Former Royal Marines Steve Sparkes and Mick Dawson set off on the challenge of a lifetime, competing in The Great Pacific Race, on Saturday, June 2.
Steve and Mick’s team of two – named ‘Cockleshell Endeavour’ – are attemting to row manually from Monterey, California, to Honolulu in Hawaii.
They will compete against six other teams from around the world.
A mammoth feat for anyone, the treacherous challenge will be made more so by the fact Steve is blind, apart from some peripheral vision of shapes and colours.
He told the Journal: “It is a 2,400-mile row across the Pacific Ocean, although with weather conditions it will probably be more like 3,000.
“The record for the race is 55 days, so we are aiming to break that.”
The ‘enormity’ of the challenge cannot be underestimated, with some teams having already dropped out, Steve said.
He added: “Naturally there is apprehension, especially the big swells and the difficulty in the first part of the race getting out of the bay.
“But I actually have more fears about the flight home! Of course, I’m looking forward to getting to Hawaii and dry land.”
Steve lost his sight in 1984 after a diving incident while serving in the Royal Marines, resulting in a medical discharge.
The initial ‘devastation’ of losing his sight and his career hit Steve hard and it was not until a decade later that he received proper support from Blind Veterans UK.