Atlantic rowers make big waves
ABU DHABI // A teacher from Dubai is preparing to row across the Atlantic Ocean as part of a three-man team.
Lee Felton, 30, along with Tom Hodgson, 41, and Sean Lannon, 31, all from the UK, will compete in a 4,800-kilometre race and raise money for an anti-trafficking charity.
Described as “the world’s toughest rowing race”, theAtlantic Challenge commences on December 14 from the Canary Islands, finishing about six weeks later in Antigua.
Mr Felton said his team, Square One Atlantic, will have to row in pairs for 40 days and 40 nights in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day.
“You’re basically living on a boat that’s the size of a Range Rover and you haven’t got a toilet,” he said.
Work on a shark sightseeing boat in South Africa gave him his sea legs, he said, and there were other challenges for his team, both physical and mental.
“We’ll have to look out for the weather, mostly tropical storms, 40-foot waves, the kind of things that you saw in the Hollywood movie, A Perfect Storm,” he said. “One of the biggest problems is sleep deprivation,” he added, noting that the team will be sharing a sleeping area smaller than a single bed.
The boat is equipped with life jackets, an inflatable raft, a VHF radio, and satellite phone. Organisers have arranged two safety boats to accompany the racers, he said.
Their craft is equipped with a solar-powered desalination machine for drinking water.
With limited cooking facilities, freeze dried “ration-packed space food”, beef jerky, protein bars, and “a couple high-energy treats” will provide nourishment after burning an expected 12,000 calories a day on the water.
Mr Felton said his team hoped to raise Dh600,000 for UK-based Sport for Freedom, which supports survivors of trafficking.
He recently returned from the UK where he participated in fund-raising drive with his teammates. So far, they have raised more than Dh250,000, and are looking for corporate sponsors.
Mr Felton has participated in extreme fitness events such as Dubai’s Tough Mudder, but nothing compares to this.
“This is probably the stupidest challenge I’ll have done,” he said. “It’s what keeps me ticking.”
Updated: September 22, 2015 04:00 AM