stop and rest so theywouldn’t be out at sea even longer or drift off course and have to work evenharder to regain their track. Instead, they broke it down by focusing on onerowing 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, itchallenged us and tested us the whole way,” says Jones. “Being wet, sleepdeprived 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. “Itmade me realize how much I can push myself, and what you are capable of if youjust 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 toreceive a final tally for their funds, but Jones is expecting it to besomewhere just under $10,000 AUD.
Weir is now focusing on his ultra marathon training againand next up for Jones is a return to yachting, but not before he goes for theworld record for the million meter row on the rowing machine as part of a10-man team to help raise money for the Plastic Soup Foundation. You can stilldonate to their cause through their GoFundMe page.