Atlantic Challenge team celebrate Christmas with tinned ham, wafers and piccalilli

This Is Lancashire: Finn Christo in action in the Atlantic Finn Christo in action in the Atlantic

THE Bolton Atlantic Challenge team downed their oars during the world’s toughest race — to celebrate Christmas, with a feast of tinned ham, wafers and piccalilli.

The four-man team have been out at sea for almost a month, and are nearly halfway through their gruelling challenge to row across the Atlantic ocean to raise money for the Bolton Lads and Girls Clubs.

Mark Brocklehurst, aged 52, Matt Nuttall, aged 44, Nick Griffiths, aged 42 and Finn Christo, aged 32, have rowed 1,065 miles of the 3,000 mile competition so far and are currently in seventh place.

Speaking via satellite phone from the boat, Mr Brocklehurst said this year was a Christmas to remember — but the lads greatly miss their families back in Bolton.

He said: “Christmas was interesting. We stopped rowing and enjoyed a big tin of cured ham, wafers and piccalilli, which was absolutely delicious, followed by a bite of Christmas pudding.

“There were Christmas cards from our wives and partners, and Nick’s wife had snuck a little present into the boat — she wasn’t suppose to because of the weight — so we had quizzes and games, which was good fun.

“At the end a big wave hit the boat and cleaned up everything for us, which put a bit of a dampener on things.

“Without our families and friends Christmas was horrible.

“They have been fantastic and so supportive.

“We’ve gone from one phone call home a week to two calls — they want to know what’s going on with us, even though it’s just rowing, and we want to know what’s going on at home.”

Mr Brocklehurst added the rowers’ plan is to raise a glass to their supporters back in Bolton tonight.

He said: “We’ve got a small bottle of wine, which will make a little tipple for us.

“We’re two hours behind, as we’ve changed time zones, but we are going to keep to British time.”

Mr Brocklehurst estimates that the team will reach dry land some time between January 23 and January 25.

You can keep track of their progress in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge by visiting taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/

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