Devon crews nearing the end of their Atlantic crossing

This week's pic from Elijah's Star. All in a good mood

All in a good mood on Elijah's Star - Credit: Elijah's Star

The fourth week has seen the remaining 35 ocean rowing boats, including two crews from Devon, eye the finish in their task of completing the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest row organised by Atlantic Campaigns.    

Thirty-six crews left San Sebastian de La Gomera on December 12 in the 3,000-mile unsupported rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands (280N 180W) to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda (170N 610W). 

The 36 competing crews included four solos, 10 pairs, six trios, 15 fours and one five.  

The leading crew, Swiss Raw, have less than 500 nautical miles to the finish and are predicted to arrive on Sunday, January 16, which would be a crossing time of less than 36 days.   

The past week has produced a few incidents including a capsize and Wrekin Rowers crew reporting a Marlin strike. 

In 2020/21, there were four marlin strikes. The message from the crew stated: “Fortunately, no one is injured but it has pierced through two sections of boat and up into the deck. 

"We have done the best we can to repair it for now, but with the extra weight of water on board, it is likely to slow us down significantly.”   

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The two South Devon crews have remained competitive with solid performances to maintain their positions over the past week.  

Team ‘Elijah’s Star’ made up of Dean Frost (52), who lives on the river Dart at Stoke Gabriel, and his three friends from school days, Phil Bigland (53), Jason Kerr (50) and Lee McCarthy (51), are now less than 1,000 nautical miles from the finish but have moved up from 19th to 18th rowing 70 nautical miles a day. 

Their predicted arrival is January 25 in a time of 45 days.  

The Salcombe Estuary pair of Guy Rigby (68) and David Murray (56), aboard ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’ still have 1,200 nautical miles to the finish and have slipped from 25th to 26th, averaging 50 nautical miles a day. 

Huge waves alongside Elijah's Star mid Atlantic

The view from Elijah's Star - Credit: Elijah's Star