Meet the brave students rowing the Atlantic…in the nude

Edinburgh and Bristol students Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks are bidding to become the youngest people to row the Atlantic, in a 50 day gruelling challenge.

2 boys in a boat jamie sparks luke birch row the atlantic talisker

Two maverick students are set to become the youngest team to ever row across the Atlantic – and they’re doing it in the nude.

Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks, studying at Edinburgh and Bristol respectively, will make the gruelling 50 day trip from the Canary Islands to the Carribean in a bid to raise £100,000 for charity.

Nude...The boys won't even have underwear for their crossing.

Nude…The boys won’t even have underwear for their crossing.

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And because of the chafing caused by salt water and clothes, the 21-year-old pair – who The Tab is sponsoring – will be completely naked for the entire trip.

Third year anthropology student Jamie told The Tab: “We’ll be getting wet all the time and when water dries, that leaves salt on you. And that will chafe.

“We need the boat running all the time, so there’s no stopping. There are no rescue boats, and older solo rowers have died doing the race.”

He added: “It’ll be an emotional rollercoaster. There will be tears and blood, and we will feel the lowest and highest anyone can feel.”

Gruelling...Jamie and Luke will lose half a kg every day

Gruelling…Jamie and Luke will lose half a kg every day

The brave duo will take turns to row for two hour shifts, not stopping once, and burning a massive 10,000 calories a day. They have gained 25 kg each to complete the race, living off a huge daily diet of cheese, eggs, pasta and steak.

They have been lifting 140 kg squats and 100 kg bench presses, although they expect those weights to increase closer to the race, which begins in December.

Mates...The pair have been friends for 15 years.

Mates…The pair have been friends for 15 years.

Treacherous...More people have been into space than rowed the Atlantic

Treacherous…More people have been into space than rowed the Atlantic

Once they begin the trip, which is part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, they will live off dehydrated food, fruit pastilles and tinned peaches.

Their tiny boat has just one minute ‘cabin’ for shelter and rest, and everything they need has to be carried with them on the boat.

Luke, a mullet-sporting geographer who swam the channel three years ago, said: “More people have gone into space or climbed Everest. A lot of people think we are like foolhardy modern day cowboys and it could seem like that but we know the ocean well.”

Jamie and Luke are raising money for Breast Cancer Care. You can sponsor them on their website. Stay tuned for more updates on The Tab.


The 5000 calorie day: Jamie and Luke’s eating regime

Breakfast – 6 scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast with butter and a Whey Protein Shake (MyProtein brand)

11am – Either two grilled salmon fillets or two Chicken fillets with around a quarter mug of rice (Soya Sauce reduces the unpleasant taste)

Lunch – Fillet of Beef or fish with potatoes and greens (Broccoli, beans or lentils)

2pm and Pre-workout – Shake of BCAA and Creatine Monohydrate

During Workout – Recovery XS Shake

Post Workout – Blend Whey Protein with two Bananas, any berries and milk

6pm – Turkey Breast with Pasta (usually with pesto or Carbonarra)

9pm – Greek yogurt with scoop of whey protein and honey.

Before bed – Any snack from the fridge.