FOUR intrepid rowers from south Warwickshire set off today to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
The mixed crew, named The Brightsides, is made up of Rod Adlington, Guy Minshull, Ryan Davin, and Alex Perry, left Lanzarote with the aim of rowing non-stop to Antigua.
The foursome is aiming to complete the row in around 50 days and raise £250,000 for Get A-Head – a cancer charity fighting head and neck diseases – and Meningitis Now, the UK’s leading meningitis charity.
And the crew is hoping to challenge the Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing by a mixed crew, which currently stands at 40 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes.
The team will row in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, taking more than 1.5 million oar strokes, and facing 40 foot high waves in their 28-foot Rannoch R45 ocean rowing boat named Mrs Nelson.
The team is taking on the race in honour of Barney Adlington, who would have been 21 this year. The son of crew member Rod, Barney passed away from meningitis at the age of three within 24 hours of being diagnosed. The tragedy galvanised Rod to make fundraising for meningitis a central part of his life.
Rod, captain of the Brightsides crew, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for me and the rest of the team and we are all very excited, if not a little nervous, about what lies ahead for us.
“We are incredibly grateful to Lodders and our other headline sponsor, Bromwich Hardy, for demonstrating their support to us. Having their backing means we are moving closer to our fundraising target of £250,000 for Meningitis Now and Get A-Head, which are two charities very close to our hearts.”
Lodders spokesperson Paul Mourton, said the firm was delighted to be supporting the Brightsides in their ambitious endeavour in aid of two important causes.
He added: “I have been a trustee of Get A-Head for around eight years, providing legal expertise to the board to help shape the charity’s focus and community impact. We are thrilled that the rowing team has chosen to support the charity, alongside Meningitis Now, which plays a vital role in raising awareness of meningitis symptoms,
investing in vital research, and providing support to those affected by the disease and their families. We are in awe of the team’s dedication and drive in taking on this physical and mental challenge and will be supporting them every step of the way.”