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Islington man leading the way in race to row across the Atlantic

14:17 20 January 2014

'2 boys in a boat' will be the youngest pair to ever cross the Atlantic

Archant

Daredevil adventurer Jamie Sparks is leading a race to cross the Atlantic, after rowing non-stop for 44 days with a friend.

Mr Sparks, 21 from Duncan Terrace in Islington and Luke Birch, also 21, have lost 12kg each, despite consuming 6,000 calories a day to help with the gruelling adventure.

The pair have faced brutal storms, a near-miss with a container ship and the discovery of 150kg of water in their boat, which has seen four other teams of adventurers rescued from the brutal challenge.

The pair said they “want to inspire other people their age to live a life worth talking about” and thought it was time to “put doubters in their place.”

For the past 40 days, neither of the men, calling themselves ‘2 boys in a boat’, has slept for more than 80 minutes, alternating between rowing and sleeping 24-hours-a-day.

The adventurous pair are rowing 3,000 miles to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, and are aiming to bank an impressive £150,000 for the charity.

When the school friends reach Antigua, only 700 miles away from their current position, they will be the youngest pair to ever cross the Atlantic – the second largest ocean in the world.

Caroline Barkham, Mr Sparks’ mother, said: “Jamie has always liked putting himself out of his comfort zone. It’s not that he doesn’t get scared, he is almost addicted to the feeling of being scared.”

On his at-sea blog, Jamie wrote: “My hands are as tough as sand paper and beyond being able to bleed. Luke complained when I applied sun lotion to his back yesterday. The 45 degree celsius cabin is becoming more and more unbearable as we head south.

“We have had to take to the deck during the day in hope of catching a few minutes sleep. Of course we never do, this would be too easy.”

‘2 boys in a boat’ have survived on dehydrated food, made up with sea-water – a far cry from the typical student diet.

Islington resident Jamie is a student at Bristol University and Luke is studying in Edinburgh. Both boys have been training since summer 2012.

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