Martin is a business investor, who is father to two boys. He lives in East Sheen, London.
Hamish (who is also part of the team) and I were at Cranfield School of Management and with two other friends decided that when we finished our MBA in 1999 we would do the Atlantic Challenge in 2001. At that time you had to build the boat yourself from a kit they sent you, but unfortunately the organisers didn’t get around to designing a boat for four people in time, so it didn’t happen. After that every one moved on with marriage and kids etc. I met my wife in 2006 and told her I had always wanted to do the challenge. She said you can forget about that and so I put the idea to bed. So when we separated, in true Blues Brothers style, I set about putting the band back together and phoned the original four. Only Hamish from the originals was able to sign up, so I set about finding two others to take part. The journey to finding two other crew mates has been full of twists and turns. We had two people confirmed as part of the team pull out, as it is some undertaking and the stars have to be aligned even for you to get to the start line. Crew need four things to start contemplating this event: a job that says yes, a partner that says yes, some cash and a team of four that will get on well. In February this year we finally confirmed the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers team. Hamish and I have been friends for years but I didn’t know Guy before this, so this challenge is going to be one hell of a bonding session!
I am an inherent show off and this event will undoubtedly give the me the material I need to show off and bore on for many decades! My main driver is of course getting behind the charity and encouraging more people to register as blood stem cell donors. I knew of Yaser (founder of the Team Margot Foundation) through my boys’ school and when Margot was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2013 I called him up and asked what I could do to help. I helped organise a media campaign as a catalyst to get people to register. Ever since then we have had a bromance going on and it is great to be able to support his family and other people facing this predicament. I am registered as a blood stem cell donor - it is very simple and painless to do and I can’t wait to save a life if needed. The whole thing takes five minutes. I have fainted having a flu jab, in the dentist and have to give blood laying down and with the kids’ pain relief ointment on my arm – but as one of the hardest men in East Sheen even I could do it! What I find so frustrating is that it isn’t an opt out thing, you have to opt into the register. Of all of the medical cures available, the person with the potential to save a life could be sitting next to you on the Tube. It is so frustrating that people don’t know how easy it is to make a huge difference.
This will be the hardest thing I have ever done by miles. I have done the 2008 Celtic Challenge – rowing 95 miles from Ireland to Wales. Two other attempts have been thwarted by conditions. I also run the rowing team at my boys’ school for Team Margot and we are aiming to do the Celtic Challenge this May.
I’m speaking to people who have done the challenge before, including my trainer. I’m having lessons with a rowing coach, doing practice rows on the Thames, personal training, cycling, and weights. Over the last four years I have chipped my ankle, had two toe operations, broken a wrist and had a hip replacement, so I’m quite behind the pace with my fitness. When I had my hip replacement last March my consultant erred on the side of caution and slightly oversized my hip socket to reduce the chances of it dislocating while at sea. My strategy in times of hardship will be to tease the others when things go wrong. We are four guys who don’t know each other particularly well. So it’s very important, not just as a rowing team, that we get along together. Time in the pub is never wasted in this regard! I went to the start of the race last year in La Gomera in the Canary Islands. It was really useful to see how the boats were set up and things teams have done and also helped to work out what to take and what not to take.
Surfing down massive waves, going really fast and the last 100 metres to the finish line.
No booze, the lack of sleep, (as I’m a real grumpy bastard without it) and Hamish spooning me in the cabin. Also getting bored with the food. Food is very motivational and keeping up a good quality of food will be important. I also fear the water maker breaking or the batteries catching fire or getting washed overboard in a capsize. You are attached on a harness but it will still be really scary, particularly if that happens in the dark or unexpectedly. Also the periods of intense boredom and monotony. This will be really hard for someone like me who has a very short attention span.
Good sense of humour, can-do attitude, a catalyst to get things done and lots of bullshit!
My sons, TV, Deliveroo, The Plough pub in East Sheen, my family and having a bath – I’m a two baths a day man. I will crave a chicken tikka masala, saag aloo and keema naan.
I will miss my sons and family of course, but particularly overindulging at lunchtime on Christmas day.
A selection of rock, anything with guitar (I am an accomplished air-guitarist), some blues and chill out stuff for night-time. Anything head banging gets me going like Guns & Roses ‘Sweet Child of Mine’.
Nasal decongestant. I hate getting a blocked up nose.
It will be amazing to see our supporters in Antigua. I have been on holiday to Antigua before, but this experience is going to be very different. One of the first things I will be doing when back on dry land is having a pint of cider and a long bath.Back to the Crew
YOUR STEM CELLS CAN SAVE A LIFE.