Update: Atlantic rowers going strong after almost a day at sea

Edinburgh and Bristol students Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks are on a quest to become the youngest duo ever to row across the Atlantic.

The first day has been a good one for “2 Boys in a Boat” Luke and Jamie who are aiming to become the youngest pairing ever to row across the Atlantic.

The two daring students pushed off at 1330 yesterday with the other 15 teams taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

It was a strong start for the student pair who found themselves the early leaders in the competition.

They’ve since slipped back to 13th but with the vast majority of the 3,000 nautical miles still ahead of them there’s still time for the seafarers to move up the field.

You can use the challenge’s official race tracker to follow the boys’ progress live.

They left yesterday from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and are heading straight across the Atlantic to the tropical paradise of Antigua, a journey they hope to complete in 50 days.

The moment the boys left land behind to head across the ocean.

The Tab has sponsored the pair, who are raising money for breast cancer care, and you can too, by visiting their website.

The students pictures during their final preparations for the off.

They’ve already put in a punishing 450 days of preparation ahead of pushing off with their brutal training regime including 140kg squats and 100kg bench presses.

Sixteen crews, seen here preparing for the start, are taking part in the 3,000 nautical mile race.

Whilst at sea the 2 man crew are expecting to burn an astounding 10,000 calories a day and in total lose 2 stone in weight.

The rules of the competition state that their boat is not allowed to be resupplied meaning the lads will be living off dehydrated food, fruit pastilles and tinned peaches for the duration of the gruelling race.

Helicopters like this one are only allowed for taking film and photographs.

It’s not weight loss they’re most scared of though, the boys have each put on 25kg in the build-up to the race and are more worried about chafing – the major reason why they’ll be rowing in the nude.

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.

A strong start from the students saw them lead after the first 3.5 hours.

“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.”

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