Being a modern-day grandad is tough, really tough… Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE spoiling the grand-kids rotten and handing them back to their exhausted and bewildered parents with a wry smile… However, it’s the salt rashes, 10ft waves, seasickness and sharks that we find really difficult to cope with….
Erm, what now…?
We can hear the confusion in your mouse clicks so it’s probably time to introduce ourselves properly… we are Neil Young and Peter Ketley, two grandads who later this year will attempt to become the oldest pair to row across the Atlantic and hopefully raise thousands for charity.
We have known each other for 40 years, since we served together in the Parachute Regiment so we’ve always had a spirit of adventure. Admittedly, this challenge is completely beyond our comfort zone since neither of us have ever even rowed before… let alone taken to the high seas. Buy hey, if there’s one thing that the Parachute Regiment teaches you, it’s that you can push yourself much further than you think. And we’re not getting any younger, so it’s now or never!
Under our team name ‘Grandads of the Atlantic’ (think Pirates of the Caribbean on a pension), we have entered the 2018 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. ‘The world’s toughest rowing race’ is a 3,000-mile challenge from the Canary Islands to Antigua. There are no ‘stopovers’. We will spend up to 50 days alone at sea, rowing for 24-hours a day in two hour shifts. We will be totally self-sufficient, using freeze dried food, a water-maker and solar panels.
Why do we want to do this…?
Perhaps it’s because we both recently turned sixty – classic ‘mid-life crisis’ syndrome, but just don’t feel ready to rush out and buy slippers…. More importantly, this is our chance to do something BIG for worthy causes close to our hearts, including a wonderful little children’s Dreams Come True who make magical things happen for children living with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. Their work is truly inspiring and having been able to fulfil so many of our own dreams, we really wanted to help make some special dreams come true for others.
How’s it going so far?
We committed to this challenge last August and already we have been the biggest learning curve imaginable – and we’re not even on the water yet. We were warned by ‘those in the know’ that rowing the Atlantic would be the easy bit compared to the massive uphill challenge of actually getting to the start line. They weren’t kidding!
Apart from the hours of physical training, there’s also navigation courses, sea survival courses and first aid to get our head around. Then there’s raising enough sponsorship to fund it – specialist ocean rowing boats don’t come cheap and the entire expedition costs in the region of £125k. Our life is currently consumed with sponsorship proposals, websites, events, social media, press interviews and now a blog… it’s a big leap for two quiet, camera-shy, social media novices who have only just learnt what emojis are… :)
We urgently need to raise awareness of our challenge, so you can really help us by spreading the word. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and please sign up to our new blog. Share our posts, tell your friends… tell everyone about two crazy old Grandads who are proving that age is all in the mind!
See you on the water!