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UK teams prepare for transatlantic challenge

Nine teams of British transatlantic rowing hopefuls converged in London on Wednesday, ahead of the 2011 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The crews assembled for a boat-naming ceremony on the banks of the River Thames, with less than a month remaining before a total of 17 ocean-rowing crews depart from the Spanish port of San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands.

They will then row the ‘Columbus Route’ – 2,549 nautical miles across the mid-Atlantic to Port St Charles in Barbados. Amongst the crews participating in the epic charity fundraising event are Row for Freedom, who are aiming to become the first all-female crew of six to row across the Atlantic.

The challenge will also feature the Row2Recovery crew, consisting of four soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Row2Recovery crew – a six-man crew also featuring two able-bodied soldiers – are raising money to help wounded servicemen and women, and have so far raised over half a million pounds.

Competitors are expected to arrive in Barbados from mid-January onwards, taking roughly 50 days to complete the challenge.