Rowing across the Atlantic to raise money for Ataxia

Rich (front) and Tom (rear) prepare for their row across the Atlantic

Rich (front) and Tom (rear) prepare for their row across the Atlantic

Spare a thought for Richard Hume and Tom Barnes as you tuck into your turkey in your centrally heated house! The two Londoners are preparing to spend the rest of the festive season rowing naked across the Atlantic in a small boat. Heavy storms have forced a two-week delay on the Woodvale race, the famously gruelling ocean challenge completed by Ben Fogle and James Cracknell in 2005.

Rich and Tom are now keen to set out and hope to leave just on Tuesday December 29 if weather conditions settle down. Rich, 27, and Tom, 30, will spend over two months at sea in a boat the size of a mini-bus. Living space is cramped and there is no toilet, with only the ‘bucket and chuck it’ method for relieving yourself. They will have to eat over 10,000 calories a day just to keep going, and to top it off, Rich and Tom will spend most of their time totally naked to cut down on chafing caused by corrosive salt water.

The pair hopes to raise at least £100,000 to fund vital services and research into the brain condition Ataxia, which has left a friend of theirs in a wheelchair. Neither had rowed before taking on the massive challenge, and Rich, who had 93% curvature of the spine as a teenager, once thought he would never be able to take part in any sport at all.

To sponsor the pair, visit