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Reuters News, Boston

Epileptic Briton sets off to row the Pacific

 
LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - An epileptic Briton travelled to Peru on Wednesday ahead of an attempt to single-handedly row across the Pacific Ocean, undeterred by a first effort that ended in disaster.

Andrew Halsey, from Camden, will set off later this month from Calleo Lima, the Peruvian capital, to row 9,500 miles across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia.

He said there was a good chance that the pressure of all the preparation might bring on an epileptic fit during the first week of his voyage but was not worried.

"I always keep myself strapped in the boat," he told reporters. "I've also found that my seizures decrease by about 80 percent when I'm at sea."

On his first crossing attempt, in 1999, the 43 year-old spent 267 days at sea, enduring four hurricanes, equipment failure and severe thirst and hunger before a Korean cargo ship eventually rescued him.

"That was the worst experience of my life," he said. "But this gives me the chance to put it right."

Halsey, who is raising money for the National Society of Epilepsy, hopes to reach Sydney within seven months, covering around 30 miles a day in his state-of-the-art, purpose built boat the "Le Shark Brittany Rose"

"I may not be as fit as last time but I believe these types of trips are about what's between your ears and in your heart. So I'm relishing the challenge," he said.

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