Atlantic Record Attempt Rowers Preparing For Friday Start

atlantic rowersTwo gig rowers have arrived in New York ahead of the start this Friday of their attempt to break the transatlantic record for rowing to Scilly.

Lyme Regis Club members Chris Walters and Elliott Dale hope to raise £300,000 for the Children’s Hospice South West with their 3,246 mile challenge.

The men, who are both aged in their 50s, are aiming to beat the 55 day crossing from the Big Apple to Scilly, set by Norwegian pair Samuelson and Harbo in 1896.

Elliot Dale says their boat is now packed and they’re just fine-tuning the electronics.

He’s says he’s been thinking about the conditions the Victorian record-setters would have experienced without today’s technology.

Samuelson and Harbo were aiming for ‘fame and fortune’ he says. A prize had been put up for the first man-powered crossing and the pair hoped this would give their families better life.

But the attempt was very unsophisticated. Elliot says they “just got in a wooden boat and rowed off,” with the minimum of safety aids.

He says his first thought was to do the same in a wooden vessel but quickly realised “that was insane.”

The men will be following a rigid schedule of sleeping in 2-hour bursts and rowing for 70 minutes with 50 minutes relaxation time during their challenge.

Elliot says that’s important so they can spend some time chatting to each other.

And he says he’s looking forward to a pint of cider at The Mermaid when he gets here.

Most of their food will be rehydrated but they’ll also be eating items that you might not consider in the middle of summer, like Christmas cake baked by people from the hospice, which is high in energy.

The Lyme Regis Gig Club rowers have already completed a 48-day row from the Canaries to Barbados as part of a four-strong crew in 2011 and they’re not that worried about being alone at sea.

Elliot says his greatest fear is weather scuppering their record attempt, particularly early on, because it means they’d know the record was out of reach.

There’ll be little, if any, media coverage in the States on Friday at 11am local time, when the men leave Manhattan.

But Elliot hopes there’ll be a good turn out on St Mary’s Quay when they make it over safely, and wants to raise as much as they can for the hospice.

You can follow the men’s progress and find out more about the charity here.