ROW FOR JAMES
The arrival of the Row For James crew in Antigua signals the end of their monumental 3,000 mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Orchestrating such an ambitious mission took 18 months of preparation, thousands of calories of daily nutrition and countless hours of physical conditioning. The team of Rory Buchanan, Harry Wentworth-Stanley, Toby Fenwicke-Clennell and Sam Greenly completed the row in just 39 days, 4 hours and 14 minutes.
Inspired by their endeavour we are proud to sponsor their achievements and we’ve designed a custom swim short that celebrates their incredible journey. With 20% of net sales going towards Row For James it helps to support an important cause—one that they have worked so hard to raise awareness of. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a 3,000 mile unsupported race from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, Antigua.
Photo by Ben Duffy
Since departing off the West coast of Africa they’ve battled crashing waves and debilitating head winds but their sense of purpose has been unwavering. Soon came the hallucinations as the cocktail of stolen fragments of sleep and the emotional and physical demands began to take a toll; from burgers—‘Toby, please don't mess me about mate, is there a burger on board or not?’—to taxis, forests and French journalists.
Photo by Ben Duffy
The line between sleep and consciousness became increasingly blurred and one unnamed crewmember emerged from the sleeping cabin with Lycra back to front, mid-layer top inside out and wearing only one shoe. Months of preparation, training and nutrition only goes so far and it takes inordinate levels of grit, determination and friendship to endure these conditions; qualities these four possess in abundance. Naturally their thoughts have often wandered to food-based fantasies of their next meal on land. Understandable when they’ve had to endure cold potato and leek soup and porridge and chicken in black bean sauce affectionately dubbed ‘The Curse of the Black Bean’. Re-hydrating ration packs with cold water when power had to be prioritised is meagre fuel when you are rowing two hours on, two hours off. The final weigh-in showed the crew had lost 24 kilograms.
They’ve seen some incredible sights out in the open waters of the Atlantic, from swathes of clear constellations in the night’s sky to vibrant sunsets and dazzling moonlight. They’ve been visited by dolphins, orcas, Boris the bird (their stalwart companion from day two) and even butterflies—amazingly not a figment of their imagination. The image of a star-filled sky overhead while the ocean’s surface is blanketed by phosphorescent plankton is a scene which will take some beating.
Mishaps and malfunctions made progress excruciatingly slow at times—fierce headwinds meant that taking too long to break for a drink would result in the boat moving backward. The battle was as psychological as it was physical; low power meant they went without music for a good portion of their journey with only each other (and Boris) for company. Fortunately they had the beauty of picturesque morning sunsets and messages from home read aloud every evening to keep their spirits up.
Prayers for strong tailwinds and peace from the swirling storms were kept quiet as they began to ‘feel the sea has ears’. When a broken rowlock ruined their ability to row ‘three up’ 25 days in, the task became even more daunting. Thankfully ‘DIY Greenly’ was on hand to fashion a replacement out of parts from a back brace, screws from the water-maker, plenty of glue and four pairs of crossed fingers.
But while their epic adventure has finally drawn to a close after 39 unforgettable days at sea, their wider mission is only just beginning. The row has been in memory of Harry’s brother, James Wentworth-Stanley, who took his own life in 2006 at just 21 years old. With a goal of raising awareness of the issue they’ve smashed their target and raised over half a million pounds to help build James’ Place—a centre to help support those with mental health issues.