Dan Parsons and Olly Clark, have won in the Pairs Class of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, by completing the 3,000 mile crossing in 42 days, 17 hours and 59 minutes in their concept ocean rowing boat.
Described by organisers, Atlantic Campaigns, as ‘the toughest rowing race on earth’. The pair rowed from the Canary Islands to Antigua to raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Prostate Cancer UK. They arrived in English Harbour, at 23:23hrs on 31st January (local time), where they were welcomed by family, friends and supporters.
“This is the first time I’ve taken on a challenge to this scale” said Dan, who has been given three months off work by his employer and sponsor Gocycle. “We’ve experienced 30-40kn storms, a near miss with a cargo ship, a night capsize, horrific hallucinations from sleep deprivation, regular power failures that meant no water and auto-helm, and the most horrendous bottom sores. But to come through with a win and to have raised a huge amount of money for charity has made the sweat and tears worthwhile.”
The boys, rowing under the name Team Atlantic Challenge, have raised over £80,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Prostate Cancer UK.
Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said of the incredible challenge: “Olly and Dan have really done the Charity proud for their tremendous efforts. Undertaking such a huge task as this alone speaks volumes for their courage and determination, yet they both have had to do this battle against major storms and capsize. Their fundraising efforts are not only appreciated at the Charity, but by those soldiers, veterans and family members who may need our help.”
More people have been in space than have rowed across the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, the crossing has taken a heavy toll on the boys – physically their weight loss is noticeable, and their hands, feet and backsides are sore and in need of medical attention. However, their spirits have remained positive throughout, and their friendship is stronger than ever.
Olly, a Captain with the Royal Engineers said: “During our darkest times, we maintained morale by reading messages from our family and friends. We could not have completed this challenge without the constant support we’ve received – from our sponsors and friends before the challenge started and while we were in the middle of the Atlantic – we are forever in your debt.”