Crew with a Cause: Rowing for the Kids

Jan 6th 17
By Hillary Hoffower

   

Raging seas, strong winds, extreme temperatures, 3,000 nautical miles; no, this isn’t the setting for a movie — it’s the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, also dubbed the world’s toughest row, in which participants embark on a physical and mental challenge across the mighty Atlantic to raise money for the charity of their choice. Beginning in San Sebastian in La Gomera, the Canary Islands, and ending in Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua, the race has only seen a mere 500 people ever complete the challenge, a number that will soon grow to include yachtie Dylan Jones and his teammate Sam Weir, who comprise the team Oceanomads for the 2017/2018 challenge that kicks off December 12. Their goal? To not only win the race, but to break the world record for the fastest pairs crossing — taking 39 days to complete it — while raising AUD$100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Australia Foundation. 

  

They’ll be enduring sleep deprivation, the potential for wildlife encounters, the open ocean, and more on their own and at the mercy of Mother Nature, but that’s exactly what drew them to the race in the first place. “We love the challenge and adventure,” says Jones, who previously worked on M/Y Lady M II and most recently on M/Y SEANNA as a deckhand and personal trainer. “I suppose we look at a challenge like this in a different perspective, and instead of letting it intimidate us by thinking of how only five hundred or so people have ever completed it, we like to think that if as many as five hundred people can do it, then why can’t we?” 

  

To break the world record, they’ll need to row at least 65 nautical miles (120 kilometers) per day in their carbon fiber and Kevlar design boat, which is no bigger than a family car, with a relentless three hours on/three hours off rowing shift. 

  

“As neither of us have a background in ocean rowing, we’re looking forward to learning all about it, adapting to the different style of training, and meeting new people we would have otherwise never known,” he adds.  

  

Jones, who took a year off from yachting to prepare, and Weir, who works at Mt Woodgee and is one of Australia’s top ultra marathon runners, have been weight training to build their strength to handle the stress of the row as well as stretching to help prevent injury through overtraining. They’re also slowly increasing time on the rowing machines and will soon transition that into days and nights rowing at sea once their boat is ready in January. They’re especially grateful to their sponsors Quay Crew and AquaLuma, who’ve helped make their huge amount of work and preparation for the row possible.

  

While their training proves tough, choosing the Make-A-Wish Foundation for their charity was easy. “The wishes that Make-A-Wish Foundation are granting for these children with life threatening illnesses are sometimes things that a lot of other people experience and take for granted every day,” explains Jones. “We want to help them continue giving hope to these children and their families, as well as remind everyone who is lucky enough to have a healthy body and mind to appreciate the opportunities that gives them.” 

  

The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s goal to make adventurous dreams come alive certainly resonates with the overall inspiration Oceanomads hopes to instill in others as they prepare for and ultimately battle the sea. 

  

“We hope that throughout our campaign we can encourage others to find their own adventures, test their comfort zone, and appreciate their health and what they are capable of doing because of it,” says Jones. 

  

To donate, head to their GoFundMe page and visit http://www.oceanomads.com/ for more information. 



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