The Relentless Rowers set off on Friday, 15 December, following delays due to stormy weather conditions from La Gomera, a small island off Tenerife, in a mission to row 5,000km in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
Sean Underwood, Eoin O’Farrell, Pat O’Connor and Tommy Browne have their sights firmly set on a new record by making the trip in under 35 days on their trusted boat, Saoirse. As part of their journey to the start line, the team have raised monies in aid of Cork University Hospital Paediatric Department through CUH charity.
Fewer than 800 people have ever rowed across the Atlantic and the crew will be competing against 30 other teams. Marc O’Sullivan, a representative for the crew, said: “The rowers have worked hard for this for months and they’re going to need to put all their training together to survive in the Atlantic. Seeing the race delayed due to incredible wind speeds, it’s clear why so few dare attempt this challenge, but our Relentless Rowers will persevere knowing their challenge may improve the quality of life for children along the way.”
The goal they have in mind won’t be easy. As everyone else prepares for the festive season, all competing rowers will spend the first few days at sea experiencing sleep deprivation, sea sickness and culture shock before they’re expected to acclimatise to the situation. Rowers can suffer from both agoraphobia in the vast ocean and claustrophobia in the small cabins they sleep in; rowing two hours on and two hours off continuously. It will be a true test of teamwork, friendship and mental strength for all of the crews taking part.
Two yachts will be on the ocean at all times to act as emergency support vessels. However, they may be up to 5 days from one of the competing boats. The crew has spent two weeks in La Gomera going through rigorous safety inspections, preparations and briefings by Atlantic Campaigns, the organisers of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, as they are expected to be experts on every piece of equipment and every part of the boat – trained on breaking down and building it up again.
Affidea Ireland CEO Tom Finn and title sponsor for the Relentless crew said: “Affidea is delighted to sponsor this amazing team of Irish rowers. We really applaud these young men for their courage and motivation as they take on such a huge challenge over the festive season. It is great to see the medical community working together and embarking on this worthwhile adventure.”
The crew will be reunited with family and friends in January 2018. We wish them all the best as they spend Christmas and the New Year on the high seas. You can follow this once-in-a-lifetime trip on www.relentless.ie or the below social media channels:
The rowers are raising vital funds for the Paediatric Unit of Cork University Hospital, to donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/relentlessrower
The race tracker can be downloaded from: https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/
@AffideaIreland is delighted to sponsor the @RelentlessRower in their bid to set a new World Record for the fastest crossing by row-boat of the Atlantic Ocean, while raising funds for the Cork University Hospital Paediatric Department.Congrats to the Team! #affidea #affideahealth pic.twitter.com/snbkaOMItO
— Affidea (@AffideaGroup) December 2, 2017
.@RelentlessRower Eoin, Patrick, Thomas & Sean with @AffideaIreland @AffideaGroup team featured in @CorkEveningEcho. @HellyHansen @53degreesnorth an @CHMarine gear looking great. Great publicity for great cause @CUHCharity. Thank you @CorkEveningEcho. #affideafamily pic.twitter.com/HAQpFpc5QH
— Tom Finn (@TomFinnAffidea) December 5, 2017
— Affidea Ireland (@AffideaIreland) December 7, 2017
— Affidea Ireland (@AffideaIreland) December 9, 2017
— RelentlessRowers (@RelentlessRower) December 10, 2017
.@RelentlessRower standing dock side sizing up the competition. @AffideaIreland @AffideaGroup @affideaCMO & #affideafamily wishing the crew a fun and safe voyage in the @TaliskerRace starting tomorrow. Stay safe and #pulltogether. @HellyHansen @53degreesnorth pic.twitter.com/nUKyH0H2PC
— Tom Finn (@TomFinnAffidea) December 11, 2017
Best of luck @RelentlessRower from the entire #AffideaFamily across Ireland & Europe. This brave team of 4 Irish rowers will race 5,500kms across the Atlantic Ocean competing in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in aid of @CUHCharity #TWAC2017 🛥️ https://t.co/ScbR1Te6GS pic.twitter.com/76otVbPl47
— Affidea Ireland (@AffideaIreland) December 11, 2017
Thanks for all your support! It’s been a massive help in getting us to the start line. Next stop Antigua!
— RelentlessRowers (@RelentlessRower) December 13, 2017
.@RelentlessRower doesn’t this map show the absolute daunting challenge the lads have taken on and supported by @AffideaGroup @AffideaIreland @HellyHansen @53degreesnorth @CHMarine @CorkCountyCC @corkcitycouncil all in aid of @CUHCharity pic.twitter.com/6vPcFsorGp
— Tom Finn (@TomFinnAffidea) December 15, 2017
.@RelentlessRower really #pullingtogetger as the crew continues to gain on the boats ahead. @AffideaIreland @AffideaGroup & #AffideaFamily excited to see the amazing efforts of the crew Séan, Patrick, Eoin & Tommy in support of @CUHCharity pic.twitter.com/Tact4kUJUL
— Tom Finn (@TomFinnAffidea) December 21, 2017