Atlantic pair back rowing again after terrible storm delays them

Basingstoke Gazette: The boys leaving the harbour of St Sebastian, the main port on La Gomera, on their way to the start which was at the outer limits of the harbour The boys leaving the harbour of St Sebastian, the main port on La Gomera, on their way to the start which was at the outer limits of the harbour

ANYONE would think that spending two weeks floating across the Atlantic would be a nightmare.

Heavy rainstorms, aching muscles and endless bobbing about wouldn’t seem the best way to spend 50 days unless of course you’re rowing the sea for charity.

Winchester-born Will North and his university friend, Dan Howie, have just spent a little over a fortnight perilously rowing since leaving the coast of the Canaries to row to Antigua to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Cancer Research UK, and St Anna's, a school and home for orphaned and abandoned children.

The Oxford Brookes University pair decided to take on the challenge after both their dads contracted different types of cancer.

Will’s father Simon, of Pearson Lane in Shawford, said: “I have been reliably informed that this morning they were doing well and in second place. Although it’s early days at the moment. They should now have a good trip to Antigua with a tail wind of about 15 knots and this is where they need to be.

“They are both in good spirits and are supporting each other. I’m very proud and very excited of them both.”

The men were forced to batten down the hatches during a three-day storm last week which saw them battered by 20-foot high waves. Two other teams, Atlantic Splash and AstroSweden, had to be airlifted to safety after their boats capsized. If that wasn’t bad enough the pair have also faced numerous technical problems with their £80,000 solar-powered rowing boat.

In a blog posted on the Huffington Post website earlier this week (December 16), Dan wrote: “We are also experiencing a few technical issues; our autopilot isn't working correctly but if we can't get this fixed then we have our foot-steer that will help us instead. We also have an issue with one of the seats. The runner isn't working properly so it keeps falling out the back. We'll try to fix this.”

The two are living off of desalinated water fresh from the ocean which, while it means they have a regular water supply, also means should their power systems fail during another storm the two might have to resort to drinking from the emergency bottled water-an act that incurs a penalty.

Things for now seem on the up and, with 2,160 days left of their journey, it shouldn’t be too long before they reach the finish line at Nelson's Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.

Dan added: “Right now, we're on course and rowing our hearts out to Antigua. It feels great to be rowing again. Keep your fingers crossed that we reach those trade winds soon.”

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