The Atlantic Discovery

Michele Theil writes about one team’s ambition to row across the Atlantic.

Royal Holloway Alumni Benjamin Ajayi-Obe, Issac Kenyon and Jack Hopkins achieved their goal to set the world record for continuous rowing on an indoor rowing machine, also called an ergo. This took place in Founders Square from Friday Jan 12 until Sunday Jan 14, where they beat the previous record of 30 hours and rowed continuously for 33 hours.

This world record attempt was dedicated to raise as much money as possible for the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Mind Charity. These charities were chosen by the team members both for personal reasons as well as for the great work these charities do.

They created a JustGiving page for donations and, as of writing, they have raised over £2000, half of their goal of £4000. Each and “every person who donates via [their] JustGiving page will be entered into free prize draw to be held” afterwards, Kenyon told us.

In December of this year, the team will continue their rowing adventures to row across the Atlantic from “San Sebastian in La Gomera on a trajectory for English Harbour, Antigua”. This would be a 3000 mile row across a tumultuous ocean, filled with “30 foot waves, hostile weather, giant shipping containers [and] unpredictable wildlife”.

Kenyon was originally a swimmer but wanted “to learn a different sport” and so he chose rowing. He also wanted to learn sea navigation and decided to do it all at once.

It started when Ajayi-Obe messaged Kenyon on Facebook asking if he wanted to row the Atlantic. Kenyon tells us that he said yes immediately and didn’t really “research anything” as the whole thing was “very impulsive”. He said, “my heart told me to say yes and the logic soon followed”. The record for rowing the Atlantic was broken recently and stands at 29 days. Kenyon implied his hope to beat it but was very pragmatic about it and stated that it was “all down to weather conditions”. They are hoping to cross the Atlantic in around 40 days.

The team, aptly named Atlantic Discovery, has been planning and training for this for three years but it has been officially in progress for the past six months. For the sponsorship of the race, they must raise £100,000, which has been going well throughout the year, they say. The team sets targets throughout the year in order to raise the requisite amount of money before the race. Kenyon, Ajavi-Obe and Hopkins are hoping to utilise their contacts to raise the money necessary.

It is a very adventurous and interesting challenge and will definitely be a great accomplishment for the team. Orbital Magazine wish them luck in their endeavours.

Interview conducted by Abbie Cheeseman.