Leader comment: An epic battle with the Atlantic Ocean

Until fairly recently, more people had walked on the Moon than had managed to row solo from west to east across the Atlantic Ocean.

Duncan Hutchison built his own boat, named Sleipnir, in his shed in the village of Lochinver, Sutherland. (Picture: SWNS)

So when Duncan Hutchison, a 52-year-old former lifeboat volunteer from Lochinver, Sutherland, sets off from New York tomorrow – heading for home in a wooden boat he built himself – he will be attempting to join a rather select band.

Normally, cross-Atlantic rowers travel east to west because the prevailing winds and currents are more favourable. And some consider the Atlantic to be the second most dangerous ocean in the world, after the Indian.

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So the risks of the voyage – undertaken in aid of the charity Water Aid – should not be understated; his skills as a carpenter as well as a rower face a significant test.

In addition to the threat from storms and giant rogue waves, exhaustion will surely be a danger as he plans to row for 12 hours a day for an estimated 100 days.

However, looking on the bright side, in addition to making an epic journey of a lifetime, he will miss more than three months of the interminable debate about Brexit.