Having indulged myself in three ocean rowing crossings of the Atlantic, all in their way different, my last attempt can only be classed as unfinished business because I had intended to continue by carrying straight on to cross the Pacific Ocean but was obliged to return home.  Since then I had been looking for something slightly different in the way of a challenge. When I climbed aboard Puffin for the first time in September 2004, I immediately felt like a time traveller slipping back 38 years to Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, where two men  - David Johnstone and John Hoare - began optimistically what proved to be voyage of no return.

One question kept running through my mind. Could I complete their vision?

 

 

 
 

Having been invited to the Woodvales rowing weekend at Torquay by Simon Chalk I had no idea what this would bring when I first saw the display of historical rowing boats. My interest was raised immediately.  I had seen all the other small craft before at the Exeter Maritime Museum.  I had been standing beside Puffin studying her for some time when I was approached by Kenneth Crutchlow who ran the Ocean Rowing Society and who had volunteered to be the custodian of this remarkable collection.

I said to Ken ‘This boat is still in good enough condition to row the Atlantic’.  ‘And you are the man for the job!’ was Ken's reply.  It had started.

Fortunately for me, soon afterwards I met James Johnstone, the nephew of David Johnstone, whose family still own Puffin.  The family didn’t hesitate in giving me permission to try and realise my dream, and James, who raises substantial sums for charity, particularly the Red Cross, agreed with enthusiasm to raise the sponsorship I needed for this project.  Any excess funds raised will be given to the British Red Cross London Emergency Response Appeal (www.redcross.org.uk