Frank Rothwell’s Atlantic Challenge


Described as ‘the world’s toughest row’, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge sees adventurers row more than 3,000 miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda.

It’s no easy feat! Take a look at some of these facts about the event.

  • Each team will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes over a race.
  • More people have climbed Everest than rowed an ocean.
  • The waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high.
  • Each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing.
  • Rowers burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day.
  • Each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!
"I am not particularly fazed by the strong winds, big waves or distance from land because I have sailed across the Atlantic on this route, at this time of year, three times in the past.

"I have not worked out my rowing pattern yet, but it is likely to be two hours rowing and two hours’ sleep day and night.

"The biggest individual challenge is going to be loneliness and missing my darling wife Judith to whom I have been married to for 50 years. I will also miss a proper steak!"

Life on the boat

Frank will be taking on his challenge in a 24-foot long, Rannoch 25 Solo, ocean rowing boat. It is extremely light because it’s constructed out of carbon fibre.

Here’s an idea of what Frank’s time on the boat will be like:

  • I will sleep in the front cabin and use the rear cabin for storage.
  • A gas cooker will warm the freeze-dried food I’ll be taking with me. I will be eating Pot Noodles for two or three months!
  • The safety equipment includes a life raft, life jacket, three EPIRBs, which are satellite beacons to call for help in an emergency. I have a spare set of oars and spares for all the equipment.
  • I have an electric water maker to filter sea water.
  • Solar panels will generate electricity to power the water maker, sat nav, radio and satellite phone.