A TOUGH teacher’s attempt to break the world record for rowing across the Atlantic is being hampered – by flying SQUID.
Andrew Berry, who taught at Ross High School, in Tranent, is part of a six-strong team attempting to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
The former soldier, 42, from Edinburgh, left Gran Canaria last week and is due to land in Barbados in February.
But the crew is being hampered in their search for glory by weather conditions, seasickness and the giant sea creatures.
Crew members are repeatedly being forced to stop rowing to throw the wriggly, tentacle sporting cephalopod back into the sea.
Freak waves keep washing them on board their small craft, the Titan – hampering the arduous record breaking attempt.
Andrew and his crew are looking to complete the marathon journey in less than 30 days, beating the current world record by two days.
To do so they need to eat a whopping 6500 calories each a day to keep their energy levels up. Men need 2500 calories a day normally on average. Each rower is expecting to lose three stone each as a result of the tough crossing.
Event organiser Gemma Campbell has been keeping up-to-date with the crew as they inch their way to Barbados at their muscle wasting 90-miles-a-day rate.
She said: “The team is currently on record-setting pace and should hopefully be landing in Barbados in the middle of February.
“But, it’s not all been plain sailing, as most of the guys have suffered from seasickness, with Andrew being particularly affected.
“But I think the biggest problem they have just now is that squid are being thrown into the boat by huge waves.
“They’re not that dangerous, but it’s an effort to get them back into the sea.
“We are all hopeful they can do it, and as the food begins to go down the boat will get lighter, meaning they should go faster in the second half.”
Apart from the personal glory, ex-Para Andrew’s efforts are also raising cash for the Help for Heroes charity.
Speaking before leaving, he said: “For training, I have done a lot on the rowing machine, but nothing major. You can’t prepare for something like this. The physical aspect is there for all to see, but more than anything, it’s mental.
“The harder it is, the more enjoyment you get out of it. If it’s worth going for, you want to really be put through the grinder to earn it. It’s about having to work for something.”
To achieve the remarkable feat, Andrew’s team must work in small groups to row 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sleeping for just an hour or two at times throughout the day.
Titan is only 30 feet long and six feet wide, and described as “the lightest and most advanced ocean rowing boat ever built”.
Sailing to victory
La Mondiale originally set the Atlantic east-to-west speed record in 1992, of 35 days, eight hours and 30 minutes.
This record was held until Leven Brown took La Mondiale out again in 2008 and set a new record of 33 days, seven hours and 30 minutes.
Two boats went after the record head-to-head in 2011. Hallin Marine snatched the record on February 7, 2011 with a time of 31 days, 23 hours and 31 minutes and an average speed of 3.342 knots from Tenerife to the West Indies.
The world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic from Morocco to the West Indies was also set in 2011 by a six-man crew aboard Sara G, with a crossing time of 33 days, 21 hours and 46 minutes.