I have a challenge for you. Next time you’re in the gym, puffing away on the rowing machine, try and get the big number in the middle of the screen to read 1:51. Sounds easy yes? For all the rugby players, lacrosse lads, hockey lasses, netball chicks or indeed anyone who claims to be of a sporting nature, this does not seem like a difficult challenge. You might pull it down to 1:30 or even lower. You might even break a sweat (don’t worry girls no one’s watching). Well, in a nutshell that’s what Newcastle University Boat Club is doing. Except we’re doing it for 15 hours 30 minutes. Continuously. On the sea.
An explanation: we have decided to race a DFDS Seaways ferry across the North Sea to the Dutch capital of culture, Amsterdam. 16 men good and true will set off from Port of Tyne at 5pm on Friday 6th November. We will have two rowing machines linked together and we will attempt to row the 496 kilometres quicker than the ferry can sail it. Suddenly sounds a bit trickier, huh? We have calculated, re calculated and re re calculated all the figures and can’t seem to find an angle from which it looks easy. It will be a full on sprint, no time for rest or relaxation, the sort of split times that most averagely fit people do for one minute we are trying to do 16 hours. If James Cracknell and Ben Fogle were doing it, it would be headline stuff, breaking news and read all about it.
A simple question, why bother? Why put ourselves through this gruelling challenge to get somewhere that Easy Jet could take us for under £20? It’s not just because we want to prove that we’re harder than the rugby team. It’s our prime fundraiser for the year. A boat club costs a small fortune to run. Our boat costs, running costs and equipment, cost more than any other club. Students with small fortunes are surprisingly hard to come by so we have to do as much as we can to subsidise the costs. This epic challenge is our main fundraiser this year and we’re trying to raise £10,000 to run our club. In return for any generous offers from the AU, University and the general public we will win you loads of BUCS points, help our university to stay in the top ten in terms of sporting excellence and try our hardest to beat Durham and the Poly at absolutely everything. Any donations that you can come up with would be greatly appreciated, cheques, cash, coins and grants, anything you can come up with. You’ll see us out collecting outside the union, just look for massive athletes who look like they can’t catch. Cheques can be made payable to NUAU and any donation, no matter how great or small, would be very well recei