A TEAM of four rowers from the Isle of Purbeck are taking on the challenge of a lifetime with plans to row across the Atlantic ocean next year.

Fourtitude 2013, an apt team name for the hardy four, will take part in the 3,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race from San Sebastian, La Gomera to English Harbour, Antigua next December. And they want to do it in less than 40 days.

This feat of strength and endurance will be completely unassisted, meaning they must carry all their equipment, from medical supplies to emergency rafts and navigation gear, with them on board – along with 8,000 calories a day for four people – to last 80 days. All this on board a boat measuring less than 10m by 2m where they will be eating, sleeping, rowing and washing.

The team are 21-year-old student Max Burridge and his 19-year-old apprentice tree surgeon brother Ted, from Swanage, Tom Lavin, 17, a student from Wareham, and design engineer James ‘Skip’ Graham from Swanage, who is 35.

All four learned their rowing skills with Swanage Sea Rowing Club in Cornish pilot gigs and have raced all over the West Country hardening their muscles and callouses to make them fit for the task.

But their efforts don’t start and end with the rowing endeavour. They have an epic fundraising challenge too with a target of £150,000 which will include some £80,000 for kit – including around £40,000 for a second hand boat – as well as a hefty chunk of fundraising for their chosen causes.

“It’s a lot of money to raise,” said Skip. “One of the biggest parts of this is just getting to the start line – the rowing will seem easy by comparison – or maybe not!”

He added: “It’s an internal drive we have I guess to do something that might be a little bit crazy – but it’s amazing as well.”

The team, all passionate about their sport, want to promote young people in sport and ‘do their bit’ to sustain the Olympic legacy. As such they are raising funds for Swanage Sea Rowing Club and the Joanna Brown Trust, which encourages people to be involved with and excel in sport.

They already have local sponsors Chococo, Lush Cosmetics and the Mulberry Tree Gallery, but are looking for support, sponsorship and donations big or small.

“This is a close knit community,” added Skip. “If we can muster our support from the local community and Dorset that would really please us a lot.”

Get behind the team at their next fundraiser at the Commercial Road traders Christmas market today when they will be hard at it on a rowing machine.

Find out more at fourtitude2013.com