ROWING world record holder Andrew Abrahams set out on the grueling 5000 kilometre Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge this week to raise much needed funds for disadvantaged children.
With the help of many sponsors including the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) Mr Abrahams set off on his solo expedition from San Sebastian, De La Gomera in the Canary Islands on Monday and will aim to break the world record arriving at English Harbour, Antigua in under 46 days.
The race which usually takes 60 to 100 days for a team of rowers to complete is hoped to raise $500,000 for The Lions and Couee Community which are instrumental in helping children with illnesses throughout Australia.
Mr Abrahams who has attended the SCIBS since 2011 with his Concept 2 rowing machine said without the support of his family, friends and sponsors the expedition wouldn’t be possible.
“My family were obviously concerned at first about the race, but their support has been invaluable,” Mr Abrahams said.
“So too has the support of the whole Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show team who have helped me raise a great deal of funds and also put me in touch with Aurora Yacht Logistics who have shipped my boat overseas for me and become one of the biggest sponsors.”
To prepare Mr Abrahams undertook a strict training regime which included 13 training sessions a week. His World Record attempts at SCIBS 2011 and 2012 to row one million metres in under 128 hours 36 minutes and 09 seconds was also a part of his training program.
His attempt at the 2012 SCIBS saw him smash the world record with a total time of 119 hours, 50 minutes and 06 seconds recorded.
Mulpha Sanctuary Cove head of events, Johan Hasser said the entire team was proud of Mr Abrahams’ efforts and were happy to support such a worthy cause.
“When Andrew came to us with his vision of taking on such an incredible challenge to raise money for children who are less advantaged, we had to jump behind the cause,” Mr Hasser said.
“We’ve really enjoyed having Andrew be a part of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show since 2011 and are proud to say we have supported this incredibly worthy cause.
“All of us wish Andrew the best of luck and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Boat Show in 2014 and hearing all about the adventure.”
Mr Abrahams is the second Australian to attempt the challenge solo since 1997 and will battle 30 to 50 foot waves, storms, fatigue, sleep deprivation and wildlife including sharks and whales on his journey.
All rowers must be completely self-sufficient and no repairs, help, food or water is provided throughout the race.
With training completed and the challenge ahead of him Mr Abrahams said it would be the thought of making a difference to people’s lives that would help him conquer the challenge.
“The disadvantaged children who are suffering from illnesses don’t have a choice to give up,” he said.
“What they go through in life is far more frustrating than anything I can imagine so I will use that to help keep me focussed.
“The majority of the work is over for me and rowing across the ocean is going to be a great time and we just need to encourage as many people as possible now to come on board and help out with donations.”
For more information on The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge or to donate visit www.adventure4acure.com