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RAF team begin tough Atlantic Ocean race

Today a team of RAF personnel from 216 Squadron and 47 Squadron began the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a rowing race from San Sebastián de la Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. Atlantic Forces team member, Howard Raw, tells us more about the challenge and why his team wanted to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a mammoth challenge to say the least. The race, which is around 3,000 miles, has 16 teams competing including ours. We are in the 4's category and are the only mixed sex team.

Atlantic Forces teamMy other team mates are Jane McIntosh, our team's skipper, Warren Burns and Elizabeth Herbert. The trip can take anywhere between 40 and 80 days to complete and we are aiming to complete it within 50 days.

I was invited to join the team when a previous member dropped out. I represent the RAF and RAF Brize Norton in rowing which is how I know Jane; she's the captain and coach of the RAF Brize Norton rowing club.

We will be rowing for one hour cycles during the day and two hours at night. We're already expecting to come across a variety issues during the race such as getting blisters and salt sores caused by constantly being wet. I've heard some interesting stories too about previous races where whales have knocked rudders off boats and sharks have jumped into a boat in the dead of night; not something I'm looking forward to!

We chose to support the RAF Benevolent Fund because of all the hard work the charity does for current and ex-members of the Royal Air Force and their loved ones – something we really appreciate. We're also supporting Action for Children and the Alzheimer's Society.

By Howard Raw

If you would like to sponsor the Atlantic Forces team, please visit their Virgin Money Giving page. You can also find out more about the team and their challenge by visiting their website:

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