TWO FRIENDS from Idle have set themselves the ultimate challenge - rowing across the Atlantic.

And the self-confessed landlubbers are not letting the fact they have never rowed nor had any nautical knowledge stand in their way as they aim to win their class of the race.

In fact Chris Nicholl, 35, and James Tordoff, 31, say a lack of previous experience should not hold them back as they prepare to row 3,000 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean in the next Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in December.

Chris said: "We hope to inspire others, from any walk of life. If you try, you can do it. We want people to get behind us and be part of it.

"We're doing it for Bradford. We hope to inspire people to take on their own challenge."

The 'Hell Oar High Water' duo have spent the last three years preparing and are now doubling up their efforts to get even fitter, collect sponsorship and gather corporate partners in their bid to raise £150,000 for charity.

James said they came up with the idea of competing after watching a documentary on the challenge while flying to Canada for a mountain bike adventure.

Chris added: "It's a chance to learn new things. We've done our qualifications and there are certain guidelines we've had to get like first aid at sea.

"We said there was no reason why we couldn't learn it. It's been hard work but we've been at it for a few years."

They said they had talked to some of those who had taken part in previous transatlantic races and had been told that every race is different.

Chris said: "We don't know what we are going to be up against so we are preparing for every aspect and to make sure we can do something as second nature.

"Something will happen, everything will break."

They says their families are right behind them - James's wife Sophie and Chris's partner Becky were "shocked" to hear of their plans but they are now part of the team and, Chris says, are "giving us time to do what we need to do".

Rowing the Atlantic does not need a normal technique, they say, but is much more physical so to build up their strength they are going to JD Gyms in Manningham Lane six days a week. They will put their muscles to the test next month when they take their boat Persistence - Percy for short - on its first voyage, heading down to its makers in Essex along the east coast to get a water filter fitted.

They are both outdoorsy and have run the Yorkshire Three Peaks and competed in Tough Mudders among their fitness regime but James said the event will be as much a mental challenge as a physical one.

Chris and James, who went to Hanson School in Swain House Road and played for Bolton Woods Football Club in a Sunday league team, said they chose three charities - Centrepoint, BRI's neonatal unit and automotive charity Ben - which were close to their hearts and which would help Bradford people.

Chris, a graphic designer, chose Centrepoint because they do great work in the city and he experienced being homeless when he left home at 17.

James said he had a nephew and cousins born prematurely which is why he had chosen BRI's neo-natal unit. And as a Vauxhall salesman for JCT, he was also well aware of the work of automotive charity Ben, which supports people from the motor trade, as their third charity.

For more details and to sponsor the team go to