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A quartet of hardy seafarers paid a visit to the Highlands at the end of last month to test the choppy West Coast waters ahead of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge.
In December the Atlantic Nomads, aka Euan Fraser (Saltcoats), Taylor Winyard (Peebles), James Wooley (London) and Tom Rose (Battersea) will be leaving the safety of La Gomera in the Canary Islands and rowing unsupported 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Antigua in the Caribbean.
Known as ‘The Worlds Toughest Row’, the challenge will strip the team of all the comforts of modern life and test every part of their mental and physical resilience.
On their latest visit to the Highlands, the team based themselves at Dunstaffnage Marina near Oban from where they tested their skills on our side of the Atlantic with ‘Doris’ their 28ft ocean rowing boat.
‘We wanted to test ourselves in changing and challenging conditions and there is nowhere better to do that than on the West Coast,’ said Euan.
The team left Dunstaffnage on Monday, August 16, and rowed around the Firth of Lorn, up through the Sound of Mull and beyond.
‘We practiced lots of different skills and drills in some fairly rough conditions,’ added Euan.
‘It has been a really successful training camp during which we covered everything we will have to do for our row across the Atlantic.
Essentially the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge is a race and the Atlantic Nomads will be up against 18 other ‘fours’ with singles, pairs, trios and fives also competing to make up 38 entries in total.
‘It’s not just about the race for us,’ said Euan. ‘It is about getting out there and doing something that will test us as a team to the limit.
‘Ultimately we will be trying to get to Antigua as quick as we can and to do this we will be giving it absolutely the best shot we can.’
In the race itself the Nomads will be rowing on a rotational basis with two hours on and two hours off. When they are not rowing they will trying to catch up on some much needed rest in two tiny cabins hardly big enough to swing a shark.
In order to maintain their energy levels they are required to take on 6000 calories per day. Mostly taken in through dry ration packs.
‘We tested this out two during the training camp and found they were surprisingly ok,’ said Euan.
‘We can however take limited snacks so I will be tucking away some Tunnocks Caramel Wafers too.’
The team have also mastered the onboard water maker which turns the sea water into something more drinkable. Toilet facilities are also limited.
‘We have been friends for a long time so an adventure like this should only bring us closer,’ added Euan. ‘I think.’
As well as competing in the race the team will also be raising funding and awareness for Alabare UK – Homes for Veterans in the process. To donate go to the Atlantic Nomads Virgin Money Giving page.
To find out more about the team and the challenges they will face together, as well as the work of their charity partners, follow them on Instagram @atlanticnomads, or visit atlanticnomads.co.uk.