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The World's Toughest Race! Chocolate Dog Marketing are playing their part!

Hamish Stewart and Neil Blackerby are both experienced gig rowers having been members of Port Isaac Rowing Club for many years. Known as the “Atlantic Buoys” they are competing in the Talisker Whiskey Challenge to raise funds for the Children’s Hospice South West. Leaving on December 15th they will be competing in the world’s toughest row in a 3000 mile race, from San Sebastian in La Gomera to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua. They will face the great vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean known by sailors in World War Two as the cruel sea. Huge Atlantic swells, strong winds, shipping including massive container ships, dunnage (old naval term for packing and things washed off ships) that could potentially sink “Deja Blue” In places and it is over 10,000ft or 3339m deep in places add to the challenge of the incredible endurance row.
As Hamish said: “We have bought a 24 ft ocean rowing boat, Deja Blue, built in 2009 from four pieces of laser cut marine ply. She did the crossing in 2009, hit a reef one mile from the finish. We have repaired and equipped her. A cabin at stern fits in all our equipment and ourselves. However if we have to "batten down the hatches". We will not be able to sit up! We are totally self- sufficient: solar panel running our electrics. We have just picked up or water maker! There are two rowing positions with sliding seats, though with 30/40 foot swells it is more a case of keeping the boat moving than rowing like a dervish on "still" water. Each position has two oars rather than one oar as in gigs and will row two hours on and two off for 24 hrs a day for around Compared to gig –rowing it is very different. The boat and oars are lighter and we sit on sliding seats. Like gig rowing “gig ass” will be a real threat. Salt, and salt sores, sunstroke, being constantly wet will add to our physical discomfort. We will be rowing for 60/70 days losing possibly up to 20% of our body weight. The boat is 10 foot shorter than a gig, but fully equipped will weigh one tonne, and we will have to re - balance the boat as we use up our rations: all expedition food adding hot water from a jet boil. We run on solar panels which runs all our electrics, including the watermaker. Deja Blue, like a gig, will benefit from the following swell. We DO NOT want to be lifted and turned (top to tail). All our provisions are stored in Henderson hatches on our deck area. The bow "cabin" will store paranchor, drogues, anchor and other heavy gear. Steering is by footplate and hand lines and we will have a back- up rudder, made from ply. Other equipment includes our life raft, (stored on deck) epirb, grab bag, and emergency med kit with sat phone”.
The Buoys have been busy all year raising funding to buy their boat and fully equip her all Supported by Sharps Brewery their main sponsor, a big thank you also goes to Tregonning Ford, Barnecutts Bakery, Specsavers (Bodmin), Cornish Horizons, Camel Glass, local musician Josh Curnow, Gary Dutton Meats, Designed2 create, Box2Beat, Wadebridge Kitchens, First Great Western, Chocolate Dog Marketing Services who have provided sponosrhsip and PR support and Amy Byfield. Dominic Walford from Wadebridge Chamber of Commerce has been exceptional.
Neil said: “We are so pleased with the support. We want to raise £45,000 for Children’s Hospice South West so please help”
Judy Pride, a Community Fundraiser for the Hospice: “We are humbled that Hamish and Neil are prepared to take on such a huge challenge and to put themselves through this to help families who are facing their own- very different challenge. They are inspiring selfless men who deserve all the support that anyone can provide and I really hope that the local community will help them achieve their goal”.

Atlantic Buoys compete in the Talisker Whiskey Challenge 2015