Team Row Row Row Our Boat complete challenge in 42 days

Thursday 7 March 2019

A keen rower from Hampshire has taken on the challenge of a lifetime, rowing over 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean – all in memory of his sister, Emma.

Nick Wright, 46, together with his teammates, Andy Williams, Johnny Bayley and Andrew Burns, completed ‘The World’s Toughest Row’ to raise money for two charities: Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and Over the Wall, a charity that provides residential camps for children with serious health challenges.

Nick was motivated to take on the incredible challenge in memory of his sister Emma, who sadly lost her life to breast cancer aged 48, after batting the cancer for 18 years. She received treatment at St Luke's Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey.

Nick was extremely moved when his teammates chose to name the boat after Emma. He said:

My sister never gave up – she was so strong – so that seemed the perfect name for the boat. Thinking about that helped when things got tough: if you’re going to do this challenge, giving up is not an option.

Despite experiencing demanding storms, 40ft waves, blisters, seasickness, sunburn, sleep deprivation, open sores and severe exhaustion, Team ‘Row Row Row Our Boat’ were determined to finish.

The rowers endured a gruelling 42 days, 12 hours and 53 minutes of non-stop rowing to make the journey from Canary Island, La Gomera, to Antigua in the Caribbean – finishing in the top 10 of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The team worked to a strict routine of two hours rowing, followed by two hours rest or completing chores, like washing the boat or preparing meals. In a four-hour-period, each teammate would generally get around 40 minutes of sleep.

Nick said: “It was a life changing experience – sharing it with Andy, Johnny and Andrew was absolutely amazing. It tested us all in very different ways. I’m so glad I did it – you find out a lot about yourself; it gives you a huge amount of time to reflect. In some ways, it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but once you’re in a routine, your body realises what you need to do.

I learnt the importance of patience and also how important your family and friends are – they really help get you through. Knowing we were doing this for my sister and to raise funds for two great charities that mean a lot to the team really helped get us to the finish, too.

As the team pulled into Antigua, they were greeted by 300 people cheering them on. Nick was overwhelmed to be reunited with his wife, Katie, and three children, aged 3, 5 and 10 – who Nick says have been his inspiration.

The team has already raised close to £7,000 for its two chosen charities.

Analiese Doctrove, Head of Fundraising at Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, said: “We are absolutely in awe of the team for completing the incredible challenge – it’s such an extraordinary thing to do in Emma’s memory.

We are so grateful that they have chosen to support us: the money raised will make a huge difference to patients being treated for cancer here at Royal Surrey. As well as helping to make sure the hospital is as welcoming and comfortable as possible, it will also mean we can buy specialist equipment and fund innovative research.

To make a donation to the team or to read blogs written during their challenge, visit:


Fundraise for us >

Photo by Ben Duffy.