In 1966 Sir Chay Blyth rowed across the North Atlantic with John Ridgway from Cape Cod on the North American Coastline to Ireland. Their epic journey took place in a 20ft open dory named the “English Rose III” and during their 92 day passage they faced hurricanes, 50ft waves and a near starvation diet. Their voyage was a challenge, a test of strength and endurance and an opportunity that just had to be taken up.
The Challenge is the premier event in ocean rowing and arguably the toughest race in the world – Teams row more than 3000 miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera (28oN 18oW) to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua (17oN 61oW).
10,000 calories a day
The Race is a test of mental grit as much as physical stamina as teams battle the elements in tiny roaing boats just seven meters long and under two metres wide, with only a minute cabin for protection against storms, sea, sun and wind. All boats are equipped at the race start, and cannot take any repair, help or food and water during the crossing. The rowers will burn more than 10,000 calories a day and they will have to do this on dehydrated rations made up with de-salinated sea-water.
50 days of non-stop rowing
Once under way, Luke and Jamie will face a constant battle of fear, sleep deprivation, salt sores, sunburn, blisters, dehydrated food and cramped, wet conditions for at least 50 days. The boys will take it in turn to row two hours on two hours off, non-stop, day and night until they get to Antigua. They will burn more than 10,000 calories a day and their ‘fuel’ will be dehydrated rations made up with de-salinated sea-water. They will probably lose around 2 stone in weight.
450 days of preparation
The Challenge is held every two years and the boats will leave La Gomera on 2nd December 2013. But the Campaign begins months or even years before the race starts with training on navigation, sea-survival, medical and technical skills to ensure a safe passage; planning and equipping the boat; fundraising and sponsorship appeals and of course the all important physical and mental preparation.
A new world record
More people by far have climbed Everest or gone into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic in a rowing boat. This event is an extraordinary test of mental and physical strength, maturity and friendship for any athletes – for Luke and Jamie it will be the ultimate challenge and a well deserved world record;
Luke and Jamie will be the youngest pair ever to complete the crossing!