We have reluctantly decided to defer our entry in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge until 2018.
We have taken this difficult decision following a thorough process over recent weeks to review our preparedness for a 2017 crossing. We considered a range of factors including our boat, equipment and logistics, technical training, physical and mental preparation, risk and safety. Ultimately we concluded that a 2018 crossing offered significant benefits in terms of these and other factors and it will enable us to be one of the best prepared and most successful crews next year – for ourselves, our supporters and our charities.
Two key external influences brought significant challenges to our campaign this year;
First, being let down by a supplier in May meant we did not secure our boat until July and that we had to procure a boat that required significant investment in terms of time and finance to bring her up to race specification. This in turn meant we have had much less time to kit her out and train in her than we would like.
Secondly, our skipper and a second crew member work in the civil resilience and emergency response sector in London. The tragic events over the spring and summer meant that the time they had to undertake campaign and personal preparation was strictly limited for significant periods of time.
A combination of the above means we are not where we would like to be with three months to the start and, while we could potentially have gone in 2017, the extra year will enable us to be better prepared and to become more experienced, confident and safer as we face up to this extraordinary challenge.
We would like to reassure you that we are taking action to prevent the issues we’ve had this summer from being a risk for next year. We now have a boat and most of the equipment secured and up to race specifications and will have formal agreements in place for all four of us to be released from work for the December 2018 crossing, regardless of external influences. We are also going to invest in a reserve rower in case an unexpected event means one of us can’t make it next year and have a contingency plan should we need to go as a crew of three.
It is extremely frustrating to be pulling out within touching distance of the start line but we are in an excellent position for 2018. We remain totally committed to the Row and will be a better prepared, safer and faster crew in a year’s time.
Thank you to our sponsors, family and friends for all your support so far and we look forward to working with everyone to make next year a roaring success.
Ali, Jeremy, Justin & Toby