Four Oarsmen all set for tough fund-raising bid

The Four Oarsmen. Picture by Hank Jansen
The Four Oarsmen. Picture by Hank Jansen

Hardy fund-raisers are gearing up to start a gruelling charity challenge – to row the Atlantic.

To put that into perspective, more people have been into space or climbed Everest than rowed the world’s second largest ocean.

But that daunting prospect is not stopping The Four Oarsmen, aka Peter Robinson, from West Ditchburn Farm, near Eglingham, as well as George Biggar, Dicky Taylor and Stuart Watts.

They are set to begin the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on Tuesday and the 3,000 nautical miles row could take them the best part of 40 days to complete.

Described as The World’s Toughest Row, the challenge starts from the shores of La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, and finishes at English Harbour, in Antigua.

Peter, 32, said: “We have been training really hard for this. Physically, we are really fit, but it is more and more clear that it will be a mental battle. We have come to realise that it is a difficult thing that we have set ourselves.”

It most certainly is! Tackling the feat in a 25-foot boat, the team will have to rely solely on their own manpower, routing and interpretation of the weather conditions, battling against ungodly sleep patterns, physical exhaustion, subzero temperatures and stormy seas.

The Oarsmen will adopt a pattern of rowing for two hours and sleeping for two hours throughout the challenge. Sub-zero temperatures at night will be followed by 40-degree heat during the day, coupled with large waves and cramped sleeping quarters.

The team will process sea water through a solar-powered unit, producing around six gallons of water per day for cooking and hydration. Dried ration packs and food plucked from the ocean will also be on the menu.

But when the going gets tough, the gang will focus their attention on just why they are doing the challenge – to raise money for two charities: Mind, the mental health charity; and Spinal Research.

To sponsor them, visit