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Friends prepare to take on Pacific rowing challenge

Five friends are now counting down the days until they attempt to row 2,800 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a bid to raise money for four air ambulance charities and an armed forces charity close to their heart.

Skipper Alison Wannell, Andy Warner, Elaine Theaker, Neil Blackeby, Huw Carden and their boat, The Voyager, will tackle extreme weather and harsh conditions as they aim to complete the row of a lifetime as part of the inaugural Pacific Challenge, starting on 12th June 2023.

The team, named Flyin’ Fish, are setting off from Monterey Bay, California, and will row non-stop for anywhere between 35 to 50 days until they reach Hanalei Bay, Hawaii.

Between them, the rowers hope to raise £20,000 to be split between Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, Wales Air Ambulance, Devon Air Ambulance, Cornwall Air Ambulance and SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity, respectively.

Each air ambulance charity represents the area where each team member lives.

Andy Warner, from Basingstoke, said: “There will be days of high winds and big cresting waves which will threaten to capsize our little boat.

“But we have given ourselves every chance of taking on the Pacific and her ever changing moods. It’s the pinnacle of personal growth; beat the Pacific and you can overcome anything. “

Buoyed with the prospect of seeing marine wildlife including whales, dolphins and sharks, Mr Warner is aware of the isolating nature of such an intensive challenge, having previously completed the Atlantic Rowing challenge.

To donate to the Flyin’ Fish, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Flyin-Fish1.

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