2019 RACE STARTS

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BERNARD

Belgium, Ghent, 26 years old, 1.98 M, 100 kg

Bernard’s biggest value for the Atlantic row is that he has a strong attention to detail and the ability to coach and lead a team environment. His first aid skills, his strong physical and mental endurance are remarkable.

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DAMIEN

Belgium, Brussels, 28 years old, 1.94 M, 105 kg

Damien's biggest value for the Atlantic row is his strong physical endurance and excellent orientation skills. His creativity gives him the ability to solve numerous problems and find out alternative ways of solutions.

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THE EXPERT TEAM

In order to be fully prepared we partnered up with a team of professionals, who work tirelessly to give us every chance of achieving our goal. A successful Atlantic crossing is based on three pillars: support (boat and oars), engine (the rower who is prepared physically as well as mentally), and fuel (food and water).

KOEN DEGEZELLE

Boat builder and expert ocean rower

Koen has been building different open water rowboats for several years now, using them in the North Sea and Indian Ocean, rowing them for thousands of sea miles, learning by mistake and gathering priceless knowledge at sea. “I’m convinced that the O28 ocean rowing boat will be lightweight thanks to the carbon infusion technique I’ll apply. Together with my team, we designed a fast hull with excellent surfing capabilities.”

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RUBEN DE GENDT

Sports doctor, rower and triathlete

Ruben was a successful rower in Belgium. During his studies in medicine he completely absorbed himself in endurance sports. Ruben is a strong triathlete and accompanies several Belgian top triathletes. He has developed his own sports lab in Ghent. “By analyzing their effort on a rowing machine and taking lactate samples I’ll advise Damien and Bernard with a personalized training schedule. This combined with their professional rowing experience and excellent biometry will give them a huge advantage in this race.

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GINO DEVRIENDT

Sports/adventure nutrition expert

Gino Devriendt works at the sports medicine centre of the University Hospital Ghent. In addition to the individual athletes, he also supports teams as RSC Anderlecht, KAA Gent, Cercle Bruges and the Belgian Red Flames. “A good nutrition with enough energy & proteins in a concentrated form, would be one of the key points to win this race”

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THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST ROW

The premier event in ocean rowing – A challenge that will take particpants more than 4.800 km. (2.600 nm.) west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands (28oN 18oW) to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda (17oN 61oW). The annual race begins in early December, with up to 38 teams participating from around the world. The race structure brings together an environment where teams from across the globe gather in the race village San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands. The atmosphere is electric as people help each other prepare for the challenge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. All with the same objective – to take on the unique experience of crossing an ocean in a rowing boat.

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MOTIVATION

EXPLORATION

We love the daily adventure of life, but crossing The Atlantic is clearly on another scale. But adventure, above all, is the thrill of the unknown and the bound with rough nature. Adventure and Exploration are also a matter of perspective and outlook.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has been tempting us since last year. Firstly, we rowed together since 2014 and achieved small and big challenges, but we always wanted to go bigger. From there on we have been dreaming about this race for months, even if most of our friends, family, partners, colleagues think we are insane. We have always loved challenges and travelled together for a number of years.

1.500.000 strokes. Disconnected from land for 2 months. We will be forced to push our limits every single day for every stroke. It will need a lot of determination and discipline. When aiming for such a goal as a team, suffering is part of the challenge, but we know this will be even more enjoyable to look back at it later.

The TWAC will start in December 2019, but it's a whole project we aim to build together by surrounding us with experienced people with enough skills and “know-how”. Partnering with professionals and passionates will be our key to success in this project.

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OUR BOAT

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How We Will Make It

A DAY ON BOARD

The 2 Hours Rule

The 2 hours rule: 2 hours on, 2 hours off. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you’re not rowing nor sleeping, you cook, clean, fix the boat or communicate with land.

Staying well hydrated is the most important thing we will have to maintain. A desalinator working on solar panels will help us changing sea water into drinking water. Each rower needs to aim to consume 10 litres  of water per day.

On our own for 2 months, we’ll have to carry everything we need. Each of us will burn at least 8000 kcal a day.
Each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!

We will wash ourselves with clean water. This will be essential as salt is the biggest nightmare of ocean rowers. Sores, rashes, calluses and toileting will be in a bucket.
Each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing.
There is no toilet on board – rowers use a bucket!

We have all the technology on board we need to reach Antigua and not going to much north-or southwards. Family, friends and girlfriends will be able to track us daily on the big map. At its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km deep. The waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 6 meters high. There are two safety yachts supporting the teams as they cross the ocean. The teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers.

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HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL

By participating to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge we support Handicap International. Our charity is an independent and impartial aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Handicap International works alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

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