Boats can be raced as a solo, pairs or a four man team in two different classes: Pure Class and Concept Class, with an overall winner in each of these two classes.
No outside assistance is permitted throughout the race. Each team must carry all necessary food, cooking gas, medical kit, and safety equipment for the entire crossing.
Each competitor shall hold a valid RYA Yacht-master Ocean Theory, First Aid at Sea, Sea Survival and a VHF Radio License.
Each competitor must have undertaken a qualifying row and qualifying courses before race start.
The boat shall only be propelled by the rowing effort of the crew and the natural action of the wind, waves and currents acting on the boat.
It’s all about the boat:
The boats are approximately 7.5 meters long and 1.8 meters wide, which means the competitors won’t be able to walk about freely on board. The boats are built of wood, fibre glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar.
Each one will have a small cabin, which is the only protection teams have against the might of the ocean and powerful sun rays. If the weather proves too much for the boat and it capsizes, all the vessels are able to self-right.
All the boats come equipped with water makers which change the sea water into drinking water. They also have solar panels which will power GPS and other vital electrical equipment. Rowers will be equipped with 90 days’ worth of rations, first aid kits and a few small luxuries and reminders of home. If they run out of rations and have to ask for extras, they will be disqualified.
Things have come a long way since the first Atlantic crossing in 1966. Nowadays all the rowing boats are fitted with the latest technology: tracking beacons that signal the boats location, an ‘AIS’ which lets the crews communicate with passing vessels. They also have satellite telephones and specially designed laptops called ‘tough books’. This means that the crews can communicate with the outside world even when they’re 1,500 miles from dry land.