Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
TWO Zimbabwean rowers are part of an eight-member crew attempting to set a world record for the quickest time for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, having left the Canary Islands at midnight last Thursday. The crew is expected to row for two hours on, two hours off for about 30 days non-stop bound for Barbados in a charity cause as they aim to beat the current 32-day record on the 4 800-kilometre stretch.
The duo of former Peterhouse Boys pupils Mike Johnson (21) and Murray Faber (20) — who were also part of the school’s rowing team four years ago — are the youngest members of the crew whose most senior members are British nationals Graham Walters and Roger Davies, who are both 68.
Both were also part of the three-member team that represented Zimbabwe at the FISA World Junior Championships in Bulgaria in 2012 together with Peter Purcell-Gilpin and by yesterday they had already covered almost 1 000 kilometres.
Murray is currently studying aircraft maintenance engineering at the University of South Wales while Johnson is working on the family farm in Zimbabwe. Johnson has been rowing since 2007 and has competed in various junior world rowing championships.
“Our team will be rowing a shift pattern of two hours on, two hours off for the 3 000 mile (4 800km) trans-Atlantic route from the Canary Islands to Barbados.
“Skippered by Simon Chalk of Oceanus Rowing, who is regarded to be one of the most experienced ocean rowers ever, this challenge will take a great deal of extreme physical and mental strength . . . It’s the world’s toughest row,” he wrote on his blog.
Some of the members of the crew who want to break the world record for the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing in a rowing boat include British nationals skipper Simon Chalk (43), Iwan Hughes (35), Richard Wattam (50) and French national Dolores Desclaveliere (48).
This is not the first time that Faber has been involved in charity work through rowing, having done the same during his school days in 2012 when, together with Micheen Thornycroft, they joined the rest of the world in a 24-hour worldwide rowing challenge to highlight the need for early childhood development in Africa.
Then the aim of the fund-raiser was to support communities in some of the poorest and most underdeveloped rural areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe by raising awareness through extreme sport endurance events.