Atlantic pair row through Christmas and New Year

Hampshire Chronicle: Atlantic pair row through Christmas and New Year Atlantic pair row through Christmas and New Year

CHRISTMAS on a boat might conjure up images of champagne and candlelit dinners on a cruise liner.

For one Winchester man and his companion however Christmas meant having their rowing boat adorned with lights while they opened their stockings wearing festive hats. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Winchester-born Will North and Dan Howie have spent a month rowing since leaving the Canaries to row to Antigua in the west Indies.

The pair decided to take on the challenge after both their dads contracted cancer.

The pair have encountered numerous problems since their journey began, including technical issues with their autopilots and seat-runners, being capsized from their boat by 20 foot waves in the night and the risk of shark attacks.

The hull needs to be regularly cleaned of barnacles so that the scullers are not slowed down which means diving into the water amid the whales, dolphins and 10-foot sharks.

Will’s father Simon, of Pearson Lane in Shawford, said: “William rang me on Christmas Day and said, ‘Dad, I’ve got something to tell you’. Well that’s exactly what every father wants to hear! He told me they’d been thrown overboard twice by huge waves in the night. They said that during the day they’re not too much of an issue but of course at night you can’t see them. I was quite shook up about it, as I’m sure you can imagine.

“But they are both in very good spirits and are just about half way. They were obviously all disappointed when they were set back at the beginning and have been working hard but are currently travelling at 2.5 knots and doing very well. The weather has improved for them and I’m sure William’s blonde hair will be totally white by now after all that sunshine.”

In their online blog, Will posted: “We can't believe it's finally here, Christmas has been a real motivator for us, along with all of the inspirational messages we have been receiving. We are looking forward to having a bit of a celebration and speaking to our family and friends on the phone. The kind people from Bowers & Wilkins, who sponsored fallen comrades Atlantic Splash, also gave each of the crews a set of earbuds and headphones. Thanks guys!”

They are trying to raise £200,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Cancer Research UK, and St Anna's, a school and home for orphaned and abandoned children.


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