Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for charity

Eat, row, sleep, repeat – that has been the daily routine of Fuller’s International Brands Manager Will Theakston and his team for the past 29 days, as they row across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Will is halfway through rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean alongside four friends to raise £200,000 for Bowel Cancer UK and Combat Stress.  

Fuller’s is one of Men of Oar’s proud sponsors for the challenge, whose team members include Team Captain Robin Drysdale, Will Theakston, Sam Bolt-Lawrence, Guillaume Vanderwinden and David Wallis. 

teams members Men of Oar talisker whisky Atlantic challenge

The Men of Oar team formed after Robin was diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2016. Luckily, Robin’s cancer was treated through surgery and chemotherapy, but he and his friends knew that he is one of the lucky ones. 

The decision to row the Atlantic Ocean came from their joint desire to celebrate surviving cancer, undertake an adventure and to do something to help people who have the disease in the future.  

Thus, Men of Oar was born – starting their adventure of raising £200,000 for their two chosen charities, Bowel Cancer UK and Combat Stress – a charity that works with service people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Three of the crew members are serving officers in the army and have seen the devastating effect post-traumatic stress disorder can have on service people, their families and their friends, which is why they are also fundraising for Combat Stress.

To help Men of Oar reach their fundraising goal, you can donate here: Men of Oar’s fundraising page

Men of oar team rowing during talisker whisky atlantic challenge

A rough start

On 12 December 2018 a total of 27 teams began rowing the 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua, which is expected to take teams between five and 12 weeks to complete.

Men of Oar had a rough start – complications with their boat saw them starting the race 36 hours later than the rest of the fleet, but they didn’t let that deter them. After 24 days at sea they hit the half-way mark in 17th place. Since then, they've continued to move their way up the Leaderboard. 

They’ve overcome a list of struggles including bad weather, two broken seats, blisters, fatigue and lack of solar power meaning they had to hand-steer the boat, but they’ve persevered and are determined to finish the challenge. 

Men of Oar team spend Christmas on the Atlantic ocean

Christmas at sea

Rowing across the Atlantic from mid-December meant the team had a unique Christmas. They didn’t quite manage to have roast turkey with all the trimmings, but they did enjoy reindeer stew, Christmas cake, a bottle of ale, and a longer rest.

New Year’s Eve was also particularly memorable for the team. Men of Oar said on their Instagram:

“The last evening of 2018 was rather special! Having had no other human contact since losing sight of land, the team were visited by the safety boat. This was followed by a visit from a pod of dolphins who danced around the boat!

“At midnight the team then celebrated under the stars with a drop of whisky and the remainder of Trish’s Christmas cake. What an amazing way to end 2018!”  

sunset across the Atlantic Ocean

Support Men of Oar

To support Men of Oar on their journey, rowing non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, and to help them reach their goal of raising £200,000 for charity, visit their Virgin Money Giving website to donate.

You can donate here: Men of Oar’s fundraising page

To find out more about Men of Oar, visit their website: Men of Oar

Follow Men of Oar on Instagram to see updates of their journey. 

View the live Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Leaderboard and map here: 2018 Race Tracker