Two friends take the Atlantic Rowing Challenge

10 October 2013

Real Estate alumnus Dan Howie ’07 and Will North ’08 who studied Business and Marketing are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December this year. It will start in La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, and finish 3,000 miles away at the Caribbean Island of Antigua. The race is renowned as one of the toughest endurance events so the two have commenced a rigorous training schedule. Surprisingly, both are new to the sport.

Dan explains, "To row 3,000 miles non-stop from La Gomera to English Harbour in Antigua is the equivalent to going from London to St Petersburg (Russia) and back again!”

The boat will be constantly on the move with Will and Dan taking it in turns to row, two hours on, two hours off, for 24 hours a day. When they are not rowing they will sleep, eat and drink and prepare kit ready for the next session.

The scheduled start date will be the beginning of December 2013 with the crossing taking anywhere between 40 and 90 days. Weather conditions will play a large part in determining their speed.

What is their motivation?
Dan says, “to raise as much money as possible for three amazing charities: Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and St Anna’s.” These three charities are close to the friends’ hearts particularly as Will’s dad, Simon North, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006. After receiving treatment he is now in remission.

Dan continues, “I am well aware how lucky I am to be healthy and to be able to undertake such a challenge, which others cannot. I have wanted to row the Atlantic for many years and feel now is the perfect time to put the wheels (oars) in motion.

“I want to look back on my life and feel I have pushed myself and done some great things. What a great adventure it will be to one day tell, or bore rigid, my grandchildren about!!”

They have been sponsored by Oxford Brookes as part of the 250 club but are still looking for other alumni sponsors. They have many well-known supporters, notably gold medal holder James Cracknell and Ben Fogle who came third in the 2005-6 Atlantic challenge, and who donated a boat for promotional purposes.