HE openly admits that he “didn’t at all enjoy” rowing when he first climbed into a boat.
But a Poole teenager is bidding to become half of the youngest pair to row across the Atlantic in one of the world’s toughest challenges.
Jay Olenicz, who grew up in Sandbanks, will join Guildford-born Callum Gathercole on the high seas next year for the 2015 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
The young men, both of whom attend Bristol University, could battle hurricanes, squalls and exhaustion spanning up to 90 days as they aim to complete the epic row.
Jay, a former Canford School pupil, said: “That’s the thing that really worries me.
“I’m not exactly confident about the idea of being stuck in a tiny boat in the middle of a huge storm. If they do come along, all you can do is lock yourself in the cabin and wait for it to be over.”
Jay and Callum, who will be 20 when they begin the row, aim to raise £250,000 in support of Bristol charity BRACE, which supports the Alzheimer’s Society, and the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, Surrey.
Their challenge will cover 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.
Jay said: “Our combined age when we begin will be 40.
“Previously, the youngest pair to do it had a combined age of around 50, so it will be a record.”
Both young men are competitive rowers already for their university, but Jay’s maritime adventures began in the sea, rather than on it.
“I used to swim competitively for clubs in Poole and Bournemouth, and I sailed at a national level,” he said.
“I only started rowing casually at about 13. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Then I came back to it in later years and it’s become a great passion.”
Jay and Callum’s boat will have enough space for just two people, and a cabin where a maximum of two can lie down to sleep.
They will eat freeze-dried food and use a bucket as a toilet.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Jay said.
“But we both just can’t wait to get started.”
For more information, visit website thewaterbabies.co.uk