Picton Housemaster Begins 3,000-Mile Journey Across the Atlantic

David Edwards, Housemaster of the Picton is spending the Christmas holidays rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua, as part of the 2019 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. David is undertaking the challenge as part of the ‘Felix Five’ team: a five-man team comprising former Master of Wellington College Julian Thomas, James Wadsworth and David Jarman (both Army offers specialising in bomb disposal) and Ian Holdcroft, an entrepreneur behind the Shackleton clothing brand.

The race is described as the toughest rowing challenge in the world.

In addition to this being a classic adventure and the opportunity to realise a lifetime’s ambition, David aims to raise awareness and support for the Wellington College Bursary Programme.  The team will also be supporting two other charities that are close to the hearts of other members of the crew: The Alzheimers Society and the Felix Fund which supports EOD personnel and their families on their return from high-intensity operational tours.

David and the team depart for the Canaries on Monday 2nd December, where they will undergo a week of preparation, scrutineering and final sea trials before leaving from San Sebastian de La Gomera at 1100hrs GMT on Thursday 12th December.  The aim is to make the crossing in under 40 days during which they will face 40-foot waves, sleep deprivation, as well as the practical challenges of living on a 28-foot rowing boat.

David will be supported in his challenge by Wellington’s Katy Granville-Chapman who will be managing communications and social media for the team.  You can follow the team through the following channels:

Instagram – Felix_5ive
Twitter – @5iveFelix
Via the Atlantic Campaign’s website that will also contain a link to a tracker so that you can follow David’s progress in real time.


  • Rowers will row for 2 hours, and sleep for 2 hours, constantly, 24 hours a day.
  • More people have climbed Everest than rowed an ocean.
  • Over €6million has been raised for charities worldwide over the past 4 races.
  • At its deepest, the Atlantic Ocean is 8.5km/5.28 miles deep.
  • There are two safety yachts supporting the teams as they cross the ocean. In the 2013 race, one yacht travelled a massive 9000nm!
  • The 2013 winning Team Locura arrived in Antigua with a blue marlin beak pierced through the hull of the boat.
  • Each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing.
  • The teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers.
  • In the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, rowing without a rudder to steer with for nearly 1200miles/40 days.
  • Each rower needs to aim to consume 10 litres of water per day made by an on-board water desalinator.
  • Rowers burn in excess of 6,000 calories per day.
  • There is no toilet on board – rowers use a bucket!
  • Each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic!
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