Anthony, his dad used to call him Ant, I assume as a reference to his stature all those years ago, when he first came knocking on the Storrar Marine Store door (parent company of www.marinechandlery.com) on a verbal CV submitted by his father told us that he couldn't blow the skin of a rice pudding but was a very very determined youngster, and that if he set his mind to do a task would do it well. Well, who could have foreseen that one day he would be single handedly competing in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge a rowing race across the Atlantic, start line just offshore of the harbour in San Sebastián, Gomera, one of the smaller Canary Islands with a finish line at Nelsons Dockyard English Harbour, Antiqua more than 3000 miles as the crow or in his case a seagull flies. This year there is an entry of 21 boats in total, comprising of solos, of which Anthony is one of the entrants, twins and three or four person. The record for solos is 30 days (done in exceptional weather condition) our old 'Sat' boy is aiming for 40-45 days! We think that the 'terrible' working conditions that he put up with and the boredom of monotonous shelf cleaning that he endured all those years ago coupled with his time spent racing in the winter series on the river Tyne, as foredeck hand on the Storrar Marine works boat when he did get into some hairy situations will stand him in good stead!
My bosses involvement with Anthony's Talisker Atlantic Challenge started in December 2019 when his dad asked if the sail loft, a division of the Storrar Marine Store Emporium could manufacture a waterproof and breathable cover for Wave Warrior and also make up a pair of light weight ventilated lee cloth(s) and a chest strap to stop Ant falling out of his bed when trying to get some shut eye if the going gets rough, see images below. As well as the above, Andy also supplied safety equipment (let's hope he never needs to use it) including 2 X EPIRBs, PLB, EDF, a Spinlock Deckvest and safety line. Other items included 4 of the chisel tipped safety knives c/w despatcher, I assume for fighting off sharks? For days when the weather is foul, part of his protection against the elements consists of a Musto HPX smock and HPX salopettes. Whilst boss man Andy didn't give the above away, all his equipment that was supplied was sold at a very very attractive price!
On Boxing day we received the following email from his dad...
WAVE WARRIOR UPDATE 26/12/20: Row, eat, row, sleep, pee and poo sometimes and repeat. He has had a couple of issues, blisters in the first few days which he has had to really protect to stop them bursting and getting infected. At one of the final meetings before the race they emphasised that one of the biggest issues in the race was looking after your body and stopping cuts and grazes becoming infected.
He has spent a few hours trying to investigate a tremor/vibration he was getting through the hull. Checked all the steering gear, skeg slot and skeg. Nothing. First chance over the side and clean the bottom still nothing, although he had not realized the growth rate on the hull. Needs a polish every few days when possible. Eventually tracked the vibration down to the wheels on the rowing seat. Just shows how your thought process slows, becomes fogged when tired etc.
Has seen very little sea life but has been passed by a very large ship and a yacht passing through. Recently has been on watch for a couple of the other boats as they were within 10 miles of him.
Last week he found he was in some rather large following seas and has thoroughly enjoyed surfing his boat down the waves. His speed recorder stops at 15kn's, so his best is inexcess of 15kn's down the face of a wave. Only one squeaky bum moment when he dipped a gunnel into the water going down a wave and thought he was going to roll it!! Possibly a good experience to keep him on his toes and not get too cocky!!
As you can see from the Boxing Day position update below he is sitting 2nd in class and just under 2000 miles to go. The last two days have been very fickle. The wind has remained between a Northerly and a North Westerly. He has spent quite a few hours on his para anchor but hates the motion. A few minutes of wallowing in the swell then a couple of corkscrewing rolls then it jerks on the para anchor. He says he's more exhausted from that than the rowing.
He's getting very demanding on his updates, sitting here at home plotting everything every 4 hours to give him an update as to what the competition (1st & 3rd of the solos) are doing. Should they make a break for it he wants to know.
Hopefully the Easterly winds will pick up over the weekend and he will continue to push towards the Northerly Equatorial Current.
Christmas at sea was, I would assume, just another day but glad to see he did enter somewhat into the festive spirit and no doubt his mum Yvonne packed a couple of 'treats' among the ship's stores. Incidentally if you look closely the festive hat that he was wearing was a 'Gilbert', apparently it's based on the Wilson that featured in the Tom Hanks film Castaway! Yvonne did also mention that the Dogs Trust is Anthony's nominated charity and she wrote 'any help to enable him to hit or exceed his target would be much appreciated the link to the Just Giving site is as follows:
This morning just before this went out Andy went onto the Taliskers site and pulled off the current position of Wave Warrior, keep up the good work, we are all ‘rooting’ for our old Saturday Boy.