The final stroke

“If you never try, you will never know what you are capable of.” John Barrow

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atlantic discovery; a team of hundreds

On Tuesday 22 January 2019, Ben, Cam, Isaac and Jack rowed into English Harbour, Antigua, to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in sixth place; a time of 40 days, 23 hours and 33 minutes.

It took the four men almost 1,000 hours rowing, nearly 1 million calories, 700 litres of water, 52,000 watts of solar power, unimaginable inner strength and a large dose of humour to row the 3,000 nautical miles, unsupported, from the Canaries to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

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They were given an emotional, rousing welcome from their families, friends and the “green team” - a fantastic group of stakeholders from our platinum sponsor Nagico Insurances, on what was undoubtedly the most euphoric moment of all of our lives.

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Cameron said that rowing into the harbour to the horns of the super yachts, the cheers, whistles and screams was incredible.

“Isaac was on steering duty so he was facing the crowd when we came in. We were all able to watch his expression mirroring the amazing sight before him and we all felt a surge of indescribable emotion and pride at what the Atlantic Discovery team had achieved together. And, when I say Atlantic Discovery, I don’t mean a team of four rowing an ocean. Atlantic Discovery is a team of hundreds.”

our heartfelt gratitude

Isaac tried to put into words what he and Cam, Ben and Jack felt about the tremendous, selfless support shown by everyone.

“Our families, our friends, our sponsors, colleagues, supporters, the charity organisations, the media and people we’ve met along the way, have all given a part of themselves to our endeavour. We spent a lot of time talking on our journey about the inspiring and encouraging contributions - in so many forms - that have been made since we started this journey. Everyone who learned about what we were doing has done something to help us. We are so privileged to have been the recipients of all this generosity - it’s a gift that will remain with us all for the rest of our lives. Thank you doesn’t even come close to expressing how we are feeling.”

Welcome warmth

From the first conversation Cameron and I had with Kyria and her Nagico team back in May last year, I have been deeply touched by the continuous flow of warmth, camaraderie and heartfelt touches we have received. I have not experienced anything like it before.

Nagico have been exceptional partners from the start. They embraced our experience wholeheartedly, sending us rowing demo’s, video’s of staff singing to us from their 21 territories across the Caribbean, they honoured the boys with a special welcome event, they included us in their annual client calendar, hand made us memory bracelets and we are proud to have become fast friends. I have learned so much from everyone in this amazing business.

They are genuinely a wonderful team and we couldn’t have asked for a greater sponsor. Nagico have made this experience one that none of us will ever forget.

One big family

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Nagico’s Chairman Imran McSood Amjad greeted the team as they stepped off the boat: “We are very proud to be associated with Atlantic Discovery. These men have embraced the extreme hardships they have faced at sea and found the strength to triumph. Their resilience and teamwork is commendable - I consider Ben, Cam, Isaac and Jack to be part of the Nagico family.” 

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 “It is also an honour for me to symbolically countersign the Excess of Loss Treaty between Nagico Group and Swiss Re which Cameron signed in the mid-Atlantic in a world first on behalf of Swiss Re.”

our cause

The team did the row to raise awareness and £60K (USD 80K) for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which affects 2.5 million people worldwide.  Ben’s mother Rose is the figurehead of the fundraising campaign with hashtag #row4rose and was on the quayside to greet the team.

Ben’s face alight at the sight of his mother and family.

Ben’s face alight at the sight of his mother and family.

Ben talked about how humbled he was by how much had been raised while they were at sea.

“Penny has been updating us with every name and donation amount made throughout the row. But I had no idea how much had been raised in total and I’m deeply grateful for the wonderful donations made to our cause.

“I know increasing awareness of this condition is difficult to measure, but so many people have come forward to share their personal stories, I hope what we have done has made a difference to understanding this secret disease.

“Finishing this race means our charities will receive extra promised donations from the Hiscox Foundation, Lyme Bay Consulting and a personal donation from Kyria Ali, Group Chief Strategy and Development Officer and the staff of Nagico Insurances, boosting funds raised so far to £24K - 40% of our target.”

Jack continues to think of ways to raise more funds for the cause - his next mission is the Marathon Des Sables and he is thinking of ways to motivate the team to join him. Donations will continue to be graciously accepted.

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Watch this space @virtualstowaway  Penny Bird is a professional photographer and writer documenting Atlantic Discovery's incredible journey.