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Atlantic rower sees in New Year tackling huge waves and 10ft sharks
9:10am Wednesday 1st January 2014 in News
NEW year on a boat might conjure up images of champagne and candlelit dinners on a cruise ship.
But for one Hampshire man and his companion, however, bringing in 2014 was a little more arduous – battling waves of up to 20ft and fending off 10ft sharks.
Winchester-born Will North and university friend Dan Howie, both 28, have spent a month rowing since leaving La Gomera in the Canaries to row to Antigua in the West Indies, all to raise money for charity.
The Oxford Brookes University graduates decided to take on the challenge after both their dads developed cancer.
They have encountered numerous problems since their journey began, including technical issues with their autopilots and seat-runners, being capsized by 20ft 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 10ft 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’.
“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.
“But they are both in very good spirits and are just about halfway.
“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 blond hair will be totally white by now after all that sunshine.”
On his website London-based headhunter 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.”
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.
So far the pair have raised nearly £73,000 and are expected to arrive at English Harbour in Antigua at the end of January.
l To donate go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.
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