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.
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.
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.