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What a difference a day makes. After more than 90 hours of battling waves, headwinds, heat and enormous physical effort, Team Jamison crossed the finish line to win the 2021 edition of the Barcelona - Ibiza: Row to End HPV. The crew have demonstrated the very essence of determination often rowing into the brutal headwind and making no more than half a knot. But, forward progress is still forward progress and the crew continued to battle onwards even as the winds strengthened in the acceleration zone between Ibiza and Majorca where the wind becomes funnelled causing it to intensify.

Arriving a few minutes before dawn the crew rounded the breakwater at Santa Eulalia de Riu, on the southern side of the white isle, and gracefully docked at the marina before heaving themselves onto the pontoon for medals, champagne and a chance to tell us their tales on nearly 100 hours spent battling the Mediterranean. Highlights included the visit from dolphins on the first night and the nearly flat calm seas which followed allowing the team to really stretch their legs, push harder and go faster. Then there were the tales of bizarre dreams and waking up having no idea where you were of what you were doing, which all the rowers attested to and finally the thought from Tom, that a double ironman would be significantly easier (he being a multiple Ironman himself)!!

After processing their passports and completing various Covid related checks the crew were released to their accommodation. We’re sure that they’ll get stuck into a very long shower before thinking about anything else. They have achieved their target and have completed it in style despite the many challenges put in their way. Bravo to this year’s winning crew.

A few miles behind, Team ROWBOTS were finding progress very tough to find. Despite being only a few miles behind, the winds just a short distance to the north of Ibiza last night were a few knots faster than those experienced by Team Jamison ahead making it impossible for the team to push forwards. They have been through so much, they have tested themselves to and beyond their limits and sometimes the time comes when you just need to ask for a little help. For Team ROWBOTS the message came through shortly after half past two in the morning. “We are exhausted fatigued and lost ground. We think we are finished and need to be towed… We are exhausted and under best conditions, two days of rowing is unmanageable. We are just drifting unable to row anymore. All crew exhausted with bruised egos [but] nil else, all healthy”.

At the time the support yacht was busy guiding Team Jamison past the unlit rocks near the finish line but as soon as they were safely in dock the support yacht crew refuelled and headed straight back out to intercept Team ROWBOTS to offer them a tow either to the eastern side of Ibiza or into the finish line. At the time of writing the support yacht was around an hour away from the crew.

We expect that the crew will feel in some way disappointed in their achievement which they have no need to at all. They have taken on an incredible challenge and continued despite the multiple obstacles in their way. They had talked of requesting a tow two days earlier but had bravely fought on and had continued to make progress. But we all have our limits and the crew had redefined theirs by quite some margin. We are really proud of this team and impressed by their determination and drive to press on when they had had enough. We’re impressed by what they’ve achieved and we hope that they are too. Sometimes it’s as much about the journey as the destination.

We remain on standby until all crews are safely off the water.


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