BY SHUJAUL AZAM
A daredevil adventurer with no sea experience plans to row the Atlantic solo having had just 11 weeks’ training.
Property developer Stephen Shanly is set to brave storms, waves, sharks and the threat of dehydration when he rows from Gran Canaria to Barbados.
The 41-year-old sets off on January 4, having only started training in mid-October. Mr Shanly, from Wimbledon, said: “It’s the ultimate challenge, there’s nothing quite like it.
“There’s been 72 people who have solo rowed the Atlantic East to West, but I don’t think anybody has done it in such a short amount of training time.”
The death rate for people rowing the Atlantic is one in nine, according to the Ocean Rowing Society, making it one of the most deadly treks known to man. “Of course, I know there is risk in this journey, but I’m working very hard at covering all bases. It’s dangerous, and that’s a given. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can deal with it. I’ve done all my seamanship courses, navigation courses, sea survival courses, and first aid – albeit in a very short amount of time,” he said.
Mr Shanly, who will row the 3,000 miles without support boats, expects the journey to take two months.
The father-of-two, who works at family business Shanly Homes, has been training on the Thames and along the coast of the North Sea.
Mr Shanly even strapped himself inside his boat and got a crane to capsize the vessel on the River Thames so he could get used to the perilous conditions lying ahead.
He said: “Some of the biggest threats will be the storms and waves, of course. You can be hit by a rogue wave and face being capsized.
“There’s also the risk of dehydration if there is any problem with the water conversion equipment, but I’m confident that won’t happen. I’ve trained hard for this.
“What I’m really looking forward to though is the challenge of being out there on the ocean by myself and completing this monumental journey.
“Many people dream of doing something extraordinary with their lives like this, but not that many people get the chance to do it. It’s going to be something you never forget, that’s for sure.”
Despite his lack of sea experience, Mr Shanly is a born adventurer who has completed a number of treks.
In the past five years he has raised £45k for charity having climbed The Matterhorn in Switzerland twice, cycled Italy in 15 days and, starting from novice, done 72 sky diving jumps in under two years.
His latest trip will raise funds for Big Change, a charity which supports youth development.