A CRAMLINGTON man has unveiled the state-of-the-art boat which he will solo row 3,800 miles from Portugal to Venezuela to raise money for two charities which hit close to home.
Setting off in January 2018, during the grueling voyage Stu Morton hopes to break the current world record by 33 days, completing the challenge in just 63 days, 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 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 – a nod to the danger of the crossing which is completely unaided.
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, with the hopes of raising as much money as possible for the two charities.
He will row for up to 18 hours a day, burning around 9,000-10,000 calories each day which could see him lose four stones.
Stu 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, then in September will attempt to be the first person to climb the three peaks and rowing in between each climb.
Stu added: “I know I’m putting my body through a lot, but my aim is to change the stigma around mental health and provide the charities with vital funds to enable them to help those most in need. I’m really grateful for the support which I’ve already received from sponsors as well as individuals, and hope that my row encourages more people to donate what they can.”
Stu has received sponsorship from several organisations including airFair, Fineside Clothing, Compex UK, MyProtein, Battle Oats Bars, NGS Communications and Built Up North Clothing, helping with funding, equipment and products.
Will Smith, head of airFair, said: “What Stu is attempting is truly incredible and we are proud to support him and wish him the best of luck. Charity activity is really important to us as a company and as part of our employee of the month scheme, which sees £10 per employee donated to one chosen charity each month, the Jonny Wilkinson Foundation and Rock 2 Recovery have been added to our list of benefactors.”
For more information on Stu’s charity solo row and to donate or give sponsorship, visit www.enduranceaddicts.com.
For more information on airFair visit www.airfair.com.