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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Cold turkey for rowers on the wild Atlantic waves

STEADY AS SHE GOES: Four Irish pals who are rowing across the Atlantic are currently in sixth place out of a race of 26
STEADY AS SHE GOES: Four Irish pals who are rowing across the Atlantic are currently in sixth place out of a race of 26

Sarah Slater

Four Irish friends who are spending Christmas Day rowing a tiny boat across the Atlantic Ocean in one of the world's toughest races lie in sixth place out of 26 international competitors.

Instead of tucking into a traditional Christmas dinner tomorrow and enjoying all the trappings of the festive season, Thomas Browne (27), Patrick O'Connor (28), Eoin O'Farrell (26) and Sean Underwood (25) will have a celebration with a difference.

Three of the friends are junior doctors and one is a tech entrepreneur.

Known as the Relentless Rowers, the team is competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, hoping to become the first Irish team to clinch the title.

They started what is expected to take a gruelling 45 days of racing across the Atlantic on December 12.

Relentless Rowers have so far rowed close to 580 nautical miles (1,075km) from La Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands. They face another 1,970nm (3,650km) of open ocean before they reach the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Team Antigua lead the pack and have so far covered 630nm (1,167km), while the only other Irish crew in the race, Team Gulliver, lies in 19th place.

The boat the Relentless Rowers are rowing and living in is a mere 7.5m long and 1.8m wide and built of wood, fibre glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar.

A small cabin is the only protection the team has against the elements.

Only 500 people have completed this feat so far - about the same as have been into space while almost 10 times that number have been to the summit of Mount Everest.

A spokesperson for the crew said: "The guys are going well so far and are putting in a fantastic time.

"What they are trying to achieve is amazing but they've trained hard and are up for the challenge.

"It definitely is a Christmas with a difference for all of them on board."

Donations can be made by logging on to justgiving.com/fundraising/relentlessrower

Sunday Independent

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