The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2013/14 has begun! We're now 48 hours into the race and we're lying in third place so far. Its early days but we've had a good start and above all, it's an amazing feeling to finally be out in the Atlantic after two years of preparation and training.
The race started from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on Wednesday 4 December after a two-day delay due to bad weather - we needed good conditions to ensure we were able to leave the marina and clear the surrounding islands safely.
There are 15 other crews taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge all of whom we have got to know well. There is a great camaraderie between the crews so it's a good feeling to tackle this challenge together.
The challenge involves rowing 3,000 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua. We're rowing a two hour on/off shift rotation, 24 hours per day in order to cross the Atlantic Ocean as quickly as possible. As well as completing the challenge, we hope to reach the Caribbean in record breaking time which is approximately 40 days.
Our boat (Blue Steel) is an open top ocean rowing boat 9m long by 2m wide with one cabin smaller than a single bed for rest and shelter. We have our fingers crossed that she will keep us safe throughout our crossing as we'll be facing tropical storms, sleep deprivation, sweltering heat and 40 feet waves, as well as the stresses of living and working in such an unpredictable and dangerous environment!
We're rowing to raise money and awareness for three charities that we both hold close to our hearts: Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and St Anna's.
Our aim is to raise £200,000 - and this will keep us going through the hardest parts of the row, along with messages of support from our friends and family. We have two goals: to raise as much money as possible and to win the race.
We'll be updating you on our progress every week until we cross the finish line. To track our progress check out: http://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com and to find out more about our campaign please visit http://www.atlanticrow2013.com.
Follow Dan Howie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AtlanticRow2013