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Polo star to row Atlantic for horses
HE’S used to the high life commanded by playing one of the world’s most graceful sports.
But ex-top polo player Henry Brett will soon face a sporting challenge like never before.
The 39-year-old former England number one from Witney is to row across the Atlantic with three friends for company for more than a month.
He is taking on the challenge to hopefully raise £100,000 for an animalwelfare charity.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is seen as one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges, physically and mentally.
Teams take 36 to 45 days to row roughly via the equator from the Canary Islands, west of Africa, to Antigua in the West Indies. They never leave the boat and must rely on supplies and equipment stowed in the seven-by-two metre (22ft x 6.6ft) vessel. Their only connection to the outside world is a satellite phone.
He said of the 3,000-mile challenge: “I am probably used to sitting down, but that would be about it. People react differently and I think until you are out there and have that experience it is difficult to say how you will react.
“It is a huge thing to undertake and therefore it gives you confidence to take on other projects, whatever they may be.”
Sharks and whales could be visible but pose no threat while mid-Atlantic tankers will be more of a danger, he said.
Competitors are expected to lose about 20 per cent of their body weight for the team, to work in two-hour shifts.
Joining him in their £50,000 ‘Tiny Dancer’ boat will be professional polo players Bobby Melville and James Glasson and amateur polo player Fergus Scholes – all friends for two decades. Mr Brett, who left Culham’s European School at 15 to work his way up in polo, said he will take audio books including one by explorer Ernest Shackleton for company while solar panels will power speakers to motivate the rowers.
While first dismissing it as a “ridiculous idea” when suggested at a dinner party, Oxford-born Mr Brett is now taking the challenge head on.
It will raise cash for London charity The Brooke, which provides free care for horses, donkeys and mules.
The team will leave on November 14 for final training before the December 2 start.
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