PROPELLED BY UNCONQUERABLE TEAM SPIRIT
‘’The dynamic in the Brightsides crew is one of fun, drive, and great teamwork. This is the second time Anna and Alex have planned to row the Atlantic, but on the first occasion, work commitments forced Alex to act as a reserve crew, and the all-girl crew that Anna was due to row with in 2025 didn’t work out. Now is their chance. Guy has minimal experience of the sea but, along with Rod, is driven by a desire to achieve something ‘bigger’. They wanted a great challenge to complete so they can look back from the vantage point of old age and say “Yeah, we did something amazing.”’
Despite their very different backgrounds, the team are united by a powerful work ethic. Work hard, play hard is the attitude. But, of course, until they cross the finish line in Antigua, it’s all about the work. In fact, it’s all about the teamwork. Recognising each other’s strength means being aware of each other’s weaknesses and pulling together to help each other when the going gets tough is the most important aspect of being in a team.
Working for each other
Their first training row together was testament to the combined desire to make this adventure life-changing and ‘epic’ on every level. From the very first moment, the boys acted as a team. Nothing needed to be said – things were just done. From unloading the boat, cleaning and cooking, to the all-important rowing, they literally pulled together, putting each other first and doing whatever was needed without complaint. This is the main criteria for success: look after your teammates before you look after yourself and you will successfully cross the mighty ocean (and the Atlantic gets pretty mighty). This attitude is clearly embedded in the DNA of the new Brightsides team. Adventure calls, and they are ready.
MEET THE BRIGHTSIDES
Born and bred in Warwickshire (53 years ago), a huge maritime challenge like this does seem a bit strange, even to me! It might be a mid-life crisis! Still, I’m looking forward to it and under no illusion about how tough it’s going to be. But we have some fantastic coaches to knock us into shape. In my younger days I was a keen Rugby player, so the chance to get fit as part of a great team really appealed to me. A farmer by trade, I have a partner, Karen, and 2 teenage daughters, Molly 18 and Alice 16. I don’t think they can quite believe what I have signed up for! Hopefully, as we row into the finish in Antigua, all the hard work and training will have been worth it, and we’ll all have a huge sense of achievement. Not just the crossing, but the money raised for some great charities. Apart from the fatigue, the heat, the mental strain, the monotony, the distance, the sharks, the storms, the bucket loo – how hard can it be?
Rowing the Atlantic is a completely new challenge for me. As a serving paratrooper with the British Army, testing my limits is encouraged. I love the water and being part of a team, so this is an opportunity I could never pass up. Our aim is to raise as much money and awareness as we can for Meningitis Now and Get A-Head, both amazing charities close to the crew’s hearts. That will be my drive and motivation throughout. Our mental resilience is going to be massively tested. We will have to talk to each other about what’s on our minds and I’m hoping this journey will encourage others to do the same and raise awareness for men’s mental health. Holding the crew back for whatever reason, and letting them and the charities down, is by far my biggest fear. Coming face to face with a shark isn’t on my to-do list either. It’s tough to say what I’m most excited about, but the panoramic view from the toilet (bucket), wildlife joining us along the way, and epic night skies are right up there.
Rod Adlington / Skipper
57 years old, Born in Solihull and bought up on our Turkey farm in Warwickshire. Married to Anna with 3 children, Toby, Lily and Monty. 23, 19 and 17. We had a fourth son, Barney who unfortunately died at the age of 3 and a half caused by the horrendous disease Meningitis. One of the aims of the trip is to raise as much money as possible towards our two charities. Meningitis Now and Get A-Head, a neck cancer charity based in Warwick. I have many sporting passions and rowing hasn’t been one of them, until now! Although from the Midlands, I have always felt a huge pull towards the sea. I love to sail; and spent two years working in Croatia skippering and engineering on yachts back in the dim and distance past. This challenge has long been on my bucket list and now I get to do this with three other very awesome humans. Although, a new crew, the feeling already is one of brotherhood, kinship and a deep determination, to not only cross the Atlantic, but to enjoy the whole journey from now until we arrive back in mid-February. My main concern is the safety of the crew, and marlin strikes. What I am looking forward to most is the lack of internet and the simplicity of eat, row, sleep repeat. I can’t wait to see the waves that seasoned rowers talk about,’ the size of a block of flats‘, it’s going to be wild! Its also very exciting to be able to represent an amazing group of sponsors, Bromwich Hardy, EHB, Lifeline fire extinguishers, Jeff Audhali, who without hesitation have put their hands in their pockets to support us, and allow us to be able to raise money for Meningitis Now and Get A-Head. Brace yourself lads, we are going on an epic adventure, and I for one can’t wait!