Day 118 & a Final Thought from the Race Duty Officer
After 118 Days the Atlantic Rowing Race 2009 has drawn to a close. Ocean Rowing Races will never be the same again. To class this years event as being the toughest ever would be a gross understatement. With nearly a month of delay at the start and the longest duration of any ocean rowing race in history – the statistics start to talk for themselves.
No trade winds, sweltering heat, counter currents and periods of winds pushing teams back for days on end – the challenge was simply to make it to the other side. That is exactly what ALL the teams in this years race did. The first Ocean Rowing Race to see every single rowing boat reach the other side of the Atlantic (or any other ocean for that matter).
Including Britannia III – 71 people set to sea on the 4th January 2010. Although there were two individuals that retired, 69 people completed an ocean crossing, by far the highest number of successful rowers to row an ocean at any one time.
The statistics continue... The youngest team to row any ocean (Heritage Explorer), the oldest individual to complete a Woodvale Race (Ole Elmer) and beyond that successful attempts by individuals that had once (or twice) previously been unsuccessful (Bobby Prentice, Leo Rosette and Roger Haines). Every team tells a unique story and as with previous races many hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised for charitable causes. To put all those individual stories into this text would be impossible.
There is more to the Atlantic Rowing Race 2009 – there’s been a huge journey, life experiences and an event that will become historic for all the good and bad. It’s been a race full of unique individuals that have etched a clear mark on the sport of ocean rowing. The only way that races of this nature can continue is for people to take that chance, to push themselves beyond that normally expected and to see horizons not boundaries.
So to the families, friends, sponsors and the Ocean Rowers – raise a glass to the adventure well won.
I would like to thank a number of people for making the Atlantic Rowing Race 2009 a success:-
Nikki Holter – Endless support to all the teams and Woodvale Generally
Lizette Sumner – For making the books balance, keeping us in the green and allowing all the hurdles to be jumped.
Ian Allen – Doing all the bits in between, keeping the website up to date and giving the advice as someone that’s been there.
Tony Humphreys – Logistical support prior to 6th Dec 09.
James Abbott – for building the best, most reliable rowing boats ever to go to sea.
Chris Tidmarsh – for supporting James and being a constant support throughout the past 5 years.
Ashley Stephens – for supporting all the Woodvale activities behind the scenes
Shaun Pedley – For just getting things done.
Mike Bassett - For completing the line up of the best ocean rowing boat builders in the World.
Support Yacht Ocean Planet – Peter Hogden, Tony Lovering (high speed response) – you did a great job guys and kept our rowers safe.
Support Yacht Aurora – Stuart, Penny, Ash & James. (Solid back up) – a big thanks to Ash for stepping in and helping out Ocean Summit. As a crew your professionalism and response to any situation was first class – hopefully we will together again in the future.
AdventureHub – Ian, Lee and the girls. Thanks for your continual and loyal support. From crew selection to on hand assistance – you make all our jobs so much more achievable.
The ports of La Gomera and English Harbour Antigua – you always make us feel so welcome.
All of our suppliers but especially Jim from Mactra Marine, Jonathan from ABSAR (and all the fantastic crew), Matrix Mouldings, Marinetrack, RPM and PSP.
To all of our teams – thank you for putting your faith in us.
To the families of our teams – without you being there in support, the race simply wouldn’t happen.
On behalf of all those associated with the race, Woodvale Staff, Support Crew and suppliers – a very special thank you to Ole Elmer. You made a huge difference to so many people within this years race.
The list of people to thank goes on and I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone that should be in this (there’s bound to be)!!!
Finally and by no means least. Lesley Bowden (my mum) for giving the fleet medical support and beyond that always being there if things didn’t quite go to plan. Charlie Martin – only very few will know how important your involvement has been.
Simon Chalk – Race Duty Officer