The Welshman about to tackle one of the world's toughest rowing challenges


Two years ago Gareth Reynolds from Pembrokeshire was scrolling through Youtube, when he came across the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge - a 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean.

He knew he had to sign up, though admits he probably did so “before thinking too much about it”.

Now the 31-year-old, from Dale, is just weeks away from embarking on the challenge of a lifetime. 

On December 12, he, along with 20 other teams from across the world, will set out from La Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Their destination - Antigua in the Caribbean.

For the next two months, he’ll row for up to 20 hours a day, sleeping for only short bursts at a time.

He said he is feeling excited, and is most nervous about something breaking on his boat.

"I want to cross as quickly as I can", he said.

"I've got a water maker on board which is what I survive on so if that packs in, then I've got to hand pump all my water, or if the rudder breaks then I can't steer properly, so I'm more worried about things like that."

5,000

calories a day expected to be burned by each rower

1.5 milllion

oar strokes completed over the course of the race

10

litres of water need to be consumed each day

It will be a huge test of both physical and mental endurance for Gareth, who will row completely solo and unsupported.

It is estimated each team that takes part will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes, encountering challenges such as sharks and storms along the way.

Gareth admits his friends and family are only now coming round to the idea of him facing it all alone.

"Up until the point I shipped the boat I think people still thought it wasn't going to happen", he said.

"My mum is finally on board a few weeks before, she's not coming to the start line, she doesn't want to wave me off but she said she'll follow my progress closely".

Gareth hopes training off the coast of his home county Pembrokeshire will give him an advantage amongst his other competitors Credit: Gareth Reynolds

The waves rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high, and the race organisers say each rower loses an average 12kg throughout their journey, due to the sheer amount of calories they burn - as far as endurance challenges go, this is one of the toughest. 

In fact, it is billed as "the world's toughest row".

Gareth, who grew up in the small village of Dale on the Pembrokeshire Coast, is no stranger to life at sea; he has already crossed the Atlantic once before on a family trip.

But this time will be different, and he hopes his efforts will raise money for a charity close to his heart.

My purpose is to raise £100,000 for the MS Society, helping to fund the ground-breaking research, and the care & support that they provide. MS is one of the most common causes of disability in young adults, it can affect people in many different ways, at any time, and there is currently no cure. The work of the MS Society is invaluable to those suffering with MS and their families.

Gareth Reynolds

Gareth said he also wants to use the campaign as a platform to talk about mental health as he has recently become an ambassador for local charity 'Get The Boys A Lift'.

In just over a week's time, the rower will be leaving Pembrokeshire to fly to the Canary Islands, then the adventure begins.

It is thought more people will have climbed Everest or travelled into space than rowed an ocean, but this Welshman is determined to become one of them.

You can follow Gareth's progress on his website.