Four men from Shropshire, England, were making good headway in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, in which 36 teams from 13 countries currently are racing across the Atlantic in rowboats, when a marlin attacked their boat, spearing a hole in their deck and through lockers, where their food is stored.
Stuart Shepherd, Martin Skehan, and brothers Gary and Stuart Richards, who are participating in the challenge under the team name “The Wrekin Rowers,” took to the water on December 12 with the goal of rowing 3,000 miles unassisted to raise money for charity. Before the attack, they were on pace to complete the challenge in just 38 days.
Nobody was injured in the attack, and the damage is controllable, but the added weight of the water they have taken on is slowing them down, says Shepherd’s daughter Amy. The crew refused help from the safety boat, as it would then be considered an assisted crossing.
Marlins are common in the Atlantic Ocean, and this attack is a good reminder of how dangerous such challenges can be.