Parent's Big Finish in Atlantic Rowing Challenge
Sunday, 02 February 2014
Mark Brocklehurst, dad of Year 4 Park Road pupil Tom, and his three fellow rowers – Finn Christo, Nick Griffiths and Matt Nuttall – have just completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge! The four agreed to take on the challenge in support of Bolton Lads and Girls Club and their Junior Mentoring Project. The mentoring programme could make a life changing difference to young people in the community, but there is currently a waiting list of nearly 200 kids.
The four men in their boat were just one of 20 teams setting off on the 3,000-mile trip across the Atlantic. The Challenge started from the Spanish port of San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 2nd 2013, and the Bolton Atlantic Challenge team rowed into Antigua in the Caribbean in the early hours of February 2nd 2014. They finished 8th overall, and their total time was 59 days 18 hours 4 minutes and 9 seconds. They came in ahead of 4 other teams – including their closest rivals, Swedish two-man team Prosecta, who were closing the gap between the boats in the last few days!
Mark and his companions spent Christmas and New Year at sea, and have faced a number of gruelling challenges over the past two months. Not only have they faced the tough schedule of rowing for two hours, then eating and sleeping for two hours, before starting the cycle again, they have also had to deal with more than their fair share of problems. These have included a broken seat, meaning that the team had to re-think the rotation system, plus a broken autohelm forcing them to hand-steer the boat. However, it has been the conditions at sea which have made the journey a constant battle; at one point the boat faced 40ft waves, one of which capsized the boat and hurled Mark and Finn overboard! Thankfully, both men survived the ordeal shaken but unhurt, and were able to continue the challenge the next day.
In his blog on the 28th January, Mark said, “This trip has been extreme with many more lows than highs but ultimately this one will be the pinnacle of my nautical career. It will also go a long way to helping some great kids and it’s that high that will no doubt stay with me for life.”
As Mark points out, there have been highs – including numerous sightings of marine wildlife, including whales, dolphin, sail fish, shark, and plenty of flying fish!
The challenge has also been a huge success, as their current fundraising total is £130,691.94 – just over half of their quarter of a million pounds goal.
The team's JustGiving page is still active if you would like to make a donation for Bolton Lads and Girls Club!