Crazy British Guy Wants to Row the Atlantic Naked

Maressa Brown
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Rowing is one of those sports that I don't think many Americans get all that psyched about. When I hear about it, the first thing I think of are the preppy, jock-y Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. But as tough as it might be for us to relate to the sport alone, how about wrapping our heads around the idea of rowing across the Atlantic ... naked? A guy named Alex Stewart from Cambridgeshire will be doing just that while competing in the Woodvale Atlantic Ocean Race 2011. His goal isn't to beat the Jersey Shore guys at their tanning game. It's to raise funds for Help for Heroes, a charity that helps wounded British soldiers.

The race will start in the Canary Islands in December and follow the Columbus route west-bound to Port St. Charles in Barbados. Alex is hoping to row the race in a record-breaking 38 days.

That's admirable and all, but uh ... what does being naked have to do with anything?

The 28-year-old even admitted to the Cambridge News:

This is the world’s toughest rowing race over a sparse expanse of water with many hostile factors, including horrific weather and sharks.

Nonetheless, he plans to dive right into the race without any skivvies whatsoever? Still having trouble understanding this. Of course, there is the fact that he plans to raise money for the charity by getting sponsors. Donors will get their faces or images of choice emblazoned on the craft. They'll also be able to say, "Look, [fill in friend/wife/relative's name here]! I am on a boat that a naked guy is rowing across the Atlantic Ocean!" Yay?

At first I thought maybe the whole naked thing was just for show, but then I looked into it a bit more. It turns out there might actually be a somewhat practical reason to row sans clothes. A woman named Naomi Hoogesteger did it, too, in order to break the record for rowing across the Atlantic. Her reason: Blisters and sores from rowing would heal more quickly if they were exposed to "nature's own remedy, sun and air." I would think clothes might also weigh you down?

Either way, it's awesome that Stewart has the -- err -- gravitas to get 'er done, even in the buff. He says he and his buddy who is also racing -- no word if the other guy by the name of Phil Russell is going nude -- are going to shoot to raise at least £100,000. Now that's what I call being dedicated to one's sport and cause!

What do you think about naked rowers? Are they crazy or brave?


Image via Barry Skeates/Flickr

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