A FOUR-MAN crew is due to row 3,200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean onboard boats built by a Christchurch boatyard.

The group, which operate under the name Monkey Fist Adventures and includes pro skateboarder and TV daredevil Matthew Pritchard, will be embarking on their ‘Atlantic Dash’ from Lanzarote to Antigua in January 2021.

The foursome, which also includes blogger Johnny Ward and sailor Martin Heseltine, will be led by 48-year-old shipper Billy Taylor who has previously rowed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and mental health charities.

He said: “It’s an independent crossing so we do not have any support boats. When we leave, we are by ourselves.

“A lot of the time, the closest people to us will be the people in the international space station.

“We will be rowing in pairs in two hour shifts and then rest for two hours so most of the time we will be working on 90 minutes sleep at a time as in that two-hour break, you need to eat and do any medical attention you may need.

“We’ll be taking around 1.08 million calories with us as all of us will need to eat around 6,000 calories a day.”

The quartet, who will be completing their challenge aboard vessels built by Avon Marina in Christchurch, will be raising money for men’s mental health charity Humen and the Dean Farm Trust.

Avon Marina took over from former Rossiter’s boatyard in November last year, five months before the pandemic took hold.

Marina manager Alexis Smith said: “We are still using the traditional methods used by Rossiter’s, as they are a well-known name in the industry, but we are also bringing in a bit of the new as well.

“Well seeing as though I only took over the business in November, we thought, back in April, that my job was on the line.

“But actually, because of Covid-19, it has had the adverse effect because people aren’t going on holidays.”

After Alexis and his team at Avon Marina put the final touches on the boats to be used by Monkey Fist Adventures, they say they already have a few more boats to make for other ocean crossings to be completed in 2021.

Mr Smith added: “Before we first agreed to making these types of boats, I thought ‘is it really worth it’ but the following we have had since has been quite extraordinary.

“We have another couple of boats in the pipeline which is great because it makes it an active boatyard and brings something else to the table.”