A Barnstaple man plans on rowing across the Atlantic, breaking previous world records.
Jeremy Webb, intends on setting off next month from Gran Canaria as part of an eight-man team which hopes to complete the notoriously gruelling challenge in less than 32 days – the length of the previous world record.
Earlier this year, Mr Webb received an email detailing the challenge and saying there was space in the team. He contacted the organisers and arranged to have an interview.
“It was strange because at no point did they say, ‘You are in!’” said Jeremy, who was quite surprised. “it was like ‘You will be rowing in seat number and you will be doing this and that’ and then it dawned on me that I was going to be doing this.”
Jeremy’s rowing team will be on a boat called the ‘Toby Wallace’, a vessel just 35 foot long and 6 foot wide. The eight-man-strong team will take it in turns to row around the clock in-between sleeping in a cabin with just enough room for one individual.
Plenty of food will be supplied on-board, with no need to stop, but Mr Webb assumes that he will be losing quite a bit of weight during the 4,830 kilometre challenge. On average, rowers burn about 10,000 calories a day, end up facing obstacles like salt-infested blisters and tolerate the threats of forty-foot wave swells, marine creatures lurking beneath their fragile boat and passing freighter boats.
There are, however, other reasons for rowing the Atlantic. Many rowers who have experienced the journey speak of huge pods of dolphins passing them, totally oblivious, and the joy of seeing an interrupted star-lit sky at night.
It doesn’t take huge muscles and loads of endurance training to row the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, crew members from America said that ‘Character, character, character’ was key to keeping the morale and determination strong – especially as the team battles tough winds, big waves and over a month of exposure.
What’s the one thing that Jeremy Webb is dreading? Sea sickness. “When I’m rowing there isn’t a problem, but when you are not rowing you’re just bobbing around.” He said.
To motivate them further, Jeremy’s team will be competing against another team who are also aiming for the world record title.
“It will be good to have another boat to race against, because it can be better than just trying to beat the clock.” Webb added.
Jeremy has been a member of the Ilfracombe Gig Club for five years, so he knows his way around a boat. He’s funding his part in the expedition himself, so that the money he raises can then be donated to the North Devon Hospice. He hopes to raise around £5,555 because it’s ‘quite a round figure’.
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