Dafydd Helps-Fursee

Crew name: Canvey Buoy

Age: 30

Height: 5′ 11″ (182cm)

Weight: 86kg

Location: Canvey Island, Essex

Occupation: Teacher

Sea Experience: Moderate

Why are you competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

It is hard to describe why anyone would want to row an ocean. Days upon days of repetitive displeasure, whilst peering out at the bleak expanse of the open ocean. It’s very discouraging. But, for the few who venture out into the ocean; they earn the privilege of joining a very exclusive club. A club which boast fewer members than have ever climbed mountain Everest or that have ever trekked to the South pole. The club of ocean rowers. For me, there is no greater achievement.

What are you most looking forward to?

To be honest, I’m torn between two answers. Firstly, I’m really looking forward to taking on an endurance adventure with a group of friends who I truly cherish and respect. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish and what each day will hold for us all. It’s going to be an incredible experience one way or another.

Secondly, I’m keeping everything crossed that we get to encounter a whale along our journey. I’ve been dreaming of swimming with a whale for a very long time and if this opportunity arises, I will be eternally grateful for the experience.

What are you least looking forward to?

It sounds nostalgic, but I don’t think there is anything I am not looking forward to. I want the full experience and everything the ocean has to offer – good and bad. Only this way can you honestly say that you have rowed an ocean.

Who is your selected charity?

I have selected the Rainbow trust as my designated charity. If you’ve never heard of the Rainbow Trust before, I highly recommend checking out their website using the link below. These incredible people support families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. They have a number of centres up and down the country, including here in Essex, and help to support upwards of 2,500 families.

Lewis Wadsley

Crew name: Blackthorn Buoy

Age: 27

Height: 5′ 11″ (182cm)

Weight: 88kg

Location: Blackthorn, Oxfordshire

Occupation: Engineer

Sea Experience: Bodyboarding in Wales 15 years ago

Why are you competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

Daf asked me to. I was too stupid to say no.

What are you most looking forward to?

Retrieving my sneaker hipflask from the hull at the 1500 miles mark and looking out at the ocean and wondering how I ended up here. In addition to this, I’m also looking forward to being cut off from the world. No phones, no emails, no pressure, It’s literally sink or swim.

What are you least looking forward to?

Giving up two (or more) tier burgers and losing weight. I’m also dreading the training routine and also taking up running to prepare for the row.

Years of physical abuse to my body, all self-inflicted, have left me with a flabby, gasping, meat vessel. Destined to follow in the path of Elvis Pressley. This needs to change!

Who is your selected charity?

Engineers without Borders;

It all starts with making sure that in classrooms, lecture halls and boardrooms people understand the social, economic and environmental impact engineering can have. They inspire practicing engineers, and engineers of the future, to apply their skills to make positive contributions to the world.

They also support the development of alternative technologies and infrastructure and the advancement of new approaches to ensure that engineering can be a positive catalyst for change

Lewis Tillett

Crew name: Epping Buoy

Age: 30

Height: 5′ 7″ (172cm)

Weight: 88kg

Location: Epping, Essex

Occupation: Teacher

Sea Experience: Minimal

Why are you competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

One lunch time Daf says to me “Have you ever rowed an ocean before?” I said “No”. Daf asks “have you ever considered it?”, I said “No”. The day moved one and this conversation lit a spark in my mind and when I got home, I did some research into ocean rowing and quickly began to realise that this can be more than just a pipe dream. I have been involved in team sports for as long as I can remember and I am a great believer in the power of sport to unite people. I am always up for a challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

What are you least looking forward to?

Being away from my wife, daughter, friends and family. There’s nothing I cherish more than family and I can honestly not imagine what it is going to be like when I am away from them for two or maybe more month.

Who is your selected charity?

I have chosen the Tag Rugby Trust. I have worked with this charity before in 2013 and 2015. They use rugby as a vehicle to build futures for some of the most disadvantaged children and adults in the world. I have seen firsthand the amazing work they do and the impact it has on the lives of the people they work with. Working with young people in third world continues has changed my

mindset and taught me to appreciate everything I have and not to take things for granted as the people I met had so little but are so happy to be alive