Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Where to? Antigua Please; Cabbie Joins TV Star and City Girl in Atlantic Rowing Race

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Where to? Antigua Please; Cabbie Joins TV Star and City Girl in Atlantic Rowing Race

Article excerpt

Byline: BO WILSON

IT'S a gruelling 2,550-mile race across the high seas and its contestants include a city high flyer, a TV heartthrob, an Olympic gold medallist and a London cabbie.

For about seven weeks, the mostly amateur racers will row around the clock across some of the most dangerous waters in the world, vying for victory in the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005.

From the weekend, the 26 teams and individuals taking part will begin heading to La Gomera in the Canary Islands where the race starts.

On 27 November, they will set off across the Atlantic to Antigua in the Carribean.

It is expected that the race will take them about 55 days - the current record stands at 40.

Castaway star Ben Fogle, 32, has teamed up with Olympic rower James Cracknell for the race.

They will take turns rowing while the other sleeps, eats and navigates. They will have to survive on ration food packs and seawater, cleansed with a water desalinator.

They plan to row naked to avoid the chafing that occurs as the salt water causes clothes to stiffen.

Perils they may face include 40ft waves, whales and supertankers.

Today, Fogle admitted he was hoping to win on his team-mate's coattails.

"I haven't really ever held a pair of oars before," he said. "I've got the right people to help me - James and I have been training under Sir Steve Redgrave."

Other entrants include lawyer Chris Andrews. He competed for Great Britain in the 1989 and 1990 rowing World Championships but has not tried a feat like this.

He said: "I wanted to do this because it is the ultimate challenge - and to get my midlife crisis out of the way."

Taxi driver Colin Briggs, 60, is proud to be the oldest contestant and believes his age will help rather than hamper his progress.

"It's to do with strength, endurance and togetherness with your partner," he said.

Former City manager Roz Savage is the only woman going it alone this year. …

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