Hey! We are four guys - Ben, Cam, Isaac and Jack- doing the world’s toughest row: 3,000 miles across the Atlantic for a world free of Multiple Sclerosis. Ask us anything. Send your questions in advance - we’ll be answering them during our AMA session from 14:00 GMT/09:00 EST/06:00 PST on Monday 14th January 2019.


UPDATE 1: There's been such an amazing response to this - we've decided to come online and start answering your questions on our next break from the oars - looking forward to this conversation. We will be answering you via satellite link to our boat - we're using a BGAN to transmit data via our land based team.

UPDATE 2: We posted this AMA on Friday to ask for questions in advance of today's scheduled AMA. We had such a lively response, we decided to answer most of them over the weekend. We've also rowed 200 miles closer to Antigua since then! Our updated post is here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/afvuwn/were_500_miles_from_antigua_rowing_the_atlantic/


Some photos:

We've caught a few Dorado: https://imgur.com/a/Uo2PXDf, https://imgur.com/a/qXYOgbo

Here's us on Christmas Day: https://imgur.com/a/1nomima

Giving the hull a clean above 3.2 miles of water: https://imgur.com/a/jKtat8X

This isn't our boat's first Atlantic crossing: https://imgur.com/a/HrDTwQj

A sunset from the mid-Atlantic: https://imgur.com/a/ImLnvO8

A couple of videos

A bit of moonlit dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60tlPnhqwqI

Dolphins at sunrise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RvdQgvc8bI

Swimming with a pod of Minke Whales: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p2S7ldEfT0

Decent rowing conditions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVqH_6z565E

Proof it's us: https://twitter.com/atlanticdisc18

Verification photo: https://www.atlanticdiscovery.co.uk/blog/2019/1/11/redditama

Donations: https://www.atlanticdiscovery.co.uk/charity/

Have a look and see where we are right now: https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/2018racetracker/

Comments: 489 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

BopitPopitLockit358 karma

How do you handle rough seas on a journey like this? Is there a support vessel that carries supplies/helps with navigation?

AtlanticDiscovery13 karma

Cam here - our ocean rowing boat is extremely stable and as long as most of the weight is as low as possible, we should be able to avoid capsizing (famous last words!). The boat is also self righting so she'll come back up if she rolls over. We are fully self sufficient and carry a water maker, all our food and medical supplies. If something goes wrong, the race organisers have two support yachts - usually one at the back of the fleet and the other moving up through the fleet - but help can be two or three days away.

VeteranOfTheFuture212 karma

What's the most interesting aquatic wildlife you've encountered so far?

AtlanticDiscovery14 karma

Isaac here - We've seen lots of dolphins, a turtle, squid and fish (and caught three), but I'd have to say the most mindblowing encounter was swimming with five or six Common Minke whales. It really makes the whole thing worth while! Jack got woken up by a flying fish slapping his face. Technically, he didn't see it, so it may be the sleep deprivation and exhaustion speaking!

ironlabel1148 karma

I’m going to ask the real important questions. So how do you poop?

AtlanticDiscovery6 karma

Jack here - Probably the same way you do, albeit into a bucket, not a toilet!

Samachan8289 karma

Who has grown the longest beard?

AtlanticDiscovery17 karma

Jack here - I'd have to say it's me, which is good because it makes me the de facto Captain of this here ship

imeansa65 karma

How many times have you guys discussed eating Ben?

AtlanticDiscovery8 karma

Isaac here - Our expedition meals are pretty salty and lack in variety. Thankfully we've held off eating Ben, but only because we've managed to catch a couple of Dorado. Ceviche > Ben

EDIT: Here's one of the Dorado we caught: https://imgur.com/a/Uo2PXDf

Logofascinated62 karma

What do you guys talk about to while away the time?

Do you have any strategies to alleviate boredom?

Is it tough to be in such close proximity with each other for so long?

AtlanticDiscovery9 karma

Isaac here - we listen to music, podcasts and messages from family and friends. We talk to each other - one of our friends sent in some questions as conversation starters. Things like: Would you rather have massive hands and a tiny head or a massive head and tiny hands... We also have a book with messages from our supporters - and a reminder of why we started the row in the first place! Here's a link to the book: http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/9080824-keep-on-rowing

clappingenballs42 karma

I guess this is AMA no AMA and we'll answer?

AtlanticDiscovery6 karma

Ben here - we are really enjoying the questions that have come up on the AMA!

HakunaSomeWhiskey38 karma

How do you sleep??

AtlanticDiscovery8 karma

Jack here - A good book and a candle, and if we're feeling fancy we break out the incense. Our routine is 2 hours on the oars and 2 hours off, so after we've eaten, contacted family and done other odd jobs, we get to sleep for just under 2 hours at a time, before getting up and rowing for a further two hours.

AtlanticDiscovery31 karma

Hey thanks for your interest and questions in advance! We will be answering them during our AMA on Monday 14th January 14:00 GMT

lastsynapse31 karma

Which one of you is not rowing their fair share?

AtlanticDiscovery8 karma

Isaac here - Jack is the tallest and the strongest (he thinks), and so he's probably putting in the fewest strokes, if thats what you mean? If not, it's probably me seeing as i'm on Reddit...

Bsli27 karma

Hi! I have a couple questions.

  1. What made you choose MS as your charity?

  2. The website link says you've been on the water for 30 days! I assume that means no land time at all. How do you deal with food storage and food.... waste?

  3. What made you decide to do It and how much rowing experience do you have in the past?

AtlanticDiscovery7 karma

Ben here - my mum Rose was diagnosed with MS 18 years ago. One day she was taking me to school, and the next she couldn't. I've watched her - every day - facing her personal challenges with incredible grit and determination. She has taught me that overcoming adversity makes you grow as a person. We want more people to be aware that MS affects 2.5 million people worldwide and we want to fundraise so we can try and make a difference to making the world free of MS. The money will go to support our two chosen charities - the MS Society (for researching a cure) and the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre (who provide support to people and families with MS). We have received wonderful support and are 26% towards are £60K target. Please support us if you can https://www.atlanticdiscovery.co.uk/charity/

ArtDSellers26 karma

Why do you say this is the world's toughest row? Wouldn't the Pacific necessarily be more difficult, owing to the much greater distance? Is there something particular about the Atlantic that makes it tougher?

AtlanticDiscovery7 karma

Cam here - this is a tough one. Yes - I think rowing any ocean is pretty tough. There are longer rows, colder rows, and rows with even wilder weather than we've experienced so far. Rowing solo must also be out there in challenging. My guess is this is the world's toughest organised row.

MrJates19 karma

What's the toughest part of your journey?

AtlanticDiscovery9 karma

Cam here - I think I speak for everyone when I say sleep. Eating, washing and boat maintenance pale into insignificance when your body is crying out for sleep. It's interesting how we have all adapted to the relentless pace - our boat never stops moving unless we stop briefly for hull cleaning or a special event. But after our first fresh meal on land - we're all probably going to try and get some zzzzz's!

PM_Skunk14 karma

Scale is tough to see from the tracker. Are the teams you're racing against in view at any point, or is it mostly just you and the ocean?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Jack here - Annoyingly the tracker doesn't have a scale on it. On the 5th Jan we got within 100 metres of another boat, Row4Victory. I think you'll be able to see this on the tracker linked in the post description. For the most part we don't really see other boats in the race, just the ocean and the stars.

it_is_not_magic11 karma

How much did your boat cost? Is it specialized, how so?

AtlanticDiscovery7 karma

Cam here - so, these boats are specialised - they're ocean rowing boats and ours was built by Rannoch for a team of four - the R45. https://www.rannochadventure.com/ Fully kitted a brand new boat will cost between £80-90K.

Tomb5tone11 karma

How do you have cell reception/service waaaaay out there?

AtlanticDiscovery7 karma

Jack here - We have two satellite phones and a device which acts as a wifi router, meaning we can briefly connect our phones to the internet to use Email/Whatsapp/Telegram etc. Having this communication is crucial, as it allows us to get weather reports from our weather router Leven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leven\_Brown), and means we can stay in touch with loved ones (and do Reddit AMAs). It's really helped to boost morale, especially over Christmas!

LivingInTheVoid9 karma

Have any of you masturbated on this trip? My balls start to hurt after two or three days without cleaning out the old pipes.

AtlanticDiscovery6 karma

Jack here - We have freed ourselves of all earthly temptations...

grigoritheoctopus8 karma

Did you guys catch any fish? What kind? What was the weirdest thing you saw while rowing out in the Atlantic?

AtlanticDiscovery6 karma

Cam here - Isaac and I are very keen on fishing and we've run a line out behind the boat a few times. We have caught and eaten two Dorado (https://imgur.com/a/Uo2PXDf) and caught a third Dorado - filmed it underwater with our GoPro and then released it. The weirdest thing? Isaac doing his light dance lol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60tlPnhqwqI

bloody-_-mary6 karma

How do you use the internet there?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Ben here - it's not as easy as at home.

As Jack answered - we have two satellite phones and a device which acts as a wifi router, meaning we can briefly connect our phones to the internet to use Email/Whatsapp/Telegram etc. Having this communication is crucial, as it allows us to get weather reports from our weather router Leven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leven\_Brown), and means we can stay in touch with loved ones (and do Reddit AMAs). It's really helped to boost morale, especially over Christmas!

Grepus6 karma

Hey guys, hope you succeed in your journey and challenge, huge props.

Have you heard of Lee Spencer? He did the row as part of a 4 man team a few years ago and literally just set off two days ago to row the Atlantic solo! He's a former Royal Marine and amputee, hoping to smash the able-bodied solo record.

What was the hardest part of the journey over? How did you combat sea-sickness? Any amazing sights?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Ben here - thanks so much! Great news about Lee - thanks for letting us know. We will start following him as soon as we get to shore - what a guy. It takes a special person to row solo. Respect. I guess the hardest part was adjusting to the schedule of row, eat, sleep, repeat. It's hard in the beginning but you get into it after about a week. We are really lucky because we didn't have much seasickness. Only Jack suffered for a few days but got his sea legs pretty quickly. And yes, to me the stars, the moon and the sun seem so much bigger out here. You really feel close to nature. I'm really loving the journey.

lowlandr6 karma

Did you sing a round of row row row your boat yet? Doesn't count unless you do...

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Jack here - A couple of weeks of 'row your boat', a week or so of viking chants and then onto the sea shanties. We have speakers built into the boat which allows us to save our voices!

five-oh-one5 karma

Looks like you have a long row to hoe.....how long will it take to make the 700 miles?

AtlanticDiscovery4 karma

Isaac here - we're hoping it won't take us more than 9 more days! It's taken us 31 days to do the 2080 nautical miles we've rowed so far and since posting this AMA we've reduced the deficit to 640 NM

iller_mitch5 karma

I watched a documentary about women rowing the pacific. They cried a lot. How often do you cry before taking your turn on the oars?

AtlanticDiscovery5 karma

Jack here - every waking moment

iTeachDougie5 karma

What did you guys forget?

AtlanticDiscovery6 karma

Isaac here - About 1/3 of our food was left back in the UK... oops. It means that 1/3 of our meals are made from powdered meal supplements.

ends_abruptl5 karma

Are you sure you turned off the iron?

AtlanticDiscovery4 karma

Cam here - I really really hope so!

PostwarVandal4 karma

Are you sure you didn't leave the stove on back home?

AtlanticDiscovery5 karma

Ben - I'm sure I would have heard about it by now!

PinkAbuuna4 karma

You do realise you're insane, right?

Why did you decide to do this?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Ben here - absolutely! I was inspired by meeting some rowers who had done it four years ago and it was one of those things that just stuck in my mind. I knew I wanted to do it for my mum and MS from the start. I've done quite a few other challenges for MS - not on this scale though! I'm really excited to be able to give back a little of the support my mum has received over the last 18 years. And I really hope that the money we raise will make a difference to others with this condition - and maybe even pay for research towards a cure.

smalliver4 karma

do you take turns closing your eyes while one guy wanks, then trade?

AtlanticDiscovery5 karma

Isaac here - every day.

Flablessguy3 karma

How does rowing a boat cure MS? Not to say raising awareness doesn’t do anything, but are you guys getting anything out of it?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Ben here - we are on an amazing journey. We have met such inspirational and supportive people along the way and we have the priviledge of the opportunity to do an extreme endurance challenge and learn what we are capable of achieving, and at the same time give a little back. There are so many people interested in our story, and a lot of them have supported our cause in many different ways, not only through donations. The money we raise will hopefully make a small difference to our two chosen charities - the MS Society (for researching a cure) and the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre (who provide support to people and families with MS). We have received wonderful support and are 26% towards our £60K target.

meep-a-confessional3 karma

What's the scariest weather been?
How long have each of you been rowing?
How old are each of you?
How big is the boat?
Would each of you rate yourselves as swimmers?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - we've actually been pretty fortunate with the weather so far. We've experienced about 10 squalls - where the rain is literally horizontal - and the odd bolt of lightning and some pretty bumpy sea, but nothing too scary - more exhilirating! Ooo - we've been at sea for 31 days, rowing 12 hours each day - so over 350 hours each. Wow that's mad! Myself, Jack and Ben are 25 and then there's Cam, the old seadog - he had his 51st birthday just after we started out. The boat is 28ft including the cabin space. I am the strongest swimmer in the team. I swam for my county up until a few years back and I also swam the English Channel in a relay.

Drum_Stick_Ninja3 karma

How’s the internet connection?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Cam here - generally pretty good. We get 70/80% signal from either the west or east satellites overhead so haven't experienced any connection problems. The tricky thing is we have to point and hold the router up to the signal to keep it strong which can be pretty tiring for long periods of time!

VanillaGorilla4203 karma

What cha doin in my waters? What do you think of me? Make an assessment! You ever drink Bailey's from a shoe?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - we're game to try anything - you bring the Bailey's, I'll bring the shoe.

a_proof_is_a_proof3 karma

What's fart etiquette on your boat? To be done on deck?

AtlanticDiscovery4 karma

Jack here - Farting is predominantly done on the poop deck

iTeachDougie3 karma

Did you bring any drugs with you? Weed, Mushrooms, tobacco, etc.

AtlanticDiscovery5 karma

Isaac here - Just the essentials (some rum and a small bottle of red wine)

smegdawg3 karma

What do your hands look like?

AtlanticDiscovery5 karma

Jack here - Six fingers, two thumbs... you know, the usual...

Unlawful023 karma

How the hell are you using reddit ?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Cam here - we've got an amazing land based team - George (Jack's brother) and Penny (my sister) - who are copying our answers from instant messenger to Reddit for us. They're probably correcting our spelling too...

TrakiTraki3 karma

Did you meet any ships or boats or anything or you've been completely alone all this time?

AtlanticDiscovery4 karma

Issac here - we've had two encounters with shipping! In the first few days we saw a tanker in the distance - and about a week ago our closest competition Row4Victory - a team of four rowers from Yorkshire passed us in the night. We did some light signalling and chatted to them - that was great. Obviously we'd prefer them to be looking at the back of our boat...

flyguysd3 karma

According to the map there were a few days like Jan 2nd where most of the boats turned north and either backtracked or went in a loop. What happened?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Jack here - the south wind kicked in pretty hard and started blowing the boats to the north. Some teams put out a 'para-anchor', a large chute which slows the boat. Some boats try to row against the wind or missed the worst of it.

caitmp923 karma

I am trying to track you guys on the app. There are a lot of groups (13) within the Atlantic Challenge and I cannot figure out which one you guys are on. What do i search for to track you?

AtlanticDiscovery4 karma

Cam here - our team is Atlantic Discovery - there are three boats right in front, and we are in the second group of three - coming 6th at the moment. If you point your cursor to the green boat the name will come up! Here is an old video we did at Christmas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc3ubcJr7B8&t=226s

WolfOfOxfordStreet3 karma

How do you handle your uh....male hormones? And the need to...relieve them?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Like everything else in this challenge, a great deal of discipline is involved

Bigingreen3 karma

How's the reception?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - pretty shit!

Breaching_Narwhal3 karma

What do you do if you break an oar? Do you have extras? What level of rowing do you do and how much experience do you have? I row too so I find this super cool.

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Jack here - we have spare oars strapped to the boat, just in case! In terms of experience, I've been rowing for 7 years, whereas Isaac had never rowed when he agreed to this. Many people who choose this challenge go into it with minimal rowing experience, as much of the challenge involved is a mental one, and the physical aspects of the challenge are not really related to rowing technique (think chafing, sores, boils, muscle ache etc.)

ItzGrenier3 karma

Was there a topic that dominated the conversation during your long trip?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - FOOD!!

IcommentB4Iread3 karma

How long is it going to take?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Ben here - we are hoping to finish our row in the next 9 days - so in total it will be close to 40 days at sea. Pretty amazing considering we're rowing 3,000 miles!

restlessmonkey3 karma

Are you nuts???!!

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Jack here - naaaaaaaaah

Sirjohnington3 karma

When you get to Cloggy's what will you order first?

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - we're arriving in English Harbour in Antigua and I've already put in my order for the biggest steak on the island, followed by the biggest chicken, with masses of fresh vegetables, salad and fruit. That's just for starters. I've got the biggest appetite on the boat...

ShadowBlade6152 karma

How do you communicate with the outside world? How do you have the internet to talk to us or blog?

AtlanticDiscovery2 karma

Jack here - We have two satellite phones and a device which acts as a wifi router, meaning we can briefly connect our phones to the internet to use Email/Whatsapp/Telegram etc. Having this communication is crucial, as it allows us to get weather reports from our weather router Leven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leven\_Brown), and means we can stay in touch with loved ones (and do Reddit AMAs). It's really helped to boost morale, especially over Christmas!

HulkThrowsBear2 karma

See any sea monsters? If so tell them I said “hey...”

AtlanticDiscovery3 karma

Isaac here - ahhh, that's what they are... I'll say hi!