Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Rowing across the Atlantic is considered one of the greatest physical mental challenges out there – a 40-90 day, 3000 mile, unsupported race across an ocean. Now imagine how much harder it would be if you had tried before and barely escaped with your life after a dramatic rescue in a storm? Well, that is the story of Max Thorpe who has teamed up with Dave Spelman to try to achieve the epic challenge that alluded him in 2017.

Nine days into the 2017 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, Max and his rowing partner Chris Williams were struck by a huge rogue wave that caused them to capsize. Unprecedented in race history, the impact ignited a fire on board their boat and they faced a relentless and harrowing fight for their lives against unimaginable conditions. Their experience is now regarded as some of the most dramatic and perilous sequence of events in the history of ocean sport.

Max and Chris were rescued in the heart of the storm by a 250m oil tanker en-route to Brazil. The rescue attempt hit several touch-and-go points in the brutal conditions, including a moment with Max overboard and unattached, swimming for his life as the tanker crew frantically tried to deploy a longer rope to throw to him before he slipped beyond reach. By good graces both Max and Chris were rescued successfully and then preceded to return to the UK via Brazil. Fighting the trauma of the experience, alongside powerful feelings of disappointment and perceived failure, Max battled to absorb and process his ill-fated Atlantic crossing and near-death experience.

Through these months, one constant desire remained - an ambition to be defined not by what happened to him, but by how he reacted. He wanted to set a precedent with his next move; a reaction that would serve to inspire others in the future Once Max had time to process the events of 2017, he decided he would go back and take on the challenge again – completing what he set out to do.

Teaming up with Dave Spelman, Max set out to build a new campaign for the 2019 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. A campaign built on adapting to change and thriving in the toughest of conditions. A campaign called - Resilient:X. Max and Dave are supporting BecomingX Foundation in our mission to help people in underserved communities build the skills and resilience to realise their potential.

Max Thorpe and Dave Spelman
"Following everything we went through in 2017, an intense period of self-assessment and adaptations has made me a more resilient human being. Blending Max’s experiences developing human resilience, Dave's career in strategy consulting, and the global trends and pressures, we wanted to build a team and a brand that represented all that we believe in and everything we have experienced. In a disruptive world of climate change, economic uncertainty, social upheaval and human vulnerability; adaptability and resilience are vital to thriving among it."

Max Thorpe and Dave Spelman


England and Wales Registered charity (1172387) and US registered non-profit (501(c)(3)