TAXI spoke to two of the cabbies in Lanzarote before their mammoth fundraising challenge began.
On 3 January 2023, three London cab drivers – Daren, Stuart and Bob – set off to row the Atlantic to raise funds for The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, the Stroke Association and a Tanzanian Orphanage.
Let’s start with the obvious, apart from fundraising for these great causes, why on earth would you want to row across an ocean?
Daren: I obviously don’t look like an ocean rower, I probably look more like a beer drinker. I try to keep myself fit and go to the gym, but I do like a beer at the weekend. As well as the sense of adventure and the bulldog spirit within me, when people who hear that I am going to row the Atlantic and look at me in disbelief, it makes me more determined than ever to prove them wrong.
Stuart: To be honest, I don’t know why I’m here! But I don’t have much choice now! Seriously though, after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro I was asked to do this and I thought, why not? I am always up for a challenge and they don’t come much bigger.
What do you expect the highlights to be?
Daren: We all hope there will be lots. For me, I am hoping that being part of a great team will be a major one. I know they will have my back if I feel down and will help me to regain my mojo. Our motto is ‘deeds not words’ and having your mates behind you will be huge during this challenge.
Stuart: I’m turning 50 during the row and isn’t that a hell of a way to celebrate your half-century? I think the other highlights will include seeing whales and dolphins, enjoying banter with Daren and Bob, and finally getting back on land after the constant swaying of the boat.
What do you think the hardest part will be?
Daren: This is the world’s toughest row and we are under no illusions and know it's going to be difficult. It will really put your body through the mill and we will all have aches, pains and blisters. But when we reach the midpoint, I’m planning to celebrate with a nip of Scotch and a cigar.
Stuart: I think I am quite strong mentally, but you just never know what the Atlantic might do to us. There will probably be days when we each break down but I think we are all strong enough and know each other well enough to see the signs and support each other through the low times. I just hope we don’t crack together! Physically, we know to expect blisters and a sore bum and feet. The first week will probably be awful and I will no doubt be questioning why I am doing this.
What will you miss the most from home?
Daren: Apart from friends and family whose support has been incredible, the answer is pretty simple: my wife’s cooking! The food we will eat on the row will never touch what my wife can cook or my favourite dish of pie and mash.
Stuart: I will miss all those things that we take for granted, especially my family and friends. I’ll also miss going to work. I love working as a cab driver and meeting lots of different people. I’m sure that being in a confined space with two guys for two months will not be easy. I’m in no doubt that they will probably bore me to tears and then of course there will be Bob’s awful jokes and music to endure! I’m also going to struggle with the food. I am a fussy eater and dehydrated food isn’t the best.
What advice would you give to those considering rowing the Atlantic?
Daren: The best advice I can give is to allow yourself enough time to get ready. We had to work on our fitness levels and learn to row, but the most time consuming bit was getting support to cover the huge costs to do this challenge. We only had eight months and it wasn’t enough! At the moment, we still haven’t secured the money to get the boat back from Antigua so hope that during the two months we are rowing, people will consider donating to our Go Fund Me or directly to the amazing charities we are doing this for.
Stuart: It’s hard to give advice at this stage, as we haven’t done it yet so perhaps ask me when we reach Antigua!
At the time of going to press, Daren, Bob and Stuart had rowed 1,270 nautical miles, leaving them with 1,621 nautical miles still to go, to reach Antigua. Follow their progress on the YB Races App, by searching for 'C Map Atlantic Dash 2023'.