Extreme Medicine Graduates begin their 3,000-mile Atlantic row

22 December 2021

Two Extreme Medicine graduates have begun their task to be the first married couple to race in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

“Emergensea Duo” Charlie Fleury and Adam Baker, both emergency medicine doctors in Devon, are racing for the mixed pairs world record and aim to fundraise £100,000 for frontline medical charities. They set out on the ‘World’s toughest row’ from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean on 12th December 2021.

We caught up with Adam just before they set off to ask him all about their journey to this epic challenge…

Why the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021 (TWAC)?

Initially it was Charlie’s idea, and it all started whilst camping out on a frozen lake during the World Extreme Medicine Polar course. The idea was that we both wanted to undertake our own extreme challenge off the back of completing our Masters in Extreme Medicine. 

We’ve both always been water babies and the TWAC felt like such a remote and unique expedition that tests both your mental and physical abilities to the absolute maximum.

How did your MSc in Extreme Medicine prepare you for the row?

I think the MSc and World Extreme Medicine have given us a really good foundation on which to start preparing for this particular race. One of the modules I undertook was in Ocean Medicine which has given me a good base of knowledge around common conditions at sea and what you can and can’t do from a medical aspect.

Crucially it’s also helped with building the contents of our medic kit and how to prepare for medical emergencies. I guess everyone is classically throwing a million things into their med kits that have entered the race. We have been careful by knowing the limitations of what you can achieve when rescue is so far away. 

What research are you looking at during the row?

The research that Charlie is focusing on is going to look predominantly at the psychological factors throughout the row. This will mean doing a profile of mood states every day, at a similar time, so we can have a real retrospective look at how we we’re coping from a mental side of things during different points and conditions of the row. We will then briefly be looking at body composition pre and post for the two of us.

I guess it’s just interesting because most of the kind of ultra-endurance research is done within the confines of the lab and this is going to be real world comparison between a man and a female within the same conditions because you’re in the same boat and that’s quite unique.

How will you keep each other motivated and on track to achieve the mixed pair world-record?

I think the key for us is we’ve set non-negotiables, so we know exactly what we expect from each other and when we need to be disciplined with regards to those. We’re good at knowing what keeps you motivated and going.

It’s also important that we keep reminding ourselves that we are there to raise money for four amazing frontline medical charities. This is really key as our chosen charities support frontline medical support by saving lives by air, land and sea; DAATRNLIRD&E charity and Mind.

Where can people sponsor you and can they track your progress?

The best way to do that is to go onto our webpage, all the information about our charities and links to all the various Just Giving pages can be found there. People can also track our progress by going to the YB Race App, searching for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021 and entering our team name Emergensea Duo.You can also support and follow our journey on our Instagram and Facebook.

Finally…will you have any time for Christmas or New Year celebrations on board?

Although we will have to be rowing through both of those days, we’re absolutely going to be celebrating both Christmas and New Year. Christmas is going to be blasting music on a little speaker, tinsel Christmas hats, pigs in blanket, beef wellington flavoured crisps and a chocolate orange each! Followed by New Year’s Eve where we might even have the chance to have a very small celebratory drink before we carry on rowing.

Thank you Adam!  It’s been our pleasure to support this epic duo as they set off to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, we will all be keeping track of your progress and cheering you on from home. Good luck!

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