A swell time on the ocean wavedespite the constant challenges

Local man Robin Drysdale and his Men of Oar team-mates are nearing the half-way stage of their Atlantic Ocean rowing challenge.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 11:05 am
Robin Drysdale

They are three weeks into The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, rowing 3,000 nautical miles – completely self-supported – from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

The team have had daily challenges to contend with, says Robin, providing an update from the mid-Atlantic.

Men of Oar.

He said: “To date we have broken and fixed the boat steering, the watermaker, our batteries and a rowing seat.

“The discharge of the batteries has probably been our biggest issue to overcome. Overuse of one of the batteries inhibited our ability to steer, navigate and make water.

“We had brought four autopilots with us (they are renowned for burning out through the crossing) and we were reliant on these keeping us on course for the first few days at sea.

“When we discovered the batteries weren’t charging, we had to make some decisions: Rig up a foot steering system and learn to use it in 15 foot swells and make our water with the electrical pump, or hand pump water and steer automatically.

Men of Oar.

“I am pleased to report those dark days are almost behind us and through careful power management over the last week, we have managed to recover the batteries’ ability to charge. We have also become adept at steering our boat by foot.

“We are now all used to life on board and we have come to terms with the lack of privacy, the constant dampness of the cabins and the shift patterns. Things still do try us, whether it is the monotony of the night shifts, the heat of the day or the stress of the next thing breaking.”

Robin grew up in Ayton and attended school in Berwick before heading to university where he picked up his love of rowing. His thirst for adventure developed in the Army.

It is all a far cry from 2016 when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer and treated through surgery and chemotherapy. It inspired him to raise £250,000 for Bowel Cancer UK and Combat Stress.

Keep up to date on their progress at www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com