My 21-year-old son, Luke, has been rowing across the Atlantic for 48 days. He and his best friend Jamie (the '2 Boys in a Boat') are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 mile rowing race, in aid of Breast Cancer Care. They are hoping to break the world record for the youngest team to row the Atlantic.
It has been an exciting week for everyone involved, as the first of the boats competing in the race finally arrived in Antigua. On 14 January, after 40 days at sea, Mike Burton and Tom Salt (Team Locura) became this year's winners of the race (their boat was in the 'Open' class and is a completely different design to all the other boats - hence their speedy finish!). It has been fantastic to watch their joy at finishing and listen to their post race interviews about their time on the Ocean. Their finish means that Jamie and Luke's finish is now in sight too - which I can barely dare to believe! And all of the support team based here in the UK are now focused on Tuesday 28 January which is their estimated arrival date. Luke also seems focused on this as he recently sent us his requests for his return to dry land - cheese, lobster, a 2 hour massage and swimming goggles are all on the wish list! I think it's the least we can do after all they have endured over the last month and a half!
With 365 nautical miles left, the boys are currently fifth in the race overall and second in the pairs and their spirits are high. You can read Luke's recent blog here where he talks about a life changing experience rowing under a full moon while whales swam alongside the boat. It is so fantastic to see him write: 'it's more than I could have ever dreamed of'. And very reassuring that he can already look back on the experience fondly, despite still facing at least another week rowing - which must seem like an eternity to them!
We were also touched to read in Luke's blog that 'I have never felt really alone out here.. and I cant wait to be back to see everybody!'. Back here in the UK we have also been touched by the amazing support from the many different people we have encountered since Luke and Jamie first decided to undertake this challenge. From our close friends, family and fantastic corporate supporters, to strangers who have donated or shown their support for the boys through Facebook or Twitter. We have been so amazed by the huge amount of good will and generosity shown. Thanks to this support, the boys have raised over £181,000 for Breast Cancer Care - the only UK-wide specialist breast cancer support charity. As someone who has experienced a diagnosis of breast cancer myself, I know how important it is that people get the right support and expert information they need.
Over the next couple of days I will start preparing to fly to Antigua to meet the boys. I can hardly believe that we are now anticipating their finish - on the one hand it seems like they set off on this adventure yesterday, but on the other hand it has also felt like a (very traumatic) eternity! I don't think it will feel real to any of us, and I certainly won't sleep well, until the boys are finally back on dry land - food demands and all!
You can follow Jamie and Luke on Twitter @2boysinaboat or on their website 2 Boys in a Boat where they will be blogging throughout the journey. You can also watch their progress on this race tracker. The 2 Boys in a Boat team would like to say a huge thank you to their supporters including Duracell, WeSEE.com, Reed.co.uk, Buzzacott and Sidley Austin.