Two Toms have begun the journey from the Canary Islands to Barbados in an 8 metre rowing boat; in a bid to be the second-youngest pair ever to make the crossing.
St Andrews student Tom Sauer and his friend Tom Fancett, from London, are taking part in the 2011 Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race; departing (December 4, 2011) from the Spanish port of San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands and following what’s known as the Columbus route, west-bound across the mid-Atlantic to Port St Charles.
It is a journey of nearly 3,000 miles that is expected to take them until late January 2012, meaning the friends will be at sea together for two months and will spend Christmas with no toilet facilities and limited cooking equipment – giving up Christmas dinner for high calorie expedition food.
Tom Sauer is currently in his final year of studying for a joint honours degree in Modern History and Management, and hopes to be the youngest Dutchman to successfully navigate the Atlantic Ocean.
The pair expect to face sharks, 30 foot waves, extreme temperatures, painful salt sores and blisters to raise money for the Johan Cruijff Foundation which provides educational and sporting opportunities for impoverished children around the world.
Tom Sauer said:
“Since being a little kid I have always loved the Ocean and spent a considerable time on sailing boats, resulting in me sailing across the Atlantic with my dad. For me rowing the Ocean is the culmination of my love and respect of the sea.”
“At the same time I am very conscious of how lucky I am; as a kid I was always able to pursue any sports I wanted, this is why I am very passionate about raising money for the Johan Cruyff Foundation. A charity that provides sport activities for children with disabilities and for children from less fortunate backgrounds.”
Sir Steve Redgrave, Honorary graduate of the University of St Andrews, was among the first to give his support:
“Having watched my close friend James Craknell complete this race and what he went through I have only the upmost respect for Tom and Tom. Good luck guys and row safely.”
Former British men’s tennis No.1 Tim Henman has also given his support. He said:
“I would like to give my support to Tom and Tom and wish them the best of luck for the great challenge that lies ahead. I admire their determination and the aim to raise money for such a great cause!”
You can follow the progress of Team Tom on their website.Fundraising