Wave Warrior. It may not be a legendary, fearsome Norse God, but it is the name of a 67ft yacht to successfully circumnavigate the globe as part of the 1997 BT Global Challenge. This race, held every four years, saw a fleet of yachts crewed by ordinary men and women sail round Cape Horn and across the Southern Ocean. This route, often referred to as the ‘wrong way’, was unique in the world of ocean racing, taking the westward route to battle against prevailing winds and currents.
It was 22 years ago that one of these ‘ordinary’ men, embarked on quite possibly the biggest challenge of his life… that man was my father. Joining the other crew members onboard Toshiba Wave Warrior, he raced for over six weeks across the Southern Ocean from Australia to South Africa. As a 9 year old boy, watching my dad sail out of Sydney Harbour was definitely emotional, but it was born from that day that my urge for adventure began to grow. And so, 22 years later, I find myself about to start the biggest adventure of my life, rowing across the Atlantic.
Whilst my dad was taming the storms of the Southern Ocean, I would obsessively follow his tracker for hours at a time. It fascinated me to know he was thousands of miles away in the middle of an ocean, but I could watch him moving right in front of my eyes. Now it is his turn to track me on my journey across the Atlantic. It’s in homage to his adventure all those years ago, I have named my entry into the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, Wave Warrior.
Aside from overcoming the physical challenge of the race, my father took on the feat of raising money for the RNLI. He raised an incredible £120,000; a value I intend to try and beat! A significant portion of this came from sales of the book he wrote, “One Hand for the Boat”. In this he describes life aboard Toshiba Wave Warrior, a very damp and musty yacht he called home.
I had never fully read his book until I began to plan my own journey and was genuinely shocked when I read one of the last lines in the book “I don’t know what my next adventure will be. The Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race? Perhaps, but that’s another story” My dad never did row the Atlantic Ocean (at least not yet!) but I can only hope that in early 2021, an Edwards will have made it across.