THIS is the boat four brave men will row across the Atlantic in the ultimate charity challenge.
Crowds gathered to witness the unveiling and naming of the boat, which will be used in the Atlantic Challenge to raise £250,000 for Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
Matt Nuttall, Mark Brocklehurst, Finn Christo and Nick Griffiths will set off on Monday, December 2, from the Spanish port of San Sebastian de la Gomera and follow the route across the mid-Atlantic to Antigua in the Carribean.
And they will do so in the new ao.com boat, which was unveiled by the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Cllr Colin Shaw and his wife Dee, at the company’s base in Middlebrook.
One of the rowers, Finn Christo, aged 34, from Horwich, from ao.com in Middlebrook, said: “We are all very nervous, but also really excited to get going.
“For the past two years we have been training at any spare chance we have. So far we have raised £140,000 and we are really thankful to the people of Bolton for all their support.”
The money raised will be used to support the youth club’s junior mentoring project, which offers one-to-one mentoring support for youngsters aged eight to 12.
Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave has also offered support to the rowers and sent a letter which was read out by Ao.com director Bill Holroyd.
It said: “Best wishes for this once in a lifetime journey — there will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears but keep your goals to the front of your mind.”
One rowers team, Matt Nuttall, aged 44, from Lostock, has had to cram in a lot of training in a short time, having only signed up for the challenge three months ago.
He said: “I wasn’t in the original team, but one of the lads had to pull out because of family commitments, so I stepped in. It’s something I have wanted to do for 20 years, but I have had to do some really intense training.”
The boat, sponsored by ao.com, was officially named by the mayor, who had some final words for the rowers. He said: “To the sea, to the sailors before us and to the Ao.com boat — God speed.”
Matt Tomkin was forced to pull out because of family commitments.
Vincent Kelly, aged 50, from Lostock, who died in the Nepal air crash last year, was due to take part in the challenge.