Irish rowing has been making a splash in recent years.
Now it’s set for an ocean-sized one.
And Cork University Hospital is to receive vital funds as four Irishmen compete in a 5,500 kilometer (3,000 nautical miles) rowing challenge across the Atlantic starting on December 12.
Their aim is to raise over €20,000 ($23,800) for the hospital’s Children’s Unit.
The team, dubbed the “Relentless Rowers,” hopes to break the current world record by completing the Talisker Whiskey Challenge from the Canary Island of La Gomera to the Caribbean island of Antigua in under 35 days.
If successful, the group - comprising of junior doctors Seán Underwood and Patrick O’Connor, Cork-based podiatrist Eoin O’Farrell, and young Dublin entrepreneur Thomas Browne - will also be the first all-Irish four-man crew to complete the challenge.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, said a release, is known as the world’s toughest row, and the team will take part in a specially-designed small 28 foot ocean rowing boat, named Saoirse.
They will receive no outside assistance and no re-supplies of food, drink or equipment during the race, surviving solely on what’s on-board.
Speaking about the upcoming challenge, Miriam Forde, CUH Charity said: “Everyone at CUH is extremely excited for the team, and we wish them the best of luck as they take on one of the world’s most difficult challenges. Their efforts will have a significant impact on our services and facilities in our Children’s Unit at CUH, which will directly affect the level of care that we can provide to our youngest patients and their families.”
Sean Underwood said: “Fewer people have crossed the Atlantic than have climbed Everest, so we’re well aware of the challenge we’re undertaking, but quite simply, we believe that you only get one shot at life, everybody dies but not everybody lives.
“In the hospitals we work in, we are faced almost daily with the fragility of the human condition. To put a dream on hold in the hope of affording a better time to do it is a dangerous thing. Life fleets past us. There is and will never be a ‘good’ time to row an ocean, so we’re acting on our dreams here and now.
“If we can make a difference to just one child in the CUH Children’s Unit by competing in this race, then it will all have been worth it.”
While their primary goal is to raise funds for the Children’s Unit, the rowers are also hoping to raise awareness for suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
The team members are urging businesses, both Irish and from farther afield, to support their journey with a sponsor package. Enquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a donation, go to relentless.ie.