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Two Brits to make row bid from Kalbarri

By Liza Kappelle

18 Feb 2003

TWO British men plan to row 4400 nautical miles from Australia almost to Africa in June - almost a year after a whale scuttled a bid by two countrymen to do so.

Mike Noel-Smith, 45, and Rob Abernethy, 30, will try to row in 50 days across the Indian Ocean from Kalbarri, 592km north of Perth, to Reunion Island.

They want to beat a 64 day record set by Sweden's Anders Svedlund for the 8,150km trip in 1971.

Last May, Simon Chalk, 29, from Devon, and Bill Greaves, 41, of Torquay made an attempt on Svedlund's record.

But their bid ended after only days when rescuers plucked them from the water after their boat hit a whale and sank.

The pair remained legendary in Kalbarri for preparing for their row in the town's bar with the aid of beer and cigarettes, a local police officer said.

Noel-Smith and Abernethy, whose record bid will raise funds for the Sport Aiding Medical Research for Kids (Sparks) charity, are ex-army personnel who were experts in motivational training and change management.

The pair would make their attempt from Kalbarri in June 2003, said Sparks.

It was unclear what kind of boat they would use.

Chalk and Greaves made their failed record bid in a specially designed 7.1 metre boat stocked with military-style rations and freeze dried food.

Their toilet was a bucket and they were to wash by swimming while attached to the boat by a rope.

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