Northallerton rower to spend Christmas day battling the cold and wet in the middle of the Atlantic

The Northern Echo: A calm moment on board for Dan Howie A calm moment on board for Dan Howie

SUPERFIT fundraiser Dan Howie will be having anything but a warm and cosy Christmas this year as he battles the winter weather in the middle of the Atlantic in a 23ft boat.

As he fights off the cold and wet he will have just half-an-hour to celebrate – and then it will be back to the gruelling task of non-stop rowing.

Mr Howie, 28, a chartered surveyor from Little Smeaton, near Northallerton, is taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 3,000-mile race, from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Fifteen crews set off on December 4 and 12 now remain – and Mr Howie, together with his rowing partner Will North, a 28-year-old head-hunter from London, is now closing in on the half-way mark.

Earlier they were hit by treacherous weather including high winds, 40ft swells and a storm that had all the remaining crews battening down the hatches for three days.

But now conditions are calming and the pair are continuing to row 24 hours a day in two-hour shift rotations until the 3,000 mile course is complete.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging first few weeks at sea,” said Mr Howie during a brief break from his exhausting efforts.

“We are constantly cold, wet and the sleep deprivation is starting to take its toll. Our hands and feet are deteriorating - but our bottoms are ok thanks to sheepskins that my Dad provided for us.”

He added: “We are allowing ourselves 30 minutes off on Christmas Day to open our stockings and possibly phone home; then it’s back to the daily grind.

“We are in touch with our land-based team who are updating us with the amount of donations that are flooding in which will be great to hear on Christmas Day. The support and donations help us with every single stroke so please keep them coming.”

The pair are hoping to raise up to £200,000 for three charities - Cancer Research, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and the St Anna's Children's Home and School in Ghana. So far they have brought in almost £100,000 and the fund-raising is continuing.

To find out more about the pair’s Atlantic challenge visit atlanticrow2013.com

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