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Supporting the Brain Waves Challenge 2020

Rowers taking part in the Brain Waves Challenge 2020

If you had been following our social media channels in March 2020, you would have seen a number of posts related to the Brain Waves Challenge. With the first challenge completed, just what was this all about?

Brain Waves Challenge

The Brain Waves Challenge was the brainchild of Monkey First Adventures, which was headed up by firefighter Billy Taylor and serial expedition hiker and long-distance cyclist Alex Mason. The aim was to take on two ocean rowing challenges in order to raise money for Parkinson's and PTSD.

Both challenges saw the crew equipped with a handheld YB3 device so that the vessel and its crew were followed by the Iridium Satellites every step of their journey. Spectators could access up-to-date information on the location, wind direction, distance rowed, estimated finished time, and more. Keen "dot watchers" could access tracking information here:

Atlantic Ocean

The first of the two planned challenges was for a four-person crew to row across the Atlantic. Alex and Billy, alongside their crew members Firefighter Scott Butler and Liz Dennett who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five weeks before her 44th Birthday, set off from Lanzarote on 5th January.

"The opportunity to row across the Atlantic doesn't come up too often and to help generate research data, vital funds, and awareness of these two, quite frankly scary life-changers, was something I couldn't pass up." - Scott Butler

Despite boat issues which stranded them on Cape Verde for a few days and dropping a team member from 4 to 3, the crew made it all the way to Antigua and even passed competitors in the Talisker Whiskey Challenge.

In total, the YB Tracking Race Viewer was viewed 8,568 times over the course of the challenge. The team came into Antigua's Falmouth Harbour on 5th March 2020.

Race Viewer for the Brain Waves Challenge 2020

Indian Ocean

The next challenge to take place is for the Brain Waves team to take on the Indian Ocean. While intended for 2020, COVID-19 stopped play, and at the time of writing, the team haven't yet been able to complete their journey. However, when they do, Billy and Alex will be joined by ex-firefighter and PTSD sufferer John Haskell and Suffolk paramedic Rachel Hearn. They will row from Australia to Africa non-stop – something no one has ever done non-stop before!

“I know that the Indian Ocean leg is a huge challenge and a world’s first for a reason. I wouldn’t have any confidence or belief in myself to do it alone but I know that with the team we have, we can achieve it." - Rachel Hearn

Monkey Fist Adventures Australia to Africa Map
Image Credit: Monkey Fist Adventures

A few interesting stats about rowing the 5,000 mile the Indian Ocean taken from the Brain Waves website:

  • There have been 42 attempts made to cross the Indian Ocean in an ocean rowing boat

  • There have been 21 successful crossings

  • There have been 21 unsuccessful crossings

  • This gives you a 50% chance of making it across the Indian Ocean. Not bad!

Well done to the amazing Atlantic team on completing their challenge. Good luck to the Indian Team on being as equally awesome. For more information about the Brain Waves Challenge and to donate, visit the Monkey Fist Adventures website.

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