THE ultimate high seas challenge starts this month for former Haslemere resident and King Edward’s Witley pupil, Justin Evelegh.

Justin and three friends – Blenheim heir the Marquess of Blandford and brothers Caspar and Toby Thorp – are rowing a small boat 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to fund a year’s worth of wishes for seriously ill children on behalf of Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The four-strong ‘awe-inspiring’ team of oarsmen are competing in The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Starting from San Sebastian, on La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, on Wednesday, December 12, en route to Antigua, they will row in pairs for 24 hours a day for up to 90 days, working two hours on and two hours off.

Justin and the team leave this week for the Canaries for further training before the 28 boats and 88 rowers from 14 countries set out.

The fastest time for the race by a team of four is 29 days, 14 hours and 34 minutes and the longest was 96 days.

They are competing against 15 other teams of four in their category.

Justin said: “We were looking for something that would take us out of our comfort zones and there is no doubt the Atlantic Ocean will put us to the ultimate test both mentally and physically.

“We have set the bar high and this is the biggest challenge any of us have faced.”

The 32-year-old is a qualified yachtsman but he and his friends are amateur rowers.

As well as having individual training, they have had personal training sessions with record holder Gus Barton twice a week, and have clocked up around 100 hours on the Solent over the past year.

In taking on the challenge, the quintet will follow in the footsteps of two Farnham men – Captain John Ridgway, who famously rowed unsupported across the Atlantic with Chay Blyth in 1966, and Rowledge dad-of-two Nick Rees.

The latter was rescued in the mid-Atlantic by a passing container ship after aborting an attempt to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge with friend Ed Curtis in 2013.

To donate to Justin Evelegh’s cause, visit