Guy Rigby, Chair Entrepreneurial Services at Smith & Williamson, took to the stage for the second day of Elite Business on 12 March for the Financial Management talk, speaking about his incredible journey travelling across the Atlantic Ocean with his pal, David Murray. Guy Rigby, 68, spoke about his boating journey, the Atlantic Challenge, which aimed to raise funds for the charity, UnLtd, a foundation for social entrepreneurs in the UK.
Guy spoke about how he and his teammates prepared for their boat journey beforehand, preparing budgets for forecasts, building a website and creating marketing materials to promote their cause. They arranged their training schedules, got the required certification and raised funds leading up to the journey. Guy explained: “We then had to figure out how to structure it. We set up a limited company to take our commercial sponsorship and pay our expenses with all the profits being donated and then we set up a crowd funder where people came along and gave money to that. Slowly but surely, we inched our way both from the commercial side and the donation side to raise a decent amount of money.”
Guy and his crew even created a mission statement for the journey, and they looked at it every day to remind themselves of their purpose, and strengthen their mindset before embarking on the 53-day long trip. The team then underwent several training courses including RYA courses and survival suit with life raft training. They also practised rowing their boat from Salcombe to Falmouth and back, to prepare themselves for the cross-Atlantic journey. With an influx of sponsors, the crew decided to revamp the design of the boat to include all the logos and brands in a unique and eye-catching display.
It was sail day, and the crew made a trip to La Gomera to store the boat. Guy and David had to eat 4,500 calories a day each before setting sail so that they would not lose too much weight during the trip because it is not possible to eat much while on the boat – nor carry much food on board. The pair then set sail on the first leg of the trip, which was ‘very calm’ and breezy, according to Guy.
Guy said the pair had a few injuries on the boat when they were knocked by the sea but otherwise, there were no major injuries. They then entered the mid-Atlantic in the next stretch of their journey, passing the State of Grace. But they did face one obstacle along the way. Guy explained: “1000 nautical miles under our belt, with only 1600 left to go at that point. We had the BBC radio interviewing us, and just as they came on, we had this enormous wave hit us and our auto-helm gave up, all the alarms went off, and we were now being tossed around the sea with waves breaking over the boat. I said down the phone that we couldn’t do the interview because of the choppy conditions.”
The boat still required maintenance along the way. David had to disembark the boat to clean the hull of the ship – while Guy kept watch of sharks in the area. “When you’re out there, you get a lot of growth on the hull which slows you right down,” Guy said. “And you need to get that off or you can literally lose a naut an hour. So, David, my pal, went over and scraped the bottom with a window scrapper while I stood on the deck and kept watch of sharks.”
The pair finally reached land safe and sound. With just a mile to go, onlookers were cheering the pair on as they arrived at the shore. The pair had travelled 3283 miles over 53 days and set a world record for the oldest pair to row an ocean. Guy and David were greeted by dozens of cheering fans congratulating them on their amazing feat.