After 11 weeks of frustration and countless television interviews, Basingstoke adventurer Captain Ketch has finally set off on his mission to row across the Indian Ocean in world record time.
James Ketchell and rowing partner Ashley Wilson are currently 200 miles into their 3,600-mile quest – having left Geraldton in Australia last Friday.
The man dubbed Captain Ketch is hoping to reach Port Louis in Mauritius in under 86 days, while raising funds for charity at the same time.
And speaking from the boat via satellite phone this morning, he told the Observer that he and Ash were still confident of smashing the world record, despite the elements appearing to be against them.
He said: “It’s been a slow, frustrating start and we’ve had a few issues with strong winds and storms, but we’re confident that we can get through it.
“That’s the thing with rowing – you never know what’s around the corner, but all is good with us so far.”
A mixture of bad weather and boat malfunctions has ensured that the challenge launch has had to be postponed at the eleventh hour no less than three times.
The delay has resulted in the duo becoming Australian celebrities in the process, due to the size of the task and the fact that Ash suffers from epilepsy and has seizures at least once a week.
And having already come into close contact with both a great white shark and several dolphins – as well as spotting a humpback whale breach the water – Captain Ketch admitted to being hugely relieved to have finally got going.
He added: “We’ve only been going for five days so it’s difficult to judge how I feel so far and how hard it’s been, but ask me in 50 more and I’m sure I’ll have some very strong things to say!
“We’ve already seen some incredible sights, but I think it’s one of those things we’ll both really enjoy when we’re looking back in the days afterwards.”
The rowing pair are raising money for the Elifar Foundation, The Scout Association and Young Epilepsy.
To donate or to follow Captain Ketch’s journey, visit nothings-impossible.co.uk