About

THE CHALLENGE

The Race

The world's toughest row' sums it up nicely! Starting in San Sebastian, La Gomera, Canary Islands and finishing in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua the 4800kms crossing is a true test of the mental and physical capacities of a human being. Devised by Sir Clay Blyth while he was rowing the North Atlantic with John Ridgeway in 1966, theirs was a 92 day battle against hurricanes, 50 foot waves and starvation. To this day more people have summited Everest and been into space then successfully rowed the Atlantic ocean. Too add a degree of difficulty to the already daunting challenge Damian will be competing as a solo rower, so no support boat, no company, just himself and a boat load of food surrounded by a vast amount of water.

"I want to test myself mentally and physically in the world's most extreme environments. These experiences are incredibly powerful and rewarding, giving you a windows into corners of yourself you very rarely if ever get to see"

The Dream

"I have been dreaming about partaking in the Atlantic Challenge ever since reading Ben Fogle's and James Cracknell's The Crossing. I'm one of those dangerous people who takes actions on their dreams, it comes down to a simple life philosophy to do what makes me happy"

The Challenge

I have always loved extremes. For me running a marathon holds no appeal but talk to me about running 6 in 5 and half days across the Sahara desert self-supported and my ears perk up. I want to test myself mentally and physically in the most extreme conditions possible. These experiences are incredible powerful, they give you a window into corners of yourself you very rarely if ever get to see.

The Rewards

What are the rewards from attempting to row across an ocean? I'd be lying if I didn't use the dramatic pictures of previous rowers finishing in the dark of night holding a flare aloft in triumph or the emotional images of rowers reuniting with family and friends on the dock for the first time as motivation but for me the real reward will come having committed and prepared to do something i have dreamt of doing for a long time. I believe if you are to live a happy, contented, fulfilled live you must live genuinely. So chase those dreams no matter how big they may seem, if you are a successful or fail in attaining them is inconsequential.

The Adventure

"Who doesn't enjoy a adventure? Well it turns out lots of people. Some people never feel the urge to leave their house, their town, their county or country and they are content in that. Then there's those of us who can't stay still, those with a deep urge to try new things, move and explore. But why? Enter DRD4-7r. DRD4-7r is a mutation of a gene that releases dopamine to the brain. Studies have shown that people who have this mutation are more prone to take risks, experiment with new ideas, food, relationships, embrace movement, desire change, to pursue short-term rewards, actively avoid monotony and to respond to novelty, earning the mutation the nickname The Explorers Gene. The gene is found to be highly prevalent in Nomadic groups, athletes, pilots, photographers and astronauts. So i think it's safe to say that this ex-pro rugby player, currently studying photography and preparing to row across the Atlantic Ocean knows where his craving for adventure comes from"

The Boat

Meet DARIEN! A Phil Morrison design MK5 Ocean Rowing Boat.


  • Darien was constructed by experienced boat builder Justin Adkin of SeaSabre Ltd, Axminster, Devon in 2014. Justin is also a ocean rower, having crossed the Atlantic (E/W) in 2005/6.
  • Darien's hull is made of marine grade fibreglass and measures just over 7m.
  • Darien is designed exclusively for a solo rower and will self-right immediately in case of a capsize.
  • Darien was previously owned and raced by Elsa Hammond in the 2014/15 Great Pacific Race, Monterey to Hawaii.
  • Darien has two cabins on either end of the boat. The larger aft cabin is home to all the boat's electronics not to mention Damian's bed.

"One of the reasons I decided to do this as a solo entrant is I don't see how I am going to fit in the cabin alone never mind with someone else"