TWO Lyme Regis rowers will be setting off on their world record attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean today, Friday, June 6.
Elliot Dale, 54, and Chris Walters, 55, from Lyme Regis Gig Club, are attempting 3,246 miles across the Atlantic from New York to the Isles of Scilly in less than 55 days to raise money for the Children’s Hospice South West.
The pair will begin the gruelling challenge in their Row4PreciousLives boat today, June 6 after officially launching the boat at a ceremony in Plymouth back in April.
They have stepped up their training and fundraising efforts as the start date edged nearer.
Speaking in New York the day before the challenge, Elliot Dale told the Lyme Regis News: “Chris and I are feeling a little apprehensive; personally I have a few butterflies in my stomach but we’re looking forward to giving it our best shot.
“There isn’t much we can do now we’ve reached New York apart from get everything ready.
“We’re planning to set off at midday tomorrow, but it all depends on the weather and whether the tide is right.
“The response to our challenge has been phenomenal so far especially fundraising; for example I recently walked round New York harbour and one woman handed me $100.”
The current record for crossing the ocean is 55 days and was set by two Norwegian rowers in 1896.
Only one other team of two rowers has since completed the crossing by the same route.
The Lyme pair have set a fundraising target of £300,000 by the time they finish their mission and will donate all of the funds to Children’s Hospice South West.
They have had a lot of support from the people of Lyme Regis, the rest of the country and even as far as the Netherlands. Elliot added: “Chris and I chose the hospice after a visit there because the staff do such a fantastic job making the most of the short lives of the children there, and we want to raise as much as possible to help.
“I cannot stress how much every penny counts towards the hospice.”
'No underestimating the challenge'
Alana Marie Smith, director of fundraising for Children’s Hospice South West said: “There is no underestimating the challenge Chris and Elliott are taking on, and it is incredible that they have chosen Children’s Hospice South West as the charity to benefit.
“They will experience extreme conditions and will be required to row continually during the day. We want to wish them all the very best of luck and perfect weather conditions to bring them home safe.”
For more information on the challenge or to donate visit chsw.org.uk and follow the fundraising links.