The two vessels—Pura Vida and Bright Spark—were taking part in the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race. Staged this year for only the third time, the gruelling contest involves teams of two rowing almost 3,000 nautical miles in identical boats across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the West Indies.
The event started on October 19 and Akzo Nobel’s International Paint business worked closely with several of the 15 teams to help their specially adapted boats withstand the elements.
This year’s event was won in a record 40 days five hours and 31 minutes by a team from New Zealand, who beat the old record by more than 21 hours.
Unfortunately for Pura Vida and Bright Spark, although they crossed the finish line in fourth and fifth places respectively (in 51 days 12 hours and 52 days 2 hours) neither will receive on official race placing.
This is because both crews were forced to receive outside assistance (a breach of the rules) after onboard water-makers failed on the two craft. However, they will still be credited with successfully rowing across the Atlantic and their achievements and crossing times will be recorded in the history books.
Another boat coated by Akzo Nobel—2 Blokes, No Smokes—isaround 200 nautical miles from the finish and looks likely to finish in official ninth place.
The race has been held on two previous occasions, in 1997 and 2001, and is organized by Sir Chay Blyth’s Challenge Business. It was Blyth who first rowed across the Atlantic in 1966 with colleague John Ridgway.
(Released: December 15, 2003; Updated December 23)