DENVER (CBS4) – The rowers in the Fight Oar Team paddling across the Atlantic Ocean have achieved a major milestone. They now have less than 1,000 nautical miles to go to complete their trip from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

“Woobie” housed in South Carolina. (credit: Jason Evans)

It’s been a long row. The team is one of several dozen who started paddling Dec. 12 as part of the Talisker Whisky Challenge, known as “the world’s toughest row.”

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Fight Oar Die (credit: Fight Oar Die)

Fight Oar Die is the first-ever all-American military veteran ocean rowing team. The skipper, Alex Evans, lives in Denver. Team member Bryant Knight hails from Castle Rock. Beau Maier and Chris Kuntz live in Wyoming.

(credit: Fight Oar Die team)

The team is keeping its followers posted with regular updates on Facebook.  Team members are thrilled to be finally getting close to the home stretch.

The trip has been a struggle, but also triumph against the odds, with heavy seas, storms, including days when winds and waves meant it wasn’t worth it to row at all. But, there have also been beautiful, sunny days, some great sunrises and sunsets, and plenty of animal encounters, like the day when the team was visited by a pod of dozen or so dolphins, frolicking 20-50 yards from boat.

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The first teams have made it all the way to Antigua. Dutch Atlantic Four arrived first on Wednesday, making the crossing in 34 days, 12 hours and 9 minutes.  Two British-based teams came in second and third, Oar Inspiring and Nautibuoys.

Talisker Whisky Challenge charts Fight Oar Die’s progress and on Thursday they estimate the team has about three more weeks in the water.

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20TH Fight Oar Die. 53 miles in 24 hours. Distance from next boat 54 miles. Apart from flying fish attacks the crew report a steady routine. Humour levels remain high. In our last conversation it was reported nobody had gone mad – well no madder than when we started. Un-phased by anything the crew are working solidly and seem to be in good shape. ETA 08 Feb