Rowers go 'commando' in Atlantic challenge

Oarsmen Nick Rowe and Al Howard, the crew of Team Gurkha Spirit, are to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in the buff.

They are raising funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and Sightsavers International, organisations dedicated to raising awareness of the plight and poverty of ex-Gurkha servicemen and their families and the suffering of thousands in the developing world who have lost the gift of sight through poor nutrition.

The Transatlantic Rowing Race 2005 is an unsupported, unassisted race across the Atlantic in 22-foot purpose built rowing boats. The race will start in La Gomera, Canary Islands on 27 November 2005 and finish approximately 3,000 miles later in Antigua.

The reason for the nakedness is purely practical. The combination of salt water and sun turns clothes into sandpaper – not a pleasant prospect for 90 days of rowing. They are sponsored by Palm, manufacturers of handheld computers.