Paul "Frankie" Smith
Paul Smith, 59, Pisces, Flooring Contractor at Kinv.
Paul 'Frankie' Smith currently lives in Thame with his dogs. The father of two got his nickname 'Frankie' growing up because of his resemblance to the David Barry character 'Frankie Abbott' in the sitcom 'Please Sir', and he hasn't been able to shake it off since. A skinhead at 13, Frankie has never really let go of the rebel attitude.A huge Lambretta fanatic and all round lovable chap, you can often find him doing backflips near closing time in any Bucks pub (that is, if he hasn't fallen asleep!).
This will be a huge challenge for Frankie, but one he is looking forward to immensely. With no rowing experience at all, the main reason he decided to take on challenge was to achieve a goal, and what better goal to set yourself than to attempt to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean!
Frankie is also looking forward most to rowing into English Harbour and being reunited with his friends and family alongside a beer! In Frankie’s own words the part of the experience he is least looking forward to is the infamous “bucket and chuck-it”, whilst he thinks the hardest part of the experience will be the first 72 hours at sea. Being funny comes naturally to Frankie, whether intentional or not, so he is bound to keep spirits up during tough times at sea.
Kevin Luff, 49, Libra, Director of H2O Plumbing & Heating.
In his 50th year, Kevin decided to take on the massive challenge of rowing the Atlantic to push himself and achieve something totally off the spectrum of day-to-day life. He has been enjoying switching his normal hobbies of trips to the pubs and tinkering with his motorbikes and Lambrettas for long hours in the gym and learning all there is to know about navigating a rowing boat across the world’s second largest ocean!
When asked what he was most looking forward to, Kevin’s response was “A good sun tan, lots of sleep and a few beers… I wish!
After the wildlife and incredible views, it has to be rowing into English Harbour past the finish line, letting those flares off and looking for my wife, family and friends, screaming that we did it.” He’s least looking forward to the seasickness and the salt sores, along with the horrible storms they are likely to encounter whilst at sea. To Kevin, training is already becoming a way of life. He believes the hardest part of the experience will be being apart from his wife, family, and beloved cat Flapjack. His wife and children regularly call him crazy, and with his only rowing experience being a brief encounter on a local rowing lake, it’s a reaction he’s heard quite a lot since signing up for the challenge.
Nic Parslow, 55, Underwriter, Taurus.
The fourth and final member of the Bucks Buoys is Nic Parslow. Nic now lives in Oxford, and much like the rest of the team, the Underwriter with a passion for mountain biking and rock music has very little rowing experience. He noticed on social media that his old friend Frankie was signing up for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, rang him up and asked if he could be a first reserve, and found himself on the Bucks Buoys team within a week! Nic had always wanted to take on the Challenge, having followed it in previous years. He said he wants to “do something totally different and push some boundaries, raising money for MacMillan”.
Nic is most looking forward to the excitement at the initial start of the race, leaving La Gomera. The necessary hours training in the gym alongside lots of planning are what Nic thinks will be the hardest part of the experience, with sores, fatigue and pain all high up on the list of what he is least looking forward to. Let’s hope Nic brushes up on his navigation skills before the Buoys set off, as his dog is the one who leads him to the pub!
Rhys Luff, Aquarius, Plumber.
Rhys is Kev's son, and works for Kev at H2O Plumbing & Heating.
Rhys is really enthused by the challenge the race would offer and sees it as ' a once in a lifetime' experience. It’s particularly special that he is taking on the Challenge with his Dad and it is an opportunity to bond even closer together as well as fitting in well with the rest of the crew.
He has always kept fit with frequent gym sessions and playing rugby, so Rhys sees the physical aspect of the row as one he can accomplish even though he realises how tough it will be. He feels he also has the mental strength to take on the TWAC, and, together with a good sense of humour, knows he will do his bit in helping the Team through successfully to the finish.
Rhys's girlfriend Mia thinks he's ‘a little bit crazy' but is behind him all the way.
His love of the outdoors is exemplified when he goes 'bashing' with mates - striking out into the countryside and setting up simple overnight camps, cooking round a campfire and building shelter. So, this venture just has the ocean as an added ingredient!
On another positive note - Rhys appreciably lowers the average age of the crew....