• jointheadventure

weekly team update 4: day 22 - 28 overview

Yet again it has been another action-packed week on the Atlantic Ocean for Team Row4Cancer!! They have rowed an incredible 550nm in the last 7 days despite the lack of wind assistance and this night smashed through the 500nm Distance To Finish marker!! So, with the winds forecasted we are all very confident our incredible rowing heroes Mark and Kai will be home and dry in Antigua within the next 7 days! This is on target to smash the current pairs world record which stands at 37 days, 7 hours and 54 minutes! How awesome is that!!!

The biggest challenge this week has yet again been the weather! Mother Nature has not made this ocean row easy, far from it! There has been hardly any wind, which as we have described before makes for extremely tough rowing. Without wind assistance the boat does not move easily through the water and every stroke takes huge physical effort and there is no breeze to cool you down. In essence the work output increases and the conditions become even more harsh! It is like rowing through a really thick substance rather than the usual gliding feeling of rowing through water. The sun is getting extraordinarily hot now which makes the heat in the cabins almost unbearable. As you can imagine it is near impossible to sleep with this heat during the day. Yet, despite all of these challenges the guys have made consistently good speeds and their daily distances have just gotten stronger and stronger. They have even extended their lead on the next boat to a HUGE 170nm (306km)!! That is a 50-hour lead based off recent speeds!! Totally mind blowing!

Fortunately, the wind has now picked up in strength and in a very favourable direction and it is forecast to stay with the lads all the way until Antigua! With all of the head winds, wind on beam, periods of no wind or light wind … Mark and Kai have earned every knot of favourable wind and every wave that assists them on their triumphant course to victory in English Dockyard, Antigua.

The heat isn’t the only thing that has disrupted Mark and Kai’s sleep. There has been a lot of hunting tuna following them which have been hitting Maria’s hull which has been keeping the guys awake. At one stage a tuna hit them so powerfully that Mark and Kai feared damage on the boat. Fortunately, there was none and Maria is unharmed. However the tuna didn’t get off so lightly with blood stains left on the side of the hull! To top off this week’s tuna encounters … a tuna lept out of the water and over Maria’s row deck narrowly missing Mark in the process! That’s what you call a close shave.

It isn’t just the tuna who are attacking boats … you might have seen the social media updates from Atlantic Campaigns about the Marlin strikes on team Latitude35 and team Generation Gap! Not only one BUT two Marlin strikes within 24 hours! It is so unbelievable you literally couldn’t make it up! Both spears came up and into the stern cabins … fortunately no one was injured! We are all so pleased that everyone is safe and they manged to fix the holes created by the marlin. If you haven’t seen these updates head over the Atlantic Campaigns social media page.

No matter how much the tuna and other wildlife want to attack Maria nothing is stopping Mark and Kai! Having just rowed through the 500nm to go marker the end is nearing. With less than 7 days left on board Maria the guys are starting to tick off ‘the lasts’….eg the last weekend on board, the last Monday, the last hull clean and so on. Up until now our team have talked about how they can go faster but now for the first time they are able to talk about arrival in Antigua, their first fresh meal with large coca cola and all of the comforts that come with being on dry land. These are such special feelings but don’t forget our heroes still have 500nm of rowing between them and Antigua. It never gets easy, the mind can start to dream but the reality is they have a lot of hard hours of rowing ahead of them and they are still driving incredibly hard. So, messages of support and donations to their charity at this stage will be a huge morale booster for them! Donate via: https://row4cancer.mvdwfoundation.nl/doneren

We held a proper Q&A, after all sorts of questions we received. You can read all questions and answers here. To give an insight into their physical health Mark gave us this overview: “Everything is going well. Our hands are well above expectations which shows the many training sessions paid off! We have not even had 1 blister this entire crossing. Our legs and arms are great too. I sometimes suffer because of my hernia that I had surgery on a year and a half ago. The most painful thing now are the buttocks. Even though we have super seats (big thanks to Kay Stevens of KS Custom Seating), we have just lost too much weight. Unfortunately, the fat there is the first to leave.”

This insight into Mark and Kai’s health really does reflect the exceptional preparations they undertook before the row. No stone was left unturned and every avenue was explored with meticulous detail from boat design to physical preparation and everything in between. For them both to be in such good health after everything that has been thrown at them on top of the phenomenal daily stats that they keep producing just goes to show how prepared they were when they pushed off from La Gomera and just how well they have performed at sea. Yes, they are both tough but they are also smart, prepared to the highest level and have executed this row with a combination of sheer guts, determination and professionalism. They keep on inspiring and we keep on following! We are right behind you lads! Next stop … Antigua!!!

Update from our weather routers

Last week it was important to go west again as soon as possible. They picked up the good trade winds earlier than the rest of the fleet and further increased the distance between them and their competitors. Now being in the same weather with the other three leaders it’s and therefore cannot make a big difference. Next week it will be quite simple, a straight line to Antigua. Trade winds are steady. The challenge next week will be to find a window with good wind and the right current to make an attempt to row 100+ nm per day.


As the race progresses and Antigua is less than 500nm away, the total amount Mark and Kai raised so far is € 49.025. The target amount of € 65.000 is within reach, but we need a push for the final € 16.000. Therefore, we decided to organise an auction.

In this auction you can bid on various unique items. For instance bid on a row session with Mark and/or Kai on the North Sea, go on a sailing trip with Mark and his beloved Maverick (on which he sailed the Golden Globe Race), have an inspirational talk of Mark at your company or at your club, get a sub lesson from previous NK-participant Kai or bid on the official Team Row4Cancer polo shirt, an AIS Man Over Board device, a solar panel set from SUNBEAMsystem. These are just some examples, go to the auction site(www.row4cancer.nl) for all auction items (there is something for everyone) and start bidding!

Of course, it’s still also possible to donate. Just click here and you will be able to contribute to this important project, selected by the Maarten van der Weijden Foundation.

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