The trusty vessel which will carry a team of Cornish friends on an epic 3000-mile charity row has left their training “home” of Mylor Yacht Harbour for the Canary Islands where the “Atlantic Seamen’s” Talisker Whiskey Challenge will begin.
During the months of intensive training and fundraising for the Urology Foundation and Children’s Hospice South West the team has seen changes with two members of the original line-up unavoidably pulling out and two new members stepping into the breach.
Now expert mariners Andy Grant and Alex Fawcett are combining their considerable forces with Andrew “Bez” Berry and Dr Jon Davies on a final fundraising and fitness push before they re-join their 30 foot boat on the Canary island of La Gomera and set off to row 24 hours a day for more than a month across the ocean to Antigua.
The new team-members both have considerable experience of blue-water sailing and a host of extreme sports under their belts, but ocean rowing will be a new departure. As Alex puts it: “The Atlantic Challenge has been on my bucket list for a few years now, when out of nowhere came a phone call along the lines of, ‘fancy rowing the Atlantic?’ My response – ‘um, er, OK, you what!?’ As a late addition to the team I feel very appreciative of being on an adventure of a life time.
Meanwhile Andy Grant, with sailing in his blood and 100,000 miles of experience at sea, says,
I’ve never been shy of a challenge and when the chance of this one came up I couldn’t help myself.
We know it will push us to our physical and mental limits and that nature and the elements will throw everything they can at us – but it will be exhilarating too and I hope my ocean-crossing experience, resourcefulness and positive outlook will help the team cross the finish line in English Harbour, Antigua, ahead of the pack.”
Throughout their many months of training the Atlantic Seamen – all in their 40s – have become a familiar sight, rain or shine, on the marina and in the waters off Mylor Yacht Harbour which has provided them with berthing and harbour facilities - not least the use of a post-training luxury shower block.
During this time they have had fantastic support from their families, friends, sponsors and the general public who have helped them raise more than £60,000 so far for the Urology Foundation and Children’s Hospice South West.
“In our final few weeks before we leave Cornwall we would dearly love – with people’s help – to hit the £100,000 plus mark for our charities,” says Bez Berry, “and there is still a little bit of room on the hull of the boat for any sponsors – companies or individuals – who’d like to step in and back us!”
With their boat now being transported to the Canaries the team’s last few training weeks have moved from Mylor to intensive gym-based workouts – all fitting around busy working lives and families.
“The Atlantic Seamen have been a real pleasure to have around and we wish them so well,” says Mylor Yacht Harbour’s Marina Manager Culum Matheson. “The challenge they are undertaking is immense and we’ve been very glad to do anything to make their training a bit easier and more convenient. We’d urge as many people as possible to get behind them now and while they’re on their incredible journey: what they are doing is amazing.”
To find out more about the Atlantic Seamen’s transatlantic challenge, to follow their journey through their vlogs and blogs and discover how to help or sponsor them, click here for their website or view their Facebook page here or track them and get up to date information on their progress here