The Big Oardeal Crew Arrive in Antigua. Photo from Worlds Toughest Row

The Big Oardeal

The Big Oardeal have finished the Worlds Toughest Row in 41 days, 6 hours and 44 minutes. Watch their arrival in Antigua and hear from the crew here.

Birketts is a proud sponsor of The Big Oardeal, a four-man crew who have taken on the World’s Toughest Row in a bid to raise £100,000 for charity.

The challenge saw up to 30 teams row 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometres) across the Mid Atlantic from San Sebastian De La Gomera to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua.

The race began in early December 2023 and The Big Oardeal crew completed it in 41 days in their 28-foot rowing boat specially designed for ocean voyages. With very limited rowing experience, the four friends are using the challenge as an opportunity to raise fund for causes that are dear to their hearts and local communities.

Rowing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they rowed over 1.5 million strokes, burned 5,000 calories a day, and faced waves up to 20 feet high.

As one of the crew’s sponsors, all of us at Birketts congratulate The Big Oardeal crew on their challenge of a lifetime.

Meet the crew

Richard Janes

Richard lives in Blakeney, Norfolk with his wife and three children. He started rowing at the age of 6 and continued each summer until he was 10. Rowing experience has been limited since then but he’s confident that it will all come flooding back.

John Solosy

John lives in Cardiff with his wife and three children. He’s looking forward to the challenge of a lifetime and the opportunity to immerse himself in nature. He’s not looking forward to sleep deprivation and the snoring of his crew mates.

James Bracey

James lives in Warham, Norfolk with his wife and two children and works for the Holkham Estate. He’s excited about raising charitable funds for the local community whilst raising awareness of our fragile oceans and hopefully seeing a whale or two. He’s considerably less excited about the “bucket” toilet arrangements on the boat.

John Ashton

John lives in Cardiff with his wife and two children. His rowing experience is limited to a rowing machine in the front room but this does at least overlook a lake. He’s looking forward to testing his personal limits while raising money for great causes.

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