IVC Evidensia Atlantic Rower embarks on voyage

March 25, 2021

A Herefordshire vet has just set off on an epic 3000-mile row across the Atlantic.

Simon Lyddon, who runs IVC Evidensia practice Vine Tree Vets in Ross-on-Wye, will spend more than five weeks on the marathon voyage from the Canary Isles to Antigua.

And Simon, who is raising money for charity after suffering a devastating double cancer blow, is already facing up to the hardest leg of the journey.

“The first week is well known to be the toughest as we settle into life on board,” said Simon, 44, just before leaving from Tenerife on Monday morning (March 22).

“We have to adjust to the sleep patterns, cooking, boat maintenance and, of course, hours upon hours of rowing.

“Learning to work together, support each other and manage ourselves in this challenge is critical.” 

Each of the 12-strong crew of the 12-metre-long Roxy will row more than 1.5million strokes and burn over 5000 calories a day during the 35 to 40-day crossing.

Travel restrictions delayed dad-of-two Simon’s departure to Tenerife and he had to put in extra-long hours on a rowing machine between seeing patients at the busy practice he set up in 2015.

The past week has been spent completing crucial sea survival training and he has also been learning about the purpose-built boat and his fellow rowers, who are aged between 18 and 60. 

“I have got to know the crew so well in just a short time,” said Simon, who lost his dad Peter to prostate cancer before learning that wife Mel had breast cancer.

“We all have our reasons for being here and the openness with which we have bared our souls has brought us so close as a team.

“I have no doubt we will be all be lifelong friends after this journey and hopefully we will have some amazing experiences to share.”

Mel, who thankfully is doing well, was treated at the Macmillan Renton Unit at Hereford County Hospital and Simon is undertaking the challenge to raise funds for Macmillan. He has been backed by IVC Evidensia whose generous donation towards his sponsorship costs will allow all funds raised to go to the charity.

Weather systems were closely monitored before the boat set off from Las Galletas marina on Monday and Simon is hoping to avoid dangerous conditions on the epic adventure.

“I look forward to sharing our journey with everyone but most of all I’ll be looking forward to a nice rum punch in Falmouth harbour in Antigua,” added Simon.

Although communications are limited, you can follow their progress.

And you can still donate on the team's fundraising page.