Having a team from Antiguan and Barbuda in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge was a dream than Nick had for a very long time. He had saved and had sacrificed for it, and in the end Team Wadadli was more successful than he had ever dreamed of it being.
His team inspired people from across the world and gave Antiguans and Barbudans something to be very proud of. They were the favorite team of all other teams, and were able to raise half a million EC dollars for their charity, The St. Johns Hospice. Kids from all over Antigua followed them and came out to see them when they arrived back home. Team Wadadli then visited many schools with their boat. It was a huge big deal for Antigua as I talked about in my blog a few days before they arrived back home.
Thankfully our Team Antigua has helped Nick recoup some of his expenditures and hopes to provide some of the "icing on the cake" that he had talked about in his blog. He sold the Team Wadadli boat and trailer to us for US $70,000. With it, was all of equipment required to take part in the event EXCEPT oars. He had given his 8 oars away to his family and some friends. We were lucky enough to get 4 oars on loan from his grandkids so that we could start our training. We have a quote for US $4320 for new oars before they are shipped!
If you have been following our Facebook page, you will see that we have been out training on the boat (Wa'Omoni) and have also been doing rowing machine and other physical training too.
Team Antigua Atlantic Rowers can't afford to do this campaign financially without full sponsorship. Nick discounted the boat and equipment by about US $20,000 from what he originally paid, but with our plan to have much more training and to have a much more active social media presence from now until we finish including regular satellite video feeds, we feel that we will end up spending the same and possibly more than Team Wadadli did. In fact, there is no doubt that it will be more. It's our goal to be very competitive in the 2017/2018 event and we are committed to training hard and making the sacrifice needed to make sure Antigua and Barbuda has a team among the top finishers.
Our team has already spent EC $225,000 with money we have borrowed from our personal savings and from loans from family and friends. If we didn't make the sacrifice and take the chance, then the boat may have been sold and it would have been difficult to get prepared for the 2017 event. Team Wadadli's boat was listed internationally for sale, and Nick had been receiving emails from potential teams. We knew that we had to bite the bullet and get the ball rolling. We're glad we did, but need support.
Again, there is absolutely no way we can keep this boat or even consider entering the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge unless we come up with enough sponsorship to do it properly with several long distance crossings to the BVI which involved shipping the boat back. We also plan to fly in a world record holder to do training/coaching with us in September. We will have a website built soon which will clearly show what our expenses have been and will be as we move closer toward the start of the TWAC2017 event. Additionally we will have info on our charity and how much money we have raised toward our fund raising goal for that.
This is a time for great opportunity. As it happens, I started and managed the Team Wadadli Facebook page and their Twitter accounts. I didn't setup an instagram, youtube or Vimeo account and don't think they had them. However, with their accomplishments and challenges it made for fantastic social media and their posts often went viral. One post I looked at the other day was seen by 55,000 people on Facebook. I know some had more views. I paid for no "boosting" of their Facebook posts and all of the coverage was "organic" in nature. Despite this, the coverage was huge because we all loved what they were doing and it was gripping stuff!
With better understanding about what an Atlantic Rowing Challenge is now in the international media, in the Caribbean media and in locally covered media, the potential for coverage is better than ever. With tracking systems and real time live broadcasting, the potential is exciting and very promising. Our team members all use various social media outlets and are all great photographers. Some of us have experience making films and with improved satellite data uploads we plan to be a very active social media team which is as committed to potential sponsors as we are to our training and the ultimate goal of being a top finisher.
If you or your company is interested in possibly being part of this team and helping us over the next 550+ days then I would like to meet with you ASAP. We have a solid commitment from one potential sponsor for US $100,000. They watched the Team Wadadli campaign and felt that Antigua and Barbuda needed another team. They know what it did for our country and see the potential. We would much rather have one other big sponsor cover the entire remaining budget and will try for that. However, like Dr. Nick Fuller explained in his blog above, it isn't always easy for people and companies to see the big picture until there's a big group of people following. Successful individuals and companies are the ones who see the potential before the horse is out of the stall. Will that be your company? We hope so. Get in touch with me and let's talk about it. Have a look at the Team Wadadli Facebook and the Team Antigua Facebook pages too.
As a side note, John and I went for a lunchtime row yesterday as seen above on a screen shot taken from our Inreach satellite tracking device, and it was amazing at how many people on the beaches cheered us on and how many boats stopped to take photos and offer encouragement.
We stopped at Darkwood Beach for lunch and had quite a few people come and talk to us about the boat and about the challenge. Adventure Antigua would sponsor this team if I could afford it!