Topsham sailor's dream back on track

A TOPSHAM sailor s dream to row solo across the Pacific and Atlantic is back on track after securing financial support from a waffle-making millionaire. Dave Brooks plans on taking part in a 13,000 mile voyage this December to raise money for a guide dogs

A TOPSHAM sailor's dream to row solo across the Pacific and Atlantic is back on track after securing financial support from a waffle-making millionaire.

Dave Brooks plans on taking part in a 13,000 mile voyage this December to raise money for a guide dogs charity, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and Sidmouth Lifeboat.

The 23-year-old had thought of delaying the date he set off on the marathon challenge due to financial reasons.

But, the brave Topsham athlete said after a chance meeting with a Dutch-Canadian entrepreneur, Ole Elmer, his bid to row across the two largest oceans on earth is back on course.


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Dave, who has also won backing from Panasonic Stores, said: "It was purely coincidental how we met. I was up at Gordano Services doing a fundraising event.

"This bloke walked up to me, shook my hand and started talking. He seemed really excited about what I was planning on doing. I was wondering, though, why he was so keen.

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"The coincidental ties then began to unravel. He said he was planning on rowing across the Atlantic in the same race as me.

"The only reason he was in the country was to drive down to the race organiser's office to discuss getting his boat built amongst other things. He also told me that he supports guide dogs in Canada."

Dave said Mr Elmer started his business from humble beginnings having had only five dollars in his pocket.

He then went on to sell seven billion waffles, suffered from cancer and decided to embark on a number of exciting activities.

"One of the last things he decided to do was to sail from Boston, America, to the Canary Islands."

The cost of Dave's challenge is �60,000 and a majority of this sum is now being paid for by Mr Elmer.

Dave will leave for La Gomera on November 20. He starts the first leg of the challenge, as part of the Woodvale Atlantic race, which attracts teams from all over the world, on December 6.

It is expected the rower will arrive in Antigua in February or March where he will leave his boat and then return to Britain.

He will return to Antigua next October and row to Panama, through the canal, and cross to Australia.

In preparation of his challenge, Dave will take just a tent and rowing machine for an isolation training exercise on Dartmoor for seven days next month.

You can follow Dave's progress once he starts the challenge on a blog to be published on the Exmouth Journal website.

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