A Cramlington man, who will row solo across the Atlantic for two charities which hit close to home, has unveiled his state-of-the-art boat.
Setting off in January 2018, Stu Morton hopes to break the current world record by 33 days, completing the challenge in just 63 days, as he rows the 3,800 miles from Portugal to Venezuela.
The gruelling sea quest is all in support of the Jonny Wilkinson Foundation and Rock 2 Recovery, which deals with PTSD for those who served in the armed forces.
To aid his mission, the 35-year-old’s boat has been specially modified by industry leaders Rannoch Adventure and is moored at Royal Quays, in North Shields, as Stu combines training on the water with up to five hours in the gym every day.
The boat, which was funded by Newcastle-based flight delay compensation specialists airFair, is 24ft long and 6ft wide, and has been fitted with several safety devices.
Other features include a cabin for sleeping, cooking area, GPS, AIS to identify it to passing ships and a water filter system that will convert seawater into drinkable water.
The charity row is set to cost Stu, who works at Reebok Crossfit Tyneside, in the region of £65,000, which he is personally funding in the hopes of raising as much money as possible for the two charities.
Stu will row for up to 18 hours a day, burning around 9,000 to 10,000 calories each day, which could see him lose four stones.
He said: “Some may call me crazy for planning to attempt a voyage of this kind solo, as being out on the water in all weather conditions and surrounded by many large container ships and other vessels will be dangerous, but I’m so passionate about the support which both charities provide and want to raise generous sums for these worthy causes.
“I’ve been planning the row since 2010 and having the boat made and on the water is a huge milestone.
“Thanks to funding from airFair I was able to secure a real high-quality boat, making sure the design was right, will keep me safe and help to smash the current world record. It’s great to see the end product and to have started my training on the water.
“My background in the Royal Marines and interest in fitness and endurance challenges, having taken part in many marathons and climbing Mont Blanc, should see me in good stead for the row. In addition to extensive training I’m also taking part in a further two challenges to help me along the way and raise even more money.”
In August, Stu will be running the length of Hadrian’s Wall and looking to set a record time before attempting to be the first person to climb the three peaks plus rowing in between each climb in September.
To donate or for more information, visit www.enduranceaddicts.com
airFair is also donating money to the two causes via its charity of the month scheme.