If you are going to row 2,900 miles across the Atlantic, it’s nice to get a bright sunny start with barely a breeze or a swell on the sea.
Peter Raab and Tim Wilks were lucky enough to get that flying start at 11am on December 8 from Puerto Colon and were cheered out by a packed marina, ready for a voyage that will keep them out in the middle of the ocean throughout Christmas and the New Year.
But they won’t be alone. Another 22 boats left San Sebastian harbour, La Gomera, six days before them in the Woodvale Challenge Atlantic rowing race, all headed for Antigua.
All told, there will be 48 people, including 15 women, out there with them on the ocean for Christmas.
Peter and Tim have already put more than 400 miles between themselves and their start point and, although starting later, have already overhauled several of the back-markers in the race.
Peter, from Germany but a Tenerife resident for 12 years, and Tim. from Darlington, only met a couple of months ago but intensive training and a good cause charged them up ready for the challenge.
Profits from the crossing will go to the Los Cristianos – based charity, Orobal, which helps improve the quality of life for mentally and physically handicapped youngsters.
Peter and Tim started in good spirits and still felt the same way this week, as they clocked up 450 miles of the journey.
Their boat, Martha Dos, made the crossing in 2016 in 61 days and they will be looking to shave at a least a little off that time.
l A six man crew, the Oyster Shack Ocean Challenger, also set off independently to try to break the 15-year-old crossing record of 35 days and eight hours but they didn’t get far.
A few days in one of the crew was reported to have been slightly injured and they were towed back to La Gomera to prepare to set off again.