Not only is Gavan Hennigan the first extreme environment athlete to appear in the series, by trade, he is also a deep-sea saturation diver and holds the record for the fastest solo competitor to ever complete the 5,000km Atlantic rowing race. This week, Gavan speaks openly about his incredible journey from being a drug addict on the run (7:00) to working 200 metres below sea level (25:00) and being able to survive the jaw-dropping realities of surviving 50 days alone at sea (52:00).
In the last few days of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a three-man boat of American rowers was closing in on a solo boat helmed by 35 year-old Irishman, Gavan Hennigan.
It was time for Hennigan to dig deep and find something within himself to close out the race. After rowing 5,556 kilometers from San Sebastien in La Gomera to the English Harbour in Antigua, Hennigan came in on February 1st in third place behind two four-man boats. In the process, he crushed the Irish record for a solo Atlantic crossing by finishing in 49 days, 11 hours, 37 minutes. His final push was 14 hours of straight rowing.
Irish adventurer Gavan Hennigan woke up on Irish soil on Monday morning for the first time in 2017.
The Galwayman returned to Dublin Airport on Sunday afternoon, just over a week after rowing across the Atlantic. Hennigan competed in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, finishing the race in third place. He was the first solo rower to complete the race, in just under 50 days.
Galway's Gavan Hennigan has become the fastest Irishman to row across the Atlantic.
The 35-year-old completed the 5,000km journey, crossing the line in Antigua, after 49 days, 11 hours, 37 minutes at sea.
Adrenaline junkies from across the UK and Ireland will spend Christmas in the middle of the Atlantic as they compete in an endurance event dubbed the world's toughest rowing race.
Months of preparation, training and fitness regimes will come to a head on Wednesday at the start of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge when the 12 teams leave La Gomera in the Canary Islands bound for Antigua.
Gavan Hennigan (35) is an extreme environment athlete from Knocknacarra, Galway who is about to row, solo, across the Atlantic. This year he has already finished second in the 500km Yukon Arctic Ultra running race and also completed, in 17 days, a 700km trek across a frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia.
WHEN WE LAST met Galway native Gavan Hennigan, he had just posted the third fastest time in the history of the world’s coldest adventure race — the Yukon Arctic Ultra – running 300 miles in five days on six hours of sleep in -30 Celsius. To help recover, he set off on an expedition along Lake Baikal in Siberia in March. At 636km long, it is the oldest and deepest lake in the world and Hennigan became one of just a handful of people to complete a solo traverse of it.
Gavan Hennigan: 'Sport kept me on the straight and narrow - I still have an addictive personality but now I use it in a positive way'
I'm not a great sleeper in the mornings, so when the alarm goes off at 6am, I'm always keen to get out of bed. The first thing that I do is make coffee. Then I'll check the weather. I can see Galway Bay from the balcony of my apartment. I check the conditions - the wind and the tide - because the aim is to get out rowing. If I'm not going out straight away, I'll do a two-hour session on my rowing machine. It's right in the middle of the living room and takes up a lot of space.
Galway Adventurer Gavan Hennigan is preparing to take on his biggest challenge yet, to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He’s planning to paddle 5000kms from the Canary Islands to the Carribean island of Antigua in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. And he’s hoping to win it.
Gavan Hennigan called into studio to tell Neil about the 5000km rowing race he’s taking on.
Extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan is currently preparing for his third expedition of this year, a 5,000km solo row across the Atlantic Ocean in December. It will be yet another experience that will test him to the limit, requiring vast reserves of mental and physical strength.
Gavan Hennigan will attempt the 5,000km crossing this December as part of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
The event takes place every year from La Gomera in the Canaries to Antigua in the Caribbean, and Mr Hennigan will make it in a specialised Ocean rowing boat, which could take up to three months to complete.