How does grabbing three of your best mates and going for a boat cruise across the Atlantic sound?
What if that boat cruise actually involved rowing non-stop 24 hours a day for 5,000 kilometers in a 28-foot ocean rowing boat?
This is exactly what legends Sam Horsely, Louis Hugh-Jones, James Samuels and Rob Wells are doing with their entry in the gruelling Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in 2021, all in support of our mental health charity, LIVIN. And we are absolutely honoured to be on board for this epic journey.
"While the race is not that well-known in Australia, it has quite a following abroad." Said Rob. "We had all watched a documentary or read a book about the race but it wasn't until Sam coined the idea of actually giving it a crack that we even considered attempting such a feat. So he's ultimately to blame!
Within a few months of this Atlantic sized carrot dangling above our heads, it became too tempting of an adventure to turn our backs on."
Rob, Sam, Louis and James all met in their high school years and bonded over their mutual love of rowing with Sam and Louis later being offered positions at Berkeley University in California on merit of their rowing skills and experience.
"We all share a passion for being fit and active, something rowing fostered in us early on." Said Sam. "Rowing is one of those ultra-competitive sports that demand a lot from you physically and mentally. As young guys, I think we thrived on the competitiveness of the sport which pushed us to really care about what we were doing both on and off the water."
The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge will be taking this competitiveness and mateship to new levels with an anticipated 50 days at sea. "It's not just an endurance challenge, it is a race!" Said Louis. "We will be amongst 30 other boats starting from the Canary Islands and rowing 5,000 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean to Antigua and Barbuda in 2 hour blocks with 2 hours rest in between, 24 hours a day dealing with sleep-deprivation, sea-sickness and the chance of capsizing."
Whilst the challenge is physically demanding, the team are very aware about the emotional and mental preparation that is needed to be able to compete in this epic event. "We all know that our bodies will be physically tested and how important it is to be in the best physical condition, but we're also mindful that this will be a huge mental challenge also." Said James. "Learning some techniques to deal with some of the hardships and challenges we will face out in the ocean is essential. The body does what the mind believes - so we will want to be as mentally prepared as possible to take on this major journey. Whether it's visualisation exercises, meditation or the like, this will be an integral part of our preparations."
The preparation for this race is as big as the race itself with physical training, mental training not to mention the financial obligations and the sourcing of funding and sponsorship to purchase the sea vessel itself! But it's a challenge that these four legends are up to taking and they are taking it for a reason that's bigger than all of us, raising awareness for mental health.
"Like so many others, we have witnessed friends and family around us suffer and the statistics overall are quite shocking." Said Sam. "Mental illness is a universal issue which does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any time in their life.
We connected with LIVIN as the mental health organisation we wanted to support in this challenge because it's an organisation that is youth focused, fresh, active and sincere - a great fit for us as mates and all other Australians."
As a mental health charity, we are constantly amazed with the lengths supporters of mental health awareness go to and we are honoured every time one of these supporters connects with LIVIN and our message and invites us to be a part of their journey and initiative.
We look forward to being a part of this adventure with Sam, Louis, James and Rob and encourage everyone to jump on board and follow and support this adventure of a lifetime as we gear up for the big event in December 2021.
For more information about This Is LIVIN Atlantic, check out their website and make sure you throw them a LIKE.
Article by: Kelly Malloy