Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Only Way to Row

Bristol University Officer Cadets Charles Bairsto and Tom Bright aim to become the youngest rowers ever to take part in and win the Atlantic Rowing Challenge in November this year, and they'll be doing it naked!

Over the last 18 months Charles (from Oakham, Rutland) and Tom, (from Haywards Heath, West Sussex) both aged 22, have worked hard to raise over £50,000 through sponsorship and prepare themselves for the challenges they will face during the 2,900-mile race from Tenerife in the Canary Islands to Antigua, West Indies.
They have just completed the final sea trials in their 24-foot marine plywood rowing boat, “Atlantic Warrior”, and have been busy getting themselves up to the peak of fitness as well as preparing mentally for the challenge. This has included taking a Yacht Master's Ocean Theory course, a Sea Survival course and carrying out a fitness and weight training programme.

They will take all their own water, which will act as ballast, and food supplies, as well as three sets of oars, solar powered batteries, navigational equipment, radios and lights. They plan to row two hours on, two hours off and will need to drink five litres of water and consume at least 8,000 calories a day to maintain body weight.

Both men are aware of the pressures of being in a confined space with only each other for company for weeks. They have had specialist counselling and plan to have small diversions to relieve the possible tensions and boredom. Both men successfully got their degrees this year, Charles in Economics and International Development at Bath University, and Tom in Electrical Engineering at Bristol. Both are 6th Form Army scholars, serving members of the Bristol University Officer Training Corps (UOTC), and will join the Army after going to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in May next year.

“Atlantic Warrior” is being shipped to Tenerife on the 4th October and the two men will follow on the 6th November ready for the race to begin on the 27th November. “The record for the Atlantic Rowing Challenge currently stands at 40 days which we hope to beat,” said Charles. “More people have climbed Everest than have rowed an ocean so we are pitting ourselves against the elements to stand amongst the elite.”


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