Our story begins in January 2018 when Kev, Frankie and Trev were in Antigua for Kev’s beachside wedding to his fiancée Sara. The group took a taxi to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour in the last few days of their stay in Antigua, and met the Atlantic 4 crew, a Romanian team who had just completed the race and were unloading their boat under the watchful eye of Carsten, the CEO of the Challenge.
It was fascinating to see the boat and chat to the team members and to Carsten.
Andrei, one of the Atlantic 4, when asked if he was a rower before, commented ‘Do I look like a rower? I’m an accountant!’ And a seed was sown…if an accountant can do it, maybe anyone can? It wasn’t until much later that Andrei revealed he was somewhat a celebrity in his native Romania, having already completed the North Pole Marathon and been the first Romanian to swim the English Channel!
The four talked about the Challenge that night and the next day, realising that this was something that Kev, Frankie and Trev really wanted to do. Sara, with her lifelong fear of being in boats on open water, volunteered to be ‘admin’ and declared that she would be immensely proud of the three if they decided to take on this amazing challenge.
The idea quickly took on a momentum of its own, with Kev’s son Rhys initially intending to make up the four man team. The Bucks Buoys registered as entrants in the 2019 race and it wasn’t long before they bought the very boat that they had seen unloading in Antigua from the Romanian team.
Soon after, Rhys had to withdraw from the race due to injury issues, and the team were left with a big decision to make: continue as a trio, or recruit a new fourth team member. This was a huge decision. The dynamics of a four made a simple ‘2 hours on, 2 hours off’ system workable, whereas a trio would need a more complicated system. But the friends were concerned about bringing someone unknown to join the three long term friends, and what effect that could have on the dynamics. Ultimately the team made the decision that they would need to advertise for a fourth rower to join them.
Incredibly, fate intervened, as the very next day, before any advertising could even be contemplated, Frankie received a call from an old friend, Nic Parslow. He had seen from Facebook that Frankie was taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, and asked if he could possibly be first reserve to join the team! Nic had been following the race for years and it was something he had always wanted to do. Frankie and the rest of the team met Nic a few days later, and he became the fourth member of the Bucks Buoys, fitting like a glove with the ethos and the enthusiasm of the team.
Now the Buoys are in training, having already secured early sponsorship from David Lloyd Leisure, Marlow Rowing Club, Mindvision Media Ltd, H2O Plumbing & Heating, Kinv Flooring, Iyengar Yoga Shala High Wycombe, Reflex Signs & Graphics, Speeds Motor Dealers and our Media Sponsors, the Bucks Free Press. There is still much to do. Costs of the Challenge are high, and the next 20 months will need to involve vigorous collection of donations and further sponsorship to be split between Campaign costs (approximately £100,000) and Macmillan Cancer Support (and possibly one other charity to be confirmed).