For immediate release at 10.15hrs on 7 June 2018
Rebecca@uniqueprandmarketing.co.uk / 07971 939644
Photos and video footage available on request
Interviews with Steve and Mick available LIVE from the Pacific – details on request
Former Royal Marine begins his attempt to be the first blind person to row the Pacific
At 18.00hrs local time on Wednesday 6th June, former Royal Marine Steve Sparkes (aged 57, from Devon) pushed off from Monterey, California, to begin the challenge of a lifetime as he attempts to become the first blind person ever to row the Pacific Ocean. He is partnered with record breaking ocean rower and fellow former Royal Marine Mick Dawson (aged 54, Brighton / Boston)
Dubbed the “World’s Ultimate Endurance Challenge” teams participating in the Great Pacific Race use only human power to cover 2,400 miles of open ocean from Monterey, California to Waikiki, Hawaii.
While the direct route is 2,400 miles, weather conditions and changing currents could see the duo row closer to 3,000 miles and take them between 50 and 90 days to complete. Throughout the challenge Steve and Mick will take it in turns to row the boat in a pattern of two hours rowing, two hours resting.
This row will be completely unaided so the pair are carrying their food and supplies, as well as equipment for turning seawater into fresh drinking water with them on their 21.5ft long, carbon fibre ocean rowing boat, nicknamed “Bojangles”. Bojangles has already crossed the Pacific once as it was the boat used by Mick Dawson when he entered the record books in 2009, alongside Chris Martin, as they became the first people to complete a 7,000 mile row across the North Pacific from Japan to San Francisco. They remain the only people to have ever successfully rowed this route.
Steve and Mick have been supported by a number of business financially to complete this event, including their title sponsor, Dragon Inc. Its digital currency Dragon Coin is set to transform the gambling industry across the globe, and its co-founders Paul Moynan is also a former Royal Marine
Steve’s blindness is due to a rare form of macular degeneration known as Stargardts. Steve has lost his sight completely apart from some peripheral vision of shapes and colours.
He was medically discharged from the Royal Marines at a time when there was little in the way of support in place for injured veterans. Ten years after his discharge Blind Veterans UK, then known as St Dunstans, tracked down Steve who was by then living in Malta. They flew him back to the UK and provided the first training and support to help Steve deal with his condition. Steve has worked consistently with and for Blind Veterans UK in the years since helping other veterans come to terms with their loss of sight.
It is because of this support that Steve and Mick are competing in the Great Pacific Race to raise money for Blind Veterans UK, and also The Royal Marines Charity, a charity which supports former and current Royal Marines and their families. The pair have already raised in excess of £6000 for the chairities, and are hoping to reach £10000 by the time they get to Hawaii.
To donate to the charities visit www.cockleshell-pacific.com or https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Cockleshell-pacific
On his bid to be the first blind person to row the Pacific, Steve Sparkes says:
“I am incredibly excited to be competing in the Great Pacific Race, and to be the first blind person to ever take on this epic adventure. I am determined to show that disability of any sort doesn’t need to hold you back. I am confident that with my determination and Mick’s vast experience of ocean rowing will result in a very successful crossing of the Pacific.”
Steve’s team mate, experienced ocean rower Mick Dawson says:
“I am really excited to be taking part in this epic challenge, alongside Steve and helping achieve him to a global first; becoming the first blind person to row the Pacific. It’s good to be reunited with “Bo” too, the boat that I used to first row the Pacific in 2009. I have no doubt that we will overcome all the challenges that lay ahead and will achieve our aim of rowing unaided across the Pacific.”
Paul Moynan, Co-Founder of Title Sponsor Dragon Inc, says:
“Being a former Royal Marine myself and knowing the sheer super human strengths both physically and mentally these guys have displayed in pervious challenges it comes as no surprise that they are raising the bar again on both a personal level and that of the world stage.
“Royal Marines have never been known to do things in moderation, anything in life worth doing is worth over doing, being highly adaptable, out of the box thinkers with the ability to overcome situations most would run from. Take Steve & Mike as great example of many of our brothers past and present stepping up to push beyond their own circumstance to show others that fear and limitations do not live within our family of service personnel, no matter what challenges we are faced with.”
Notes to editors
For Steve and Mick’s biogs, please visit www.cockleshell-pacific.com/meet-the-team
Dragon is a dedicated FinTech company that is fully committed to presenting a state of the art Blockchain payment solution. It is delivering evolutionary Blockchain technology by pairing it with the entertainment industry. Dragon Corp. has a robust corporate governance model that is both transparent and credible, Dragon is at the forefront of evolution within the entertainment sectors. https://drgtoken.io/