Atlantic Challenge rowing epic begins for Oxfordshire competitors

Herald Series: Atlantic Challenge rowing epic begins for Oxfordshire competitors Atlantic Challenge rowing epic begins for Oxfordshire competitors

THREE crews with Oxfordshire links are taking part in the world’s most gruelling rowing challenge for charity that started yesterday.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge will see teams take 36 to 45 days to row from the Canary Islands, west of Africa, to Antigua in the West Indies.

Three crews with links to the county – all of whom are raising funds for charity – will join 13 other teams from all over the world.

A crew from RAF Brize Norton, the Atlantic Forces team – made up of Jane McIntosh, air loadmaster in 216 Squadron; Warren Burns, aircraft technician in 216 Squadron; Elizabeth Herbert, pilot for 216 Squadron; and Howard Raw, air loadmaster in 47 Squadron – is the first military mixed-sex group to take part in the challenge.

Miss McIntosh said: “None of us have ever done anything like this before. It will be the biggest adventure of our life.”

A group of professional polo players will chuck in the chukkers when they take up the challenge.

The Atlantic Polo team is made up of professional polo player Henry Brett, from Witney, and fellow players and friends for two decades Bobby Melville, James Glasson and Fergus Schools.

Mr Brett, 39, said: “This is a huge challenge and the biggest, most frightening thing we will have ever done.”

Londoners Dan Howie and Will North, who make up the Atlantic Row team, met while studying together at Oxford Brookes University in 2006.

Mr Howie, 27, a chartered surveyor, will turn 28 during the race.

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