22 boats are signed up to compete. Although of course I wish all the crews the very best of luck for a safe crossing, I will be taking a special interest in these particular boats:
In the Fours class, there are two crews that include people who set out in the 2005 race, but in that war of attrition were sabotaged by forces beyond their control – capsizes, sinkings, a back injury, and a shark attack. Out of the 26 boats that set out in the 2005 race, 6 did not make it to Antigua. But not to be deterred, these hardy souls are back for a second try. They epitomize indomitability and determination, and I send them heartfelt wishes for better luck this time around. They are:
Bobby Prentice and Colin Briggs (UK, aged 54 and 62) in Moveahead II – sank in 2005
Emily Kohl and Sarah Kessans (US, capsized in 2005), Jo Davies (UK, back injury), and Tara Remington (NZ, shark attack) in Unfinished Business
And elsewhere in the fleet:
Peter Collett – an Australian solo rower, who I met last year in England.
Lin Griesel and Rachel Smith – who I met at the Boat Show last year on the stand of Simrad, who sponsor both them and me.
Elin Haf Davies and Herdip Sidhu – two British nurses who had their boat fitted out, as I did, at Dolphin Quay Boatyard in Emsworth, England.
Angela Madsen and Franck Festor – who I met in La Gomera two years ago, and have stayed in touch with ever since. I featured Angela on my website back in April this year.
I encourage you to follow the race via the official website, and keep the crews in your thoughts and prayers.
And a final message to the crews themselves – wishing you fair winds and following seas – and a request that you bring all your litter back to land rather than disposing of it overboard.
[photo: Moveahead II in La Gomera. Picture courtesy of Woodvale]