FastSigns Leeds, a branch of global signage franchise network FastSigns, decorated a boat for an extreme endurance challenge that involved rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Competitive racer Mike Bates took on the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to raise money for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, where Mike also volunteers.
The cause is extremely close to Mike’s heart, with the hospital having saved the lives of his own children, making the drive to succeed in the challenge even stronger.
Caption: Mike Bates was the first solo rower to finish the 2022 event
The challenge itself involved rowing more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from San Sebastian in La Gomera in Canary Islands off the cost of north-western Africa to Nelson’s Dockyard Antigua in the Caribbean.
Skippering ‘The Atlantic Grappler’, Mike was one of 30 teams to take part in the 2022 race, setting sail on 12 December and making land in sunny Antigua 46 days later, finishing as the first solo rower.
To date, Mike has raised more than £172,000 for Leeds Hospital Charity, with much of this having been collected prior to the race through a network of companies that threw their support behind the effort by sponsoring the boat.
This is where FastSigns Leeds was able to lend its own support to the project, completing a full vinyl wrap on the exterior of The Atlantic Grappler to display sponsors and graphics about Mike’s career in the Royal Army prior to taking up competitive racing.
Using its experience within the automotive sector, and to meet the challenge’s extreme demands, the FastSigns Leeds team chose premium vinyl and materials intended for vehicle graphics to ensure that the boat was able to withstand the harsh elements of the Atlantic Ocean.
Caption: Mike Bates and the FastSigns Leeds team with the boat ahead of the challenge
The boat measures 7m long, for which the FastSigns Leeds team needed approximately 25m of vinyl, taking three days to apply all the elements of the wrap. The company carried out the work for free in a further show of support for Mike and his challenge.
“Both of our children were born prematurely and needed lots of help in their first few months,” Mike said. “Without the amazing staff and facilities at Leeds General Infirmary, our lives would be very different today.
“I want to support the charity for future families who need the specialist care we received. I’d like to raise as much as we can to give something back to people who do so much.
“The FastSigns Leeds team produced quality material for my boat and I can’t thank them enough for such an effort - working with them was a brilliant experience.”
Andy Simpson, director at FastSigns Leeds, added: “It’s very important to us to work with the local community. We’ve always tried to help charities and NFP organisations when we can and the signage and products we supply can help advertise and promote their all-important events and fundraising activities.
“We haven't done a boat wrap like this before, so it was a really exciting project to get involved with. It’s a great cause to support families in our local community and we’re excited to see how much Mike raises with his fantastic effort.”