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The Atlantic Journey Starts Here

BEST pals Andy Purvis and Stuart Hatcher will put their friendship to the ultimate test later this year when they set off to row 3,000-miles across the Atlantic.

Dubbed the world’s toughest rowing race, the pair will have to overcome sleep deprivation, salt sores and waves of more than 40 feet as they battle the elements in a specially designed 20ft carbon fibre craft.

The Atlantic Challenge begins in San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands and ends 3,000 miles later at Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda.

Their two-man team Oar Mighty Mates will have to spend more than two months at sea rowing two hours on two hours off while braving the elements as competitors of the Atlantic Challenge 2023.

It is a test of sheer endurance, where participants have to push far beyond their limits and overcome all their physical and mental boundaries.

More people have made it to the top of Mount Everest than have successfully undertaken Andy and Stuart’s transatlantic mission.

Over the coming nine months Stuart and Andy will focus on the mammoth challenge with the support of Medway Yacht Club as they prepare for what lies ahead.

The Oar Mighty Mates team is rowing for three dementia charities and their aim is to raise £50,000 for a cause close to both their hearts.

The brave duo will be working to raise £50,000 for their charities, Dementia UK, Sporting Memories and Bright Shadow.

Dementia is a cause close to Stuart and Andy, affecting close family members and one that will affect many of our lives as statistics predict one in three people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime.

Stuart – who will turn 50 somewhere in the Atlantic – said: “I’m not an expert sea adventurer, but I do have a huge passion for the outdoors and endurance, so I guess if you think about it this is a combination of both just on an epic scale.

“When my best mate Andy asked if I would join him, I didn’t even give it a second thought, I was in!

“The sea has always been a happy and calming place for me from a young age, and that is why the challenge of rowing the Atlantic in aid of Dementia UK, The Sporting Memories Foundation and Bright Shadow.

Andy will turn 60 just a few weeks before launch but has no plans to let age dampen his determination to take part.

Andy said: “Like my buddy Stuart, I have always loved the outdoors and extreme activities. My hobbies include skiing and scuba diving and I have also skydived among several other extreme activities.

“My passion is however running having completed many half and full marathons.

“Rowing the Atlantic will prove to be the ultimate challenge and we are both excited and honoured to have the opportunity to fulfil an achievement of a lifetime whilst raising money for such fantastic causes.

“We are both very lucky to have super supportive families who will encourage us at all times on the wonderful journey ahead.”

Andy and Stuart will have to brave the elements but a solar powered tracking system and satellite phone will mean those back at home will be able to keep a constant eye on progress.

There are 944,000 people with dementia in the UK. This will increase to over one million by 2030 and over 1.6 million by 2050.

Throughout the gruelling journey, Andy and Stuart will have to get used to rowing 12 hours a day, surviving on filtered sea water and eating up to 5,000 calories just to keep them going.

The Atlantic Challenge by numbers:

  • 3,000 miles – total distance on the challenge
  • 1.5million – number of strokes
  • 5,000 – the number of calories each rower will burn per day
  • 20ft – the height of the waves on the Atlantic swell
  • 8kg – expected weight loss for each rower
  • ZERO toilets – rowers will have to make do with a shared bucket

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