Simon Burfiend, from Steyning, plans to make history as part of a team which will row 5,000 miles across the Indian Ocean, unsupported.
Simon, 21, who has no experience of rowing, told the County Times he was inspired by a talk from a trans-Atlantic rower.
“I thought that sounded like a great idea,” he said. Asking around, he was soon put in touch with a man in Scotland who was involved with the Indian Ocean rowing team.
Their six man crew plan to row from Carnarvon in Western Australia to Durban in South Africa, which is expected to take 100 days.
Achieving this will require crew members to row in two hour shifts, three on; three off, 24 hours a day. Eating, sleeping and even boat repair and maintenance will have to be done during the ‘rest’ hours.
Simon plans to arrive in Australia in June, so as to be acclimatised and ready for a July departure.
“We’ll have to wait until the weather window is right,” he said, “and check the boat.
“It’s completely unsupported, so if something goes wrong we’re on our own.”
In the event of a major problem, they will be able to send a distress call by satellite link. The main worry is neither the unpredictable weather nor the shark population, but the massive container ships which ply the ocean.
The ships are surprisingly quiet, and can suddenly bear down on a smaller vessel.
Despite the huge demands that the trip will make on him, Simon said it isn’t really something he can train for - at the moment his main aim is simply to put on weight.
“We’ll burn about 10,000 calories per day, and it’s impossible for us to eat 10,000 calories per day while rowing,” he explained.
He isn’t even practising his rowing technique, since doing so would cause him to lose weight. Also, the water is likely to be so choppy that good rowing technique will not really be a factor.
Simon expects the main challenge to be mental rather than physical, as the small crew adapt to life on board their cramped vessel.
“I guess the days will just go by, and just be dictated by those two hours on,” he said.
“It’s fairly daunting - you’re vey small out there in comparison to the ocean, but at the same time I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s something that will stay with me forever.”
Apart from making the first unsupported crossing from Australia to South Africa they also plan to make an attempt on the record for the longest distance rowed in 24 hours, which currently stands at 118 miles.
The crew hope that their ambitious plan will attract corporate sponsors who can help cover the costs.
Simon said they need to cover the cost of rations, flights and accommodation as well as the boat itself.
He expects to be able to stay in South Africa long enough to meet post-trip sponsor commitments.
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