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 Atlantic Challenge

 Issue 96 - March 1997


Atlantic Rowing Challenge

Ex-marine Nicoll joins Wishart in his toughest sporting endeavour

From Mike Rosewell.

Duncan Nicoll, former British heavyweight single sculling champion, will partner Jock Wishart in the 'Mount Gay Rum Runner' in the Atlantic race. Nicoll's taste for adventure was fuelled by six years in the Royal Marines, where training regimes 'even worse and more formidable in reality than you hear about', primed him for greater adventure.

'Nobody earns a green beret the easy way. The so-called glamour of the green beret is a far cry from actually earning one.'
Nicoll is able to recount some terrifying life or death situations, but does not underestimate the fearsome conditions facing the crews in the Atlanta crossing. The new acquaintance with Jock Wishart introduces many factors of compatibility to be discovered by both men in the year ahead. Nicoll came through from a final shortlist of eight candidates. Results from psychological tests, usually very accurate, indicate a promising match. After months of searching for a crew partner, Wishart finally decided on Nicoll only in January of this year. Nicoll had himself signed up for the race, but had been unable to secure sponsorship for the two-and-a-half-month project.

Nicoll, 30, from Henley-on-Thames, regards the challenge as the most exciting peak of his sporting achievement. His passion for rowing commenced at the age of nine, and his commitment to winning Chay Blyth's race has now been a prime motivation for over two years. Balancing a high powered managerial sales career with rigorous training, Nicoll commences his day with training at 5.30am and continues after work, not finishing until 10.30pm. Although already looking forward to the welcome party surrounded by 10,000 barrels of glorious rum at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery in Barbados, Nicoll is realistic in his more immediate concerns:

'Having the will to keep going in mid-ocean is our main worry. With the danger of physical damage to our hands and backs, we will need to keep reminding ourselves again and again of every single good reason for making it to Barbados.'

© Copyright M. Rosewell, 1997.

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