Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | November 9, 2011

Ye that go down to the sea in ships

We’ve spent much of today at a great launch event thrown by the nice people at Talisker Whisky, to announce formally that the race is now known as the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Although it still, understandably, uses the strapline “The World’s Toughest Rowing Race”, we rather like the new emphasis on “challenge” rather than “race” as, for us, it’s all about the challenge of getting across, rather than any attempts at racing, winning, or breaking records.

There were quite a few press there, and so we played our parts as “the married couple” and also “the ones with the tiger boat”, smiling for some cameras, answering some questions, and at one point doing both. The best bit of the day, apart from the fish and chips for lunch, and shaking hands with Olympic medal-winning cox Lord Moynihan, was meeting up with some of the other 16 teams again – or for the first time, including 5 of the 6-man Row 2 Recovery (a military crew containing 3 amputees who lost legs in Afghanistan), 2 of Row for Freedom (the women’s 6), Atlantic 4, round the world sailor Toby from Box Number 8, personal trainer James from Patience, fireman John from Atlantic Dash (whose boat is painted like a fire engine), the new US crew Team Epoch (who we particularly like as the 2 guys in this mixed 4 are both lightweight rowers like Richard, and one of the girls seems to be even shorter than Helena according to the group photo below), and aspiring para Tommy and Andrew the solos.

Most of us agreed we were getting pretty fed up with stuffing our faces all the time. Really, it IS tough!

The past few weeks since we delivered the boat for shipping have been a funny kind of limbo, and we’re both itching to get out to the start and get on with it (especially as wind conditions are excellent at the moment), so it was great to have it made real again today by meeting up with the “Class of 2012” (though, as Helena’s friend Linda said, although it IS like a “class”, the “desks” will mostly be quite far apart).

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