Four ‘Oar-dinary’ boys from Bucks (pictured) are taking on the world renowned Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge: The World’s Toughest Row.

They will be rowing 3,000 miles unaided across the Atlantic Ocean and the experience promises to be the challenge of a lifetime,  testing them physically, mentally and emotionally. Bucksbuoys are determined to overcome extreme weather and punishing conditions – and aim to do so in under 38 days. Setting off from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands, the Buoys will have to navigate the vast and wild Atlantic Ocean to the finish line in Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda.

There are always records to be broken. With no rowing experience behind them, and being a more ‘senior’ team than many other entrants, the Buoys are setting themselves the huge task of completing the challenge in less than 38 days, to beat the current ‘fastest four in a pure boat to cross the Atlantic’ record, set by the Atlantic 4 in the 2017 event.

They also aim to be the oldest four to complete the challenge, with a combined age of 233 at the race start – and 234 by the end of the race, with Trev’s birthday falling on 1st January!

Finally and crucially, the Buoys hope to raise more than £200,000 in sponsorship and donations so that the campaign costs are recouped and their chosen charities receive maximum benefit from the campaign.

Constructed from hundreds of layers of carbon and Kevlar, the boat is virtually indestructible and self-righting.

With the lack of space and the ‘bucket and chuck it’ toilet system, the Buoys must attempt to keep conditions as sanitary as possible.  The four men will be living on a seven-metre long, two-metre wide boat, so it’s going to be tough. The organisers are strict with rubbish, so the team must count and correctly store all trash to be disposed of at the end of the race, and if any falls overboard they must be notified. The boat will be equipped with a seawater conversion system to provide the crew with drinking water. However, they will need to take some bottled water so they can get used to the taste of the converted water, as well as some electrolytes to make the latter more drinkable.  Solar panels are fitted on the boat to provide power for the GPS and all other vital equipment.

Who they are:

Paul ‘Frankie’ Smith, 59, of Thame
Kevin Luff, of 49, director of H2O Plumbing & Heating
Nic Parslow, 55, of Oxford
Trevor Cooper, 64

How to donate or sponsor:


Chosen charities:

Macmillan Cancer Support

IN-vision, which seeks to raise awareness of Infantile Nystagmus (IN) – a lifelong condition involving involuntary eye movement in babies and children.


June 5, 2018