Island Team ‘Mermaid Atlantic’ announce plans to row across the Atlantic in 2023

We are three friends from the Isle of Wight, UK, who have come together for the ultimate ocean encounter. With shared passions for the environment and exploration, our team, Mermaid Atlantic, will compete in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2023, rowing to raise awareness of the preservation of ocean habitats and to raise funds for marine-focused environmental charities.

The three of us, Chris Mannion, Paul Berry, and Xavier Baker were brought together through our love of the water, and between surfing, scuba diving, and rowing we’ve found each other and forged a friendship. Though two of us are novices, we hope our shared determination will equal success under the guidance and instruction of Paul, who comes from a family of longshoremen in Ventnor. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge presents us with the chance to embark on a mental and physical adventure whilst raising funds for marine causes which are close to our hearts.

The world’s climate crisis is a shared concern as we embrace the sea as part of our everyday lives through work and play and this is the reason we aim to raise awareness for water quality issues and the protection of seagrass meadows, which are home to native seahorses and incredible carbon sinks. With this in mind, we will be actively selecting sustainable suppliers and will seek out and refurbish an older Rannoch boat to minimise our impact on the environment and to highlight the effect waste disposal and human activity is having on the natural world. We’re excited to support The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, and The Seahorse Trust with the great work they do. 

Embarking on ‘the world’s toughest row’, we will leave La Gomera in the Canary Islands in December 2023. Rowing 3000 miles around the clock to cross the Atlantic, the journey will be long and at times dangerous but we’re determined to arrive in Antigua within 35 days to break the time in our class, a record held by the MacLean brothers since the 2020 race. 

Named after the spirit, we’re honoured to be backed by Isle of Wight brand Mermaid Gin as our headline sponsor. Their support will help kickstart our funding journey, as training will soon start and we’re on a mission to source our vessel! 

We do hope you’ll follow us on our journey and to find out more about donation and sponsorship please visit the pages of this website, or contact More information regarding the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge can be found at

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