Richard hasn’t actually rowed the Atlantic as yet but is due to do so in November if all goes to plan. Although now retired, this hasn’t stopped him from participating in a number of taxing physical challenges which include cycling, running marathons and triathlons, white water rafting, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, undertaking a five day Bear Grylls type survival course and most recently walking from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. His more than normal thirst for adventure has resulted in him now deciding to row the Atlantic solo and, if he is successful, he will be the oldest person to do it aged 70.
With no sailing experience whatsoever, some would call him foolhardy but, as he says, when the bug bites, he just cannot resist the personal challenge and, he’s hoping to raise £50,000 for the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance in the three months it will take him to row the 3,000 nautical miles. He is apprehensive about having to cope with crossing perilous shipping lanes in a small rowing boat, the likelihood of encountering severe climate conditions and dangerous sea life such as sharks, as well as the possibility of unforeseen technical problems arising, yet his biggest concern is being seasick although as a medical doctor, he can self-medicate with complete confidence!! He is also well qualified to deal with the extreme physical hardships that rowing for 10 to 12 hours every day will bring such as blisters, sores and chaffing however, he recognises that sleep deprivation, a limited diet and being on his own for so long may be more difficult to handle.
There have been approximately 150 successful east to west route Atlantic crossings to date, and Richard’s boat has already completed the journey victoriously with a previous owner so, he has every confidence in it being able to do it again. He himself, is in the process of building up his own strength and fortitude so he too will complete this gruelling voyage triumphantly. To maintain his sanity on the ‘cruise’, Richard intends to keep in contact with the outside world on a daily basis via a satellite phone; he also has all the other necessary electronic equipment (powered by solar panels) to ensure he can be identified and rescued should the need arise as he has no ‘back up team’.
Richard openly admits that the first reason he is embarking on this arduous task is because he can’t resist a challenge however secondly, he has personally worked alongside the doctors and paramedics who fly the ambucopter so is keen to raise as much money as he can through sponsorship and donations to maintain this valuable service.
If you would like to get updates on Richard’s progress, he has his own website entitled oldmanontheocean.co.uk where you can also make a donation; he can also be found on Facebook. We wish him the best of luck.