Another Blake set to challenge seas

University of Otago student James Blake is about to follow in the wake of his ocean-faring father, the late Sir Peter Blake, when he attempts an endurance team rowing bid to cross the Tasman Sea, in October.

Like his master-yachtsman father, who was at the forefront of several campaigns to raise awareness about the world's oceans, Mr Blake plans to use his exploits to highlight his environmental concerns.

A masters of science communication student, he is setting up a project to build the world's largest live artificial reef off the northern coast of Borneo.

The four-man transtasman campaign, to row 2600km from the Sydney Harbour bridge to the Auckland Harbour bridge, will be managed by New Zealand rowing legend Rob Hamill.

The other rowers are Aucklanders Nigel Cherrie (35) and Martin Berka (36), and Andrew McCowan (26), of Hamilton.

The quartet is the first team to attempt the crossing from Australia to New Zealand. An Australian four-man team rowed from Hokianga to Sydney in 31 days in 2008.

Mr Blake said the team expected to take between 31 and 40 days - rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day.

His preparation has so far consisted of becoming acquainted with rowing-machines and Otago Harbour.

"I've been trying to get out on the water as much as possible with the university rowing club and have taken up Bikram Yoga."


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