The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records



By Tim Moynihan, PA News

A prisoner about to complete six years in jail for drugs offences is to
tackle one of the world's ultimate endurance challenges - rowing the
Atlantic. Paul Perchard, 35, emerges from La Moye prison in Jersey on
August 29 and has five and a half weeks for final training before the start
of the Ward Evans Atlantic Rowing Challenge. He is to partner his uncle,
Kerry Blandin, 51, in the boat Blandin Spirit of Jersey for the race from
Tenerife to Barbados, which starts on October 7.
The idea that they would form one of the 38 crews from 14 countries
confirmed so far for the event came from Mr Blandin, a flooring contractor
on Jersey. He was inspired by the fact that the last time the event was
held, four years ago, a French bouncer who had killed two people in a brawl
was taking part.
Mr Blandin said: "It struck me that if Paul took part in the race it would
help with his rehabilitation. He is a totally reformed character whose son
was born the year he went into prison. He just wants to leave jail and
start his life again. This will demonstrate that a man who was once into
drugs can perform such a feat of endurance, and show that life is not all
doom and gloom. He is in a heavy training regime in prison, is very fit and
I am confident we will complete the event - the rowing experience of a
lifetime - in about 60 days".
He does not expect they will win the race - the winners took only 41 days
last time. Perchard received a nine-year jail term and is being released
after six. He received one third remission for good behavior.
The governor of the prison, Keith Wheeler, told PA News: "I think it is
good that he is taking on this challenge. Hopefully he has made a break
with his previous lifestyle. I think he has got the psychological stamina
to be very effective and that with all the training he has done in here he
will find himself up to the challenges they will undoubtedly face".
Kenneth Crutchlow, executive director of the Ocean Rowing Society, which is
dedicated to maintaining the history and statistics of ocean rowing, said:
"I am reminded of the quote by the late British rower Peter Bird, who said
once `I have the ultimate freedom, surrounded by the ocean, but in reality
this boat is a prison'. It's ironic that Paul is swapping one prison for
People wishing to follow the progress of the race will be able to do so on end

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