Rowers ready to take on Indian Ocean challenge for the second time

Ashley Wilson doing a 12-hour row last year on a static rower at the front of the Co-op store in Wickham while he was raising money for his  Indian Ocean record attempt
Ashley Wilson doing a 12-hour row last year on a static rower at the front of the Co-op store in Wickham while he was raising money for his Indian Ocean record attempt

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  • Wickham man in record-breaking attempt
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DESPITE suffering an agonising equipment failure as they attempted to become the fastest rowers to cross the Indian Ocean, Ashley Wilson and James Ketchell are hitting the sea again.

Last month Ashley, from Wickham, and James, from London, attempted the record breaking row.
The trip would have seen Ashley, the Scouts’ assistant county commissioner, and James, a Scouts Association Ambassador, row 3,600 miles from Australia to Mauritius.

The record for completing the journey stands at 85 days, but just 24 hours into their expedition, their navigation system stopped working off the coast of Western Australia and they had to be towed back.

However, this setback has not put them off and they are flying back to Australia, determined to put the record-breaking bid back on track.

Ashley, who survived Hodgkin lymphoma aged 19 and has lived with epilepsy from the age of seven, said: ‘Last time it didn’t go to plan.

‘We got about 63 miles out on the water and part of our guidance system stopped working. We were making incredible time, the weather was on our side, but we decided to get a lift back to shore.

‘The equipment that failed made it incredibly difficult to navigate the sea and we felt it was best for the journey. It was an easy decision to make.’

Last year James, 33, became the only person in history to row the Atlantic Ocean, climb Mount Everest and cycle unaided around the world.

And after he met Ashley, he was so inspired he decided to take on the rowing challenge.

They hope their row will raise money for Young Epilepsy, a charity that aims to create better futures for young lives with epilepsy and associated conditions.

Ashley, 37, said: ‘Not going back was never an option.

‘You are used to young people being told that because you are epileptic you can’t do this or that – I am trying to show you can be yourself and lead a normal life like others.’

The pair are hoping to set off this week and they should arrive back in September.

To follow them go to nothings-impossible.co.uk/