Vessel that braved Atlantic storms to win charity challenge to be auctioned off

Wandsworth Guardian: Will North and Dan Howie with their beloved Blue Steel Will North and Dan Howie with their beloved Blue Steel

Blue Steel, the trusty vessel that carried a pair of rowers through brutal storms 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to glory, will be sold off for charity.

Will North, of Battersea and Dan Howie from Wandsworth Common were victorious in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a gruelling 53 day slog from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua, earlier this year.

The sea-faring fundraisers scaled enormous waves and were battered by storms, to raise money for Cancer Resarch UK and Leukemia and Lymphoma Research.

The rowers were also fundraising for a Ugandan school set up by one of their friend’s.

They managed to raise around £120,000, but to meet their £200,000 target, they are now selling ‘Blue Steel’ named after one of Ben Stiller’s infamous poses in the hit comedy Zoolander.

The two friends hope to raise £32,500 for the carbon fibre vessel, which sheltered them from huge ocean storms, some of the biggest race organisers had ever seen.

Forced to hide in their boat until the winds had died down, the pair were left praying Blue Steel’s frame could withstand the beating.

Mr North, said: "It was a tough experience a lot of the time.

"The storms were awful, you can’t row during them so you just have to get down into the cabin.

"You have to accept there is nothing you can do about it, and just get through it."

The 28-year-old, who works as a headhunter, said: "Getting to the finish line and seeing our families was a wonderful feeling.

"That, and raising all the money for charity made the whole thing worth it."

He said the highlight of their arduous challenge was rowing alongside a pod of Fin Whales.

To make a donation to Will and Dan’s cause visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/AtlanticRow2013

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