Rower rises to ocean challenge to raise £200,000 for charity

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As the rest of us settle down for our turkey sandwiches, spare a though for Dan Howie, who has spent his Christmas Day in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in a 23ft rowing boat.

Mr Howie, from Northallerton, part of Team Atlantic Row, is three weeks into his 3,000-mile challenge along with his rowing partner Will North.

The pair, alongside 15 other crews, left the shores on La Gomera as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and have since then been battling treacherous conditions including high winds and 40ft swells.

At one stage a storm meant that all crews battened down the hatches and could not row for three days, testing each crew to its limit.

Mr Howie said: “It’s been an incredibly challenging first few weeks at sea.

“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 the sheepskins that my Dad provided for us. 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 challenge has a charitable objective, with Will’s father diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Dan’s father with prostate cancer.

Team Atlantic Row 2013 are aiming to raise as close to £200,000 as possible for Cancer Research, Leukaemia and Lymphoma and St Anna’s, a charity to help underprivileged children in Ghana.