simple oars

The Challenge

Geraldton, Western Australia > Port Louis, Mauritius

2 Men, 1 Boat &…

3600 miles | 3 months at sea | hurricane force winds | 50 ft waves

rowing in 2 hour shifts, 24 hours a day

To be the 5th ever pair to have completed the journey

Ocean rowing remains one of the toughest endurance tests known to man, nearly 4000 people have climbed Mount Everest, 536 have been into space yet only 20 rowing boats have crossed the Indian Ocean and only four were pairs!

In April 2017, Doctors Ted Welman and Jack Faulkner will leave from Western Australia on their 84 day expedition to Port Louis, Mauritius as they aim to become the fastest pair to make the 3600 mile journey! The boys will spend nearly 3 months at sea as they burn 8000 calories per day rowing in 2 hour shifts, 24 hours a day for the duration of the crossing. This grueling schedule will see them battle sleep deprivation, hurricane force winds and 50 ft waves! In doing so, they hope to raise £100,000 for Médecins Sans Frontières, a global medical charity which provides much needed emergency medical care in areas affected by conflict, epidemics or natural disasters.

Meet The Crew

Ted and Jack met whilst studying Medicine at Imperial College London. Since graduating they have both worked as junior doctors in South London and plan to pursue careers as surgeons. Both have rowed competitively, Ted during his school career and Jack at university. After 8 years of training and doctoring, they will take on this massive challenge, push themselves to the limit whilst raising £100,000 for Médecins Sans Frontières

Ted Welman

Ted Welman


Age: 26
Height: 6ft 1
Current Location: London

Jack Faulkner

Jack Faulkner


Age: 26
Height: 5ft 10
Current Location: London

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

 A Truly Global Medical Charity

Working as doctors in UK Hospitals has given us an appreciation of the importance of first responders and emergency healthcare in times of crisis. In the UK we are incredibly lucky to have such a comprehensive health service, free at the point of delivery and available to everyone who needs it. History has shown that natural disasters and conflicts that devastate local communities, often occur in areas with the least access to medical resources. MSF helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to those affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare. They place highly skilled medical staff, logisticians and water and sanitation experts into disaster zones with their medics carrying out over 8 million patient consultations every year. Their network of aid workers and supplies around the world mean they can quickly respond to disasters. Indeed, after the Haiti earthquake, they treated their first patient within three minutes. MSF was founded in 1971 on the belief that all people have the right to medical care regardless of gender, race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national boundaries. MSF has since opened offices in 28 countries and employs more than 30,000 people across the world. Since its foundation, MSF has treated over a hundred million patients


A Thank You From Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

April 2017

Dear Jack and Ted,

I just wanted to send you some words of encouragement from MSF UK. As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk in the London office and imagining you guys in the middle of the Indian ocean at this precise moment in time, which is a pretty cool thought (actually probs should get on with some work…)

Firstly, I hope the trip is nothing like the life of Pii, which is what I’m imagining right now, minus the tiger and the metaphor for cannibalism :S …

I could never do what you are doing (along with most people!), but the closest I ever got to this kind of glory was at ten years old, when I floated down a (barely) waist-deep stream in a canoe, and cried because I thought I was for sure going to die. The experience has clearly scarred me for life. To be honest with you, any kind of physical exercise is pretty traumatising, and the thought of rowing for three months straight strikes the fear of God into my heart, but you know, whatever floats your boat (geddit?). 

On a serious note, I really do think what you’re doing is absolutely incredible. I’ve never met anybody who has embarked upon such a brave/mad/exciting/insane odyssey. And I want to say a huge and sincere thank you for what you are doing for us all at MSF. 

Part of my job is debriefing with staff back from the field, and interviewing people all over the world. It’s a real privilege to hear, first-hand, about the work that MSF does every day. Work made possible by a movement of people – through hundreds of projects, thousands of staff, and millions of supporters. Some of the things I have seen and heard will never leave me. Sometimes the stories I hear are incredibly sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes it is frustrating to think of the unfairness of things, and the inequality of chance. But what these stories have in common is that they are always inspiring.

I think of the surgical team in Taiz, Yemen, who after an airstrike hit a marketplace, performed life-saving operations for two days straight, whilst the sounds of rockets and bombs continued overhead. I think of my friend Michael, treating a young boy with a collapsed lung whilst flying 8,000 feet over the plains of South Sudan. I think of the bravery the South Sudanese staff in Leer who, after the hospital was looted for the fourth time that year, fled into the bush with their patients by their side, and continued to treat them, despite everything. I think of Patrick Poopel – the little Liberian boy MSF treated for Ebola, during the height of the epidemic in Liberia, who pulled through when everyone thought he wouldn’t make it.

Finally, I think of you both, and this incredible thing you are doing for us. To put in perspective what the money you have already raised for us (£50K!!!!) means in literal terms, I’ll share with you a shopping list:

£183 can pay for an emergency surgery kit 

£157 can supply a dressing kit to treat 40 people suffering burn injuries

£28 can provide infection fighting antibiotics to treat 20 war-wounded people

£153 can provide life-saving blood transfusion for 3 people

And most importantly of all, the money you have raised will go towards my end-of-year bonus. JUST KIDDING, sadly we still don’t get bonuses here, despite my (many, many) protestations. 

Your trip is actually really inspiring on a personal level, and often helps me on a bad day after difficult news from the field, or a pretty depressing debrief. If I am feeling down about the (let’s face it) shit state of the world, I often check on your progress and am blown away by what you are doing for us and our patients. I mean, it’s the maddest thing ever (seeing as only 20 boats have rowed the Indian Ocean!!!), but mostly it’s just really wonderful.

I think what always strikes me about MSF – and I think this is very much akin to the journey you are undertaking now – is the passion, diligence and pure human strength and spirit that I see every day in individuals who – sometimes under extraordinary circumstances – continue to give everything they have in them to MSF.  I see it in the first mission doctor heading out to DRC, the hardened veteran returning from Yemen, the Syrian staff who, despite huge personal risk and strife, keep on and on and on for their patients. No matter what they have witnessed, they believe that the world can be better. I see it in the office, too, in every function, every department, each person a cog in the wheel. And I see it in all of our donors, supporters and fundraisers. None of the work we do would be possible without you. What we often say here is, once an MSFer, always an MSFer. And, for me personally, that means everyone who is part of the movement – no matter how seemingly small, or big – each part could not exist without the other. 

One last bit of encouragement – whilst you might be getting hit left, right and centre by flying fish, with bodies covered in salt sores, muscle fatigue, seasickness and everything else, remember this piece of advice from Ernest Hemingway. I hope it helps; “But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”  Keep rowing, we know you can do it.

I’m thinking of you both – and this brilliant journey you are undertaking for us. 

Take care of yourselves.

Rosalyn Smith, Major Gifts Coordinator, MSF UK


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