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Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Monday, 31 January 2011
Hampshire pair set for Indian Ocean rowing challenge

James Adair and Ben Stenning  with Indian Runner
James Adair and Ben Stenning will be at sea for about 120 days

"It'll be a bit of a squeeze," says James Adair as he glances around the tiny cabin which will be home for 120 days.

James and friend Ben Stenning, both aged 30, and from Hampshire, are preparing to row unsupported across the Indian Ocean.

James was paralysed for a month by Guillain-Barre syndrome when he was 14 and is now raising money for research into the condition.

Mr Adair said: "To be given the opportunity to do something like this is a fantastic privilege."

Ocean challenge

The pair are taking part in the 3,100-mile Woodvale Indian Ocean Race starting in April this year.

Ahead of them lies eight months of rowing across the Indian Ocean from Western Australia to the island of Mauritius.

Their boat, officially named Indian Runner at a ceremony at Itchen Abbas near Winchester on Friday, has already been rowed across the Atlantic Ocean.

James Adair in cabin
The cramped cabin will hold the sat-phone, water-maker and VHF radio

As well coping with the physical effort of rowing, they will have to deal with tropical temperatures plus sharks and whales along the route.

Mr Adair admitted there is a "fear element" ahead of the race.

"We need to have the healthiest respect for the sea and the conditions, but that's nothing that would stop us," he said.

"There will be tough times but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad."

As well as fitness training, they have also been getting to know their boat during navigation trials in Southampton.

Personal motivation

It took Mr Adair more than a year to walk again after being diagnosed Guillain-Barre syndrome.

He said: "When I was ill, lying there completely paralysed, I had a lot of time to think about all the things I wanted to do.

"Its a very personal thing but that's the motivation to prove I can do this."

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a neurological condition which affects 1,500 people in the UK every year.

Mr Adair is raising money for the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Support Group, which has an appeal to raise £250,000 for research into the condition.

James Babington-Smith from the support group said: "It's brilliant - hopefully their contribution will play a major part in raising this money."




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