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23 year old Adam Wolley and three other Loughborough graduates taking part in the 3,000 mile TALISKER Whisky Atlantic Challenge have now completed 1,300 of their grueling challenge, and have sent their first message home through their Atlantic4 blog.
Upon completion, Suffolk's Adam Wolley, Greg Symondson and twins Hugo and Ross Turner will become the youngest team to ever row the Atlantic, and are hoping to raise £150,000 for Spinal Research in the process.
Adam says: “The last few days have seen the wind and sea state drop markedly. Though a relief at first as it allowed us to get some essential maintenance and cleaning done without being thrown around like rag dolls, we are now facing the fact that without the wind it is going to be harder and longer work to get to Barbados.
“We have averaged a cool 70 miles a day for the last week at least but we’ve also had a pretty constant 15-25 knot breeze to our rear quarters giving us a welcome boost towards the tropics. Now that boost is gone we are left with the oars feeling really heavy; the boat with us it still probably tips the scales at over 1.5 tonnes. Despite our best efforts our daily mileage has slipped significantly.
“We had planned to make half way by Christmas day but we’re realising that this isn’t going to happen. Today, as we all slipped further down the mental ladder towards the ‘dangerously low’ end, we decided that something had to be done. So come midday we downed the oars and set aside an hour for boat and body maintenance.
“At first we scrubbed, tinkered, reinforced, replaced and cleaned but then came the time to dive into the brilliant blue. I was first in, and what a liberating experience! The immediate feeling was one of sheer terror, was I going to become separated from the boat? Was that shark still following us? Once these fears had quickly abated it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. The dark blue colour of the water seen from above gives way to a brilliant turquoise once you are in it and the knowledge that you are over 500 miles from land swimming in water that is around 3 miles deep is utterly amazing!
“Now, we have resumed rowing, the boat is in better shape and morale seems to be up approximately 10,000%!
The inspiration to raise £150,000 for Spinal Research came from crew-member Hugo. At the age of 17, Hugo’s life changed forever as a freak accident at his local beach in Cornwall caused his C7 vertebrae to be crushed. The severe damage to his spinal cord meant Hugo needed to undergo surgery for neck reconstruction. After a long and painful recovery Hugo was finally able to walk again. Six years on, at the age of 23, Hugo is now putting his injury behind and taking part in this Atlantic row challenge.
For more information on the Atlantic4 and to keep up to date with their progress, please visit www.theatlantic4.com. Why not give the crew an early Christmas present and sponsor them online at www.justgiving.com/theatlantic4?
You can learn more about Spinal Research, the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop reliable treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck, by visiting www.spinal-research.org.