Brightsides complete challenging 3,200-mile dash across the Atlantic

Image of Brightsides returning home having finished the Atlantic Dash

After a remarkable 52 days at sea The Brightsides Rowing team have done it! 

Led by skipper Rod Adlington, a turkey farmer from Balsall Common, the four-strong crew, which also included Guy Minshull from Kenilworth, serving paratrooper Alex Perry and Lancashire vet Anna Williams, have rowed 3,200 miles non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for Get A-Head and Meningitis Now

The crew have become the first mixed team and the fastest so far to complete the C-Map Atlantic Dash – one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges – and Anna is also the first female to complete this specific ocean regatta. 

The success follows months of planning, training and dedication from Rod, who decided to embark on the rowing challenge in memory of his son Barney, who died from meningitis in 2005 when he was just three-year’s old. 

The team set off from the island of Lanzarote on January 3 in their boat named Mrs Nelson and have rowed non-stop in two-hour shifts for the duration of the journey which ended on February 25 when they arrived in Jolly Harbour, Antigua. 

The team faced significant storms, waves as high as high as 30ft, challenging wind conditions, flying fish, sea sickness, sleep deprivation and severe blistering to the hands during the voyage. 

They also experienced some of the most magnificent sunsets, multiple close encounters with dolphins and whales and Rod celebrated his birthday whilst out at sea. 

The crossing took longer than anticipated due to testing weather and unpredictable sea conditions, but The Brightsides are still the fastest crew to have completed the C-Map Atlantic Dash in 52 days, 18 hours and 53 minutes. 

Family, friends and locals gathered for the crew’s arrival in Jolly Harbour on Sunday and they were welcomed in by the sound of bagpipes and drums playing. 

Stepping onto dry land for the first time in weeks, Rod said: “I feel amazing, it’s just incredible that we made it.  

“The weather was truly awful at times, and we endured some real battles. There were moments when we questioned if we would make it and we worried that food supplies were running low.  

“The winds we encountered stopped us dead in our tracks at points on the crossing but all we kept thinking was that we didn’t want to stop or have to be rescued so we just battled on the best we could.  

“I think the worst moment was when we had to row backwards to make sure we hit the wind in the right direction so that we could move forwards again. That was tough. But we made it, and we are incredibly grateful for all the support we have received.” 

Rod paid tribute to his “incredible” crew describing Guy as an “absolute rock”, praising Alex for his organisational skills, supplies of hidden treats and life-saving noodles, and Anna for her “constant positivity” and sheer power. 

“My three crew mates have been utterly incredible, and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. 

“We’ve rowed for more than 660 two-hour sessions and the boat has only stopped five-times – on one occasion to celebrate my birthday and the others so that we could scrape the hull.  

“We’ve not stopped moving. We’ve done hundreds of crew changeovers during the journey and no one has been late or missed a session which is utterly staggering. 

“Hand on heart, I can honestly say that we left Lanzarote as three colleagues and we have arrived in Antigua as friends for life. 

“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to row with these guys. I feel so blessed and happy to have had them by my side and I cannot thank them enough.” 

The Brightsides team – named after Barney’s favourite song ‘Mr Brightside by The Killers – has so far raised almost half of its £250,000 target. 

Tom Bromwich, chair of trustees at Get A-Head, said: “We could not be prouder of Rod and the crew. What they have achieved over the last few weeks is truly remarkable.  

“I for one cannot begin to imagine what it must be like rowing non-stop for six weeks with so little sleep and nothing more than flap jack and ration packs for nourishment.” 

Danni Heath, Get A-Head director, added: “The Brightsides are an inspiration, and we would like to congratulate Rod, Alex, Anna and Guy for their dedication and commitment to completing this challenge. 

“The money they have raised will help us to continue our brilliant work to support people across the UK living with head and neck diseases.” 

The Brightsides crew have been supported on their journey by headline sponsors Bromwich Hardy and Lodders Solicitors. 

The C-Map Atlantic Dash is an annual ocean rowing challenge organised by Monkey Fish Adventures. 

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