Phil Als and Randall Valdez

What turned out to be a dream, materialised as a reality for both Phil Als and Randall Valdez. The inspiration and drive behind this task at hand came about as Phil had a friend by the name of Phil, who was a rower from New Zealand.  Sadly enough, he died in an ultralight plane crash and in his memory and honour, Phil teamed up with his Barbadian friend, Randall to undertake and complete the Atlantic challenge.


Both Phil and Randall embarked on a rigorous training routine that was set to enable them both to rise above any physical or mental condition they should encounter while on the ocean. Should they be any distractions, this way, team "Rowing Home" would now be able to focus all their attention on the bigger picture at hand and indeed that was "Rowing Home".


In 2003, Phil and Randall of team "Rowing Home" coasted their way into the Port St. Charles marina in Barbados to a hero's welcome after being out on the ocean rowing for some forty-three (43) days. Their arrival signalled a historic sailing as they became the very first from the Caribbean to accomplish the rowing of 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean. A heart-warming and touching welcome of loud horns, whistles, clapping, screaming and flashing lightbulbs was indicative of how the people of Barbados truly felt about their record-breaking achievement.


Not once were they alone while on the ocean as literally all of Barbados was tuned in to their progress. Despite the rough start they encountered due to strong winds and ill-natured currents, this two-man rowing team arrived in Barbados in third place and became the first from the Caribbean to row the 3,000 nautical mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean in the esteemed Atlantic Rowing Challenge race from Tenerife to Barbados. Though mentally and physically debilitating at times, on the flip-side, these two experienced moments of calm that could not be experienced anywhere else but out in the deep blue sea. Such moments as feeling amazingly connected to sunsets and sunrises, the beauty of life in the deep blue and even opportunities to test the waters if you dare.


Surely the island of Barbados along with Phil and Randall have all received international acclaim because of this act of bravery on the parts of these fine young men. Men who dared to carry out such a challenge and have been strong enough to tell the tale after. However, just as important to these two, is the now greater bond they share. Their friendship has been true for more than twenty (20) years and they now share a victory that has been and is as real as the very friendship they share.


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