It’s Syd­ney to Auck­land oar bust

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Some might say it’s crazy to try to row the 2100 kilo­me­tres be­tween the Syd­ney and Auck­land har­bour bridges.

But that’s ex­actly what Three Kings res­i­dent Nigel Cher­rie plans to do in March next year, along with team­mates An­drew McCowan and Martin Berka.

And he’ll have an ex­pe­ri­enced guide to help the team along the way, with for­mer trans-At­lantic row­ing cham­pion Rob Hamill as cam­paign di­rec­tor.

“I read Rob’s book and thought, ‘Oh yeah that would be fun’. I en­joy sport for the ad­ven­ture rather than the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Af­ter a se­ries of phone calls be­tween the pair, Hamill agreed to come on board and Cher­rie says it’s been smooth sail­ing ever since.

“He knows how to put the whole thing to­gether and make it work.”

The trio will be the first New Zealand team to make the trip, al­though Kiwi Colin Quincy man­aged the feat solo in 1976, and an Aus­tralian crew were the first team to com­plete the voy­age in 2007.

Cher­rie, 32, says the team is putting plenty of time into pre­par­ing men­tally and phys­i­cally for the three to five weeks they will be away.

“You’ve got to make sure every­one gets on re­ally well. You don’t want a punch-up in the mid­dle of the ocean.”

Weights ses­sions and row­ing 80km to 100km a week at the gym are also es­sen­tial.

“It’s not just a case of get­ting in the boat – it’s all part of a process.”

The team first con­sid­ered tak­ing on the trans-At­lantic row­ing race that Hamill won in 1997 with Phil Stubbs.

But a price-tag of around $500,000 soon caused Cher­rie to re­think their strat­egy, with the $200,000 trans-Tas­man chal­lenge a more re­al­is­tic op­tion.

Hamill says there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of get­ting fi­nance to­gether, but he is happy to lend his ex­per­tise.

“There are peo­ple who have as­pi­ra­tions that don’t take any action and there are those who do some­thing about it.

“Nigel’s worked hard so why not help if peo­ple are pre­pared to help them­selves.”

And he says the last few kilo­me­tres of the race will al­low the pub­lic to get in their boats to wel­come the team home.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the cam­paign visit www. bridgeto­bridge.co.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Ready to row: Three Kings res­i­dent Nigel Cher­rie is in train­ing for an at­tempt at row­ing be­tween the Syd­ney and Auck­land har­bour bridges in March next year.

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