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Crew Profiles for the “TOBY WALLACE” January 2016

TaliskerWhiskeyAtlanticChallenge_BrianFinke©_2012_004Simon Chalk – Skipper of the “Toby Wallace”.  Based in Stafford, from Leicester. British (43)

Simon is the skipper of Toby Wallace and arguably one of the worlds most experienced ocean rowers having now completed 9 ocean rowing crossings on the Atlantic and Indian oceans.  Most recently in the Guinness World Records 2015 book for the “most ocean rows by one person” and “youngest male to row the Indian Ocean” in 2003, this latest row will see him reach number 10!  Double figures!! He has a vast knowledge of ocean rowing and is chasing that Atlantic speed record once again….

11467919-largeGraham Walters – First Mate onboard “Toby Wallace”.  From Leicester, British (68)

Simon is excited to have this seasoned four times ocean rower onboard.  Graham rowed in the first Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 (competing against Simon), having never rowed before – this set the scene for a further three ocean rows, two as a solo rower.  He has competed in the race to the magnetic pole, enjoys climbing when he can and tries to get to the Cullin Ridge in Skye most years.  Graham has also spent 35 years diving all over the world.  A late addition to the crew, but everything happens for a reason – Graham had to abandon his solo row in late December 2015 because of boat issues, and is hoping to return to his solo attempt at the end of 2016, but in the meantime we are lucky to have him onboard!

39590_1576634411437_4137654_nRoger Davies – Based on the South Coast, UK.  British (Age 68)

Don’t let Roger’s age fool you, his adventure blog is as long as your arm and at 6’2 Roger is one of the taller crew members.  Roger has been harbouring an ambition to row an ocean for many years but circumstance has meant he hasn’t been able to, but now he will be onboard the Toby Wallace in 2016.  He is an experienced expedition leader with a lot of mental toughness that only comes from doing extreme endurance events as well as having a great sense of humour.  Roger runs his own businesses and also works as an inspirational speaker (which also tells you a lot about his background!).  He has competed in Polar Races, Marathons and Half Marathons, climbed to Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro (twice – 2011 and 2013), the Atlas Mountains and Mt Toubkal as well as having completed 5 Tough Guy Races.  He also has a lot of rowing experience having competed in various UK regattas and events, the London 2 Paris row and the Great River Race to name but a few.

Dolores profile picDolores Desclaveliere – Based in Paris.  French.  (Age 48)

Dolores was part of an all French mixed crew that was due to be rowing the Atlantic next year sometime, but has decided to join us instead. Dolores is very ready for this crossing having been training since 2014 for this challenge.  She has been rowing for six years but her background lies firmly in mountaineering, canyoning and cross-country skiing, where she has done various challenges in these disciplines but for no more than a week at a time – she’s looking forward to challenging herself physically and mentally over a longer period of time!  Her English is superb and she works as an independent infrastructure IT consultant.  Whilst she may be outnumbered against the men onboard the Toby Wallace, we are sure she will complement the crew well!


Murray Faber profile picMurray Faber – Based in South Wales, UK.  Zimbabwean. (Age 20)

Murray is another crew member at just over 6’2″ and is also the youngest.  Despite his age, he has an amazing sporting CV to his name already!  Murray is from Zimbabwe and is currently studying Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at the University of South Wales.  He has competed at a high level in Rowing Championships all over the world – Bulgaria, Egypt and Munich as well as competing in regattas and training camps in Zimbabwe and also Italy.  He also enjoys sailing, running, mountain biking and currently plays rugby at University.  Murray also has a few great causes close to his heart which he will be fundraising for – he is raising money for a charity in Zimbabwe called ZANE – Zimbabwe A National Emergency, which is heavily involved with many organisations within Zimbabwe, helping to improve the lives of many needy, underprivileged and vulnerable people in the country.  You can donate here:  Murray is very excited to be onboard and able to indulge his clear love of all things rowing related!


11954621_10153615814441663_8056751504977770105_nIwan Hughes – Based in London, UK.  British. (Age 35)

Iwan has wanted to row an ocean since seeing an ocean row boat in his local newspaper as a teenager.  A couple of years ago his wife put his ambition of rowing to their Tobago wedding “on ice” but, with their first child due a few days before the Toby Wallace sets out, they are now both joking who is going to get the most sleep in the first month!  Outside of work, Iwan likes to travel and is big into fitness of all kinds. He grew up near the River Thames so has done some flat water rowing before including the Great River Race but has no experience of rowing out beyond tides in open water. He really enjoys running full and half marathons, as well as Tough Guy and Hell-Runner events.  Iwan also gets out road and mountain biking whenever he can and recently learnt to kitesurf.  He is using this opportunity to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and his company National Grid, will double every penny he raises at  Iwan is kindly being sponsored by Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.


Mike Johnson profile picMike Johnson – Based in Zimbabwe.  British / Zimbabwean. (Age 21) 

Mike might be one of the youngest on the crew but at 6’1” and a strong rowing background, he will certainly pull his weight!  A friend of Murray’s he has competed and trained with him for a long time.  Mike has been rowing since 2007 and has competed in various junior world rowing championships as well as been a rowing coach.  He is a keen sportsman with cross country and cycling to add to the list, as well as being a keen angler (no fishing on speed record attempts though!).  Currently working on the family farm in Zimbabwe, his future lies firmly in the British military – specifically in the Para Regiment, because jumping out of planes “sounds like fun”.  A good sense of humour, Mike will be a real asset to the crew.


Richard Wattam profile picRichard Wattam – Based in Berkshire, UK.  (Age 50)

Richard is another crew member who has been harbouring ambitions to row the Atlantic for many years.  He runs his own company in construction engineering and is now at a chapter in life where he is able to leave work for a period of time to take part in an ocean row, with the support of his family behind him.  Whilst he admits his rowing experience is limited, he has taken part in the gruelling Devizes to Westminster 24hr race twice in recent years, and is currently obsessed with Cross-Fit several times a week which keeps him pretty fit!  He has sailed the Atlantic in 1999 so knows what conditions can be like mid-Atlantic and also does kayaking, cycling and swimming when he can, although Richard is also a very sociable guy and this is just as important as exercise to him!  Sounds like a good balance to us!  Richard is raising money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance with his row and you can donate at