Bray man Andrew O’Reilly will spend Christmas Day on a rowing boat with 11 other people, on a trip from Tenerife to Antigua.
e will raise funds for Purple House and the Bray Rowing Club. Donations can be made to the ‘Andy’s Atlantic Rowing Challenge’ at gofundme.com.
In training, he and his teammates learned that they would cover a total of 5,500 km, or 5.5 million meters!
They trained in England two weeks ago, doing eight hours on the first day and six on the second.
“On the third and fourth day we did 48 hours with 12 people doing three hours of walking and three hours of rest,” Andrew said.
The last such mission lasted 42 days, so they hope for a similar experience.
“I am training as much as possible now so as not to injure myself or hurt myself. “
He needs to gain weight as there will be weight loss due to the nature of the supplies on board.
The crew will be fed with instant food, rehydrated using distilled sea water.
There will be no support boat, they are alone.
If a storm hits, they squeeze into small cabins on both sides of the boat and ride with the storm.
“Like being in a washing machine but with sweaty men next to you,” Andrew said.
They hope to leave on December 6, everything is going as planned.
Normally he would be with his wife, children and grandchildren for Christmas, and asked them to write letters to him to continue his journey. He will open one a week, and this will be his only contact with the house.
“My kids probably think I’m crazy. They said maybe I should buy a sports car!
The 53-year-old grandfather covered the cost of the seat on the boat himself, and all donations will go directly to both causes.
He has gone through an exhausting selection process and is up to the challenge.
In addition to funding for cancer support services, he hopes the Breay Rowing Club will be able to purchase a kid-friendly sea rowing for training and possibly making it to the Olympics.
“I started rowing when I was 17 and have been a member of the Bray Rowing Club for a long time,” said Andrew. He came and returned about eight years ago when his youngest son started rowing.
His wife, family and the rest of the club are very proud of what he is about to undertake later this year.
The group is international, comprising teammates from Scotland, America and China.
Andrew works weekly with personal trainer Dean Kane at the CSP gym and his family doctor, to make sure he’s in top shape for the challenge.
On board the rowing boat Roxy, along with Rannoch adventures, the crew will have a satellite phone and radio for emergencies.
“It will be difficult to be away from the family at Christmas,” he said. “The letters will take me to the end.