More people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic, but that doesn’t put off an Oswestry man from taking it on to inspire others and raise vital funds for charities close to his heart.
Ian Davies will take on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge with three friends and ex-military colleagues. All in their fifties, the men, known as The Atlantic Mavericks, will take on the physical and mental test of rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic in December this year. They will raise money for cancer charity Myeloma UK, 353, a charitable trust raising money for the military community and Revitalise, a charity providing respire holidays for disabled people.
In 2014, a week after completing an English Channel relay swim, Ian’s life changed forever when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. Fortunately, after 18 months of treatments and a transplant on his 55th birthday, he remains in remission.
Ian says: “My wife’s first reaction was: ‘You don’t row, you haven’t got a team, or a boat and you haven’t got £100,000 but I expect in December 2019 you will be in a boat at the start line.’ Eighteen months down the road we have a team, we’ve learnt to row, and we have a boat – three out of four. But the fund raising continues.”
The epic adventure will see the rowers take on the world’s toughest rowing race, rowing by hand the 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. The 45-day trip will test the limits of physical and mental strength to achieve the remarkable feat. The rowers will be faced with blisters, salt rash, sleep deprivation and even sharks in a true test of survival.
“The only source of power allowed is human power. In addition, we must make all our own drinking water. The row must be completed unassisted.
“We have all served for at least 20 years in the military and share bonds of friendship through playing rugby together over many years. We all consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be able to even consider attempting such an adventure at this stage in our lives. Rather than dashing off to buy a sports car, we want to push ourselves to our physical and mental limits and achieve something quite incredible. We want to give something back and inspire others to achieve the seemingly impossible.”
The team have been training for 18 months, rowing in the region of 2.5 million metres to date, which sounds impressive, but is jut half the distance of the race in December.
“Life on board our boat will be a matter of routine,” says Ian. “Two hours on the oars, two hours off, for the best part of two months. During the two hours off the oars there will be jobs to complete; cleaning the solar panels, eating, cooking, sleeping. Due to my swimming ability the team have nominated me to clean the hull of the boat on a weekly basis to clear the barnacle growth. The guys will assist by letting me know if they see any fins!”
Choosing to take part in the world’s toughest row is only half the battle as the team still need to raise around £85,000 in order to get to the start line.
The Atlantic Mavericks have pledged to self-fund the training and entry fees; around £40,000 but are looking for sponsorship and support to fund the boat and the essential equipment for the row.
Ian ends: “We would like to invite companies and corporations to become partners for the challenge, either through a sponsor’s package or by assisting us to purchase specific items of equipment.
“Our fund raising is ongoing and we hope that local businesses will get behind us.”
For further information on the team, the challenge and the charities, please ring Ian Davies on 07905 219546 or visit www.atlanticmavericks.com to find out more.