A SURVEYOR with no experience of boats will attempt to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in the fastest recorded time.
Dan Howie, 27, and his co-crewman Will North have begun training to row non-stop for about 40 days, tackle 50ft waves and fend off possible attacks by great white sharks during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands to Antigua.
They are aiming to better the record of 39 days, three hours and 35 minutes, which was set by a crew of four in 2006.
Mr Howie, whose parents David and Susie run a 1,000-head cattle farm in Little Smeaton, near Northallerton, said that while his family were concerned about his safety during the voyage, no one had died while attempting the crossing in a rowing boat.
He said: “We will be unsupported and up to a week away from a yacht to help in case of an emergency, but it gives me a bit of comfort that we will be near a shipping lane.
“I have been having nightmares about sharks nudging the boat and playful young whales capsizing us after an Atlantic rower told how he hit a great white on the nose with a shovel that was eating his rudder.”
Mr Howie, a former pupil at Aysgarth School, near Bedale, said he would have to binge eat to gain at least two stone before setting off next year, as he would burn off 7,500 calories a day while rowing for up to four hours at a time. As the pair will be racing against up to 30 other boats they plan to sleep while the other is rowing.
The pair, who are aiming to raise more than £200,000 for charity, have received support from Atlantic rowers James Cracknell and Ben Fogle, who crossed the ocean in 49 days in 2006, including the use of the celebrity adventurers’ boat to promote their record attempt.
Mr Cracknell, a double Olympic gold medallist, said: “I know first-hand how hard this challenge is and I wish the boys every success in their crossing”.
Mr Howie’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and Mr North’s father with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, in 2006 and they will fundraise for Cancer Research, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and St Anna’s children’s home and school, in Ghana.
The pair are seeking corporate sponsors to fund the campaign.
For details, visit www.atlanticrow2013.com