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Member sets world record in Atlantic rowing team

Tom Rose, James Woolley and Taylor Winyard at sea (Image: @Atlanticcampaigns)

Tom Rose MCIOB, of Essex-based Rose Builders, recently completed a monumental challenge to row 3,000 miles unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Rose set about this challenge with two other crew members: Taylor Winyard and James Woolley. The team completed the challenge in early January in 40 days. They not only completed it but they broke a world record for the fastest mixed crew to cross the finish line and Taylor was the first woman to cross the line in the race.

Rose, 27, is no stranger to gruelling challenges, having completed the Marathon Des Sables in 2019. Dubbed the ‘toughest foot race on earth’, it is a multi-stage ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert. Participants run over 250km in six days across endless sand dunes, rocky jebels and white-hot salt plains, carrying on their backs what they need to survive.

Rose said he took on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge as he “got the itch to push myself to the limits again and I wanted a step up from the challenge in the desert”.

The annual race, which sees 30 groups go head-to-head, starts at San Sebastian in La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, and ends at Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, in Antigua and Barbuda. The crew suffered sleep deprivation, salt sores and a variety of physical extremes as they battled through the ocean throughout the night.

The construction site manager and his crew trained both in and out of the water for the best part of 18 months. Before setting off on his adventure, Rose said his biggest worry was the isolation and the unknown the ocean presents: “Capsizing in a storm at night while on the oars is a big fear.”

The team’s trip raised money for Alabaré Homes for Veterans. They also had to generate £125,000 in sponsorships just to get themselves to the start line. Some of the money was spent on a state-of-the-art 28ft ocean rowing boat called Doris. “The money can be a real block for a lot of people, so we must thank all the businesses and sponsors who have helped us,” said Rose.

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