Four Capetonians braved the ocean to complete a transatlantic row from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean for the 2018 Talisker Whisky Challenge, the only all South African team to complete the course in an effort to raise funds for charity.

Team MAD 4 WAVES, made up of four local rowers from Cape Town – Cole Barnard, Lee Gordon, Grant Soll, and Matthew Boynton are the youngest four to have ever rowed across the Atlantic. The team came together with the same goal in mind: raising funds for education in South Africa by competing in one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.

All four rowers are close friends who have been rowing together for over 10 years throughout their schooling and university careers. Partnering with Make A Difference (MAD) Leadership, MAD 4 WAVES aims to sponsor a promising child through high school and raise funds to provide desks for 1 000 learners across the country.

Picture: Facebook/ Atlantic Campaigns , the South African team of rowers

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a 5 500km row where teams must complete the journey in a small row boat built for the course. MAD 4 WAVES began their journey in December 2018 and estimated that it would take them 40 – 60 days to complete the journey.

MAD 4 WAVES explained that they planned to row non-stop during their journey in a social media post.

“We will be rowing 2 hours on, 2 hours off, non-stop, day and night until we reach the finish (around 40-60 days later)! This crossing is known as one of the hardest endurance races on the planet with more people having summited Everest, journeyed the North Pole or ventured into space.”

The team safely arrived arrived in Antigua harbor on January 20 2019 after taking a total of 39 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes to reach the finish line. The MAD team was there to cheer them on and welcomed them with open arms.

Picture: Facebook/ Atlantic Campaigns , captured by Ben Duffy, the South African team celebrating reaching the finish line of the race.

Donation towards MAD 4 WAVES’ fund raising efforts can be made here.


Picture: Facebook/Atlantic Campaign/ The South African team at the finish line, Cole Barnard,Lee Gordon, Grant Soll and Matthew Boynton

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