I recently heard of an amazing project – for two men to row “The Woodvale Atlantic Challenge” from La Gomera in the Canaries to Antigua.

I had to learn more and I let James Dennistoun and Dean Grimshawe take up the story. “We will be taking on the challenge as part of the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race which involves rowing unsupported from from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and finishing in the beautiful resort of Antigua some 2,900 miles away. It is estimated that the adventure will take around 2 months to complete and begins on the 6th Dec 2009.

Besides the physical challenge itself, this campaign is about raising awareness and raising money for the following two charities. St Barnabas Hospice which is complimented by Chestnut Tree House Childrens Hospice, and Wave 105 Cash for Kids. The organisation behind Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas is very close to James heart because of his personal experience of the amazing work they do. The organisation works tirelessly to improve the lives of terminally ill patients, and the of the families around them. Reliant on volunteers and funding to continue it is vital that the community gets behind them to keep the service available.

Cash for Kids is also a children based charity championing projects to help those disadvantaged either financially, socially, emotionally or physically. The support of this campaign is hoping to contribute to community activities that give every child a fighting chance. Please check out their sites to see more about what they do and we’d be grateful if you pledge your support to them by sponsoring our campaign.

December 2009 sees the start of the third Atlantic Rowing Race , organised by Woodvale Events. Up to 40 teams in identical rowing boats, pit their mental and physical strengths against each other and the might of the Atlantic Ocean by competing in the World’s Toughest Rowing Race.

The race starts in the port of San Sebastian on the Canaries island of La Gomera >(slightly west of Tenerife) and finishes approximately 2,900 miles away in Antigua, West Indies.

In between the two islands, the rowers face the ultimate mental and physical test. Extreme weather, 50ft waves, sharks and oil tankers are just some of the many obstacles in their path. Rowing alternately for two hours on and two hours off 24 hours a day will only add to the physical burden but is essential if they wish to win.

This route takes advantage of the prevailing winds and currents and the timing of the race also avoids the hurricane season. Two support yachts will follow the fleet in case of emergencies but if any outside assistance is received from them or any other boat then the competitors are disqualified from the race.

Before the start of the race we aim to keep you informed of all our experiences in getting to that point. Once the race commences, technology willing, there will be daily blog update from us as we row across the ocean.

Woodvale Challenges have earned the label of ‘The World’s Toughest Rowing Races’ due to the level of physical and mental endurance required. On a competitive level the sport of Ocean rowing has only been around in the last century. The first reported rowing of the Atlantic is Frank Samuelson and George Harbo when they completed the crossing in 1896 travelling from Manhattan to Le Havre in France. They did the 3250 mile crossing to make a name for themselves which they certainly did, and set a record that still stands today. The ‘Heart of the Warrior’ will be taking a different route however the task still remains.

The current race record for the event was set in 2006 on the 8th January by a crew named ‘All Relative’. The 4 man crew completed the race in 39 days 3 hours and 35 minutes though missed out on the World Record by 3 days. James and Dean are hoping to complete the distance between La Gomera and Antigua within 60 days.

The challenge will include completing the journey unsupported and entirely self sufficient between the start and finish line. To ensure James and Dean are equipped with the knowledge and skills neccessary to cope with the crossing they will have to complete a few mandatory marine courses which include navigation, sea survival and first aid.

¡Os Deseo Mucha Suerte!

To learn more visit Heart of the Warrior.