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What's in a Name?

The Greater Amberjack is an Atlantic fish fondly known as the Sea Donkey for it's stubborn will and strength. Like our namesake we will be channeling these qualities to prepare ourselves for the journey and to take us across the deep blue. And if our stubbornness and strength start to falter, at least we are a silly bunch of donkeys and can rely on our sense of humour and positivity on what is a serious venture!

The Team

Brought together by Ben, we are an international team of kayakers, climbers, skiers and bikers who, after countless individual adventures, have teamed up to take on the world’s toughest row.


Between us, we've climbed in the Dolomites, bike-packed Western Australia, white-water kayaked on New Zealand's West Coast, run across Tasmania and cycled from London to Istanbul but we’ve never crossed an ocean… 


The World’s Toughest Row combines our love of unique experiences, adventure sports, and type 2 fun. Taking on a challenge like this with close friends is an incredible growth, learning, and lifelong memory opportunity, and we think it's going to be absolutely unreal! We are loving the sense of community behind us on this venture, and we’re very eager to use this as a platform to promote our charity Give Directly and Effective Altruism in general.

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Ben Cianchi

Our captain and the driving force behind the expedition, Ben has a deep love for adventure sports and expeditions, typically run on a shoestring budget! Boundless energy and excellent project management skills means this crossing wouldn't be possible without him.

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Daniel Lamb

Highly dependable, an incredible engineer, and gifted with the ability to get the team on the same page, Dan will be fixing technical and people issues throughout our prep and on the crossing. As both an understanding and solution focused person he will keep us pointed west.

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Dexter Williamson

Dexter is always quick with a joke and calm regardless of the situation. After breaking his back in 2021 (a move not endorsed by the team), his resilient character drove a strong recovery, and this quality will be fundamental to overcoming the psychological challenges we will face.

Niels Bardoel

Niels Bardoel

Adaptable and buoyant (a very useful trait on the ocean), Niels' positivity, eye for detail, and physical size will help propel the team to success. He will be in charge of medicals, on-board logistics, and eating all the leftover food.

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Jack Southward

As a seasoned mountain-biker and ultra-runner Jack has both the stamina and focus to keep the team powering towards the long term goal. Having, designed, built and fixed all manner of nautical components Jack will be keeping all kit ship shape both before and during the crossing.

Our Crossing FAQ

  • This is an annual race run by Atlantic Campaigns with roughly 30 boats crossing each year. While we're not in it to win it, we will be racing against the inevitable breakdown of our bodies.

  • When the event goes live there will be a live GPS tracker to follow our progress which we will share.

  • While we have done many different sports, we have no prior rowing experience.

  • Our row across the Atlantic is expected to take approximately 40 days and we will typically row in pairs for 2hrs on / 2hrs off shifts for 24hrs a day.

  • When do we eat and sleep? In our generous 2 hours off shift of course.

  • Where do we sleep? In the luxurious fore and aft cabins

  • How do we go to the toilet? In a bucket!

  • There are no stops, no islands, no boat beside us, and no external assistance once we’re underway other than a daily satellite phone call with Atlantic Campaigns and all the messages from our supporters.

  • By the time we finish the crossing we will have rowed a combined 2,000,000 oar strokes

  • Along our route we will row through water over 7km / 4.3 miles deep

  • The waves that we will experience will reach more than 4x overhead height, technically known as "huge".

  • Our row is timed and routed to catch the Atlantic North East trade winds to help push us west.

  • We will experience a range of temperatures, from as low as 10 degrees during the night shifts at the start, to humid mid 30’s as we approach the finish.

  • We will burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day.

  • We will each lose 7.5-15kg / 15-30lbs on the crossing.

  • We carry all our own food supplies of freeze dried meals and snacks; over 1,000,000 calories on board.

  • Water comes from our electric desalination watermaker on board which runs off solar power and batteries. If that fails we work hard to repair it, and if that fails too then we have a hand-driven backup which requires 8 hours of pumping to create enough water for a day.

  • Our boat is a very successful ocean rowing boat design, she’s a Rannoch R45 named Astrid and has done multiple crossings of the Atlantic.

  • All crewmembers will be attached to the boat’s “jackstay” with a 3 point safety harness whenever they are on deck, and the cabin hatches will be kept closed at all times.

  • Yes, it is possible to capsize however the boat is designed to be self righting and will rarely go the whole way over, only broaching instead

  • If we hit a storm that's too powerful to row through we put out our para-anchor (like an underwater parachute) and bunker down in the cabins for a very snug roller coaster ride.

  • We will have to get into the water every few days to clean the hull and keep her gliding through the water. As always we will be harnessed and tethered to the boat.

  • All our rubbish is kept on board and Atlantic Campaigns will audit our rubbish at the end. Only biodegradables (and Ben if he annoys us) are thrown overboard.

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