A St Andrews businessman is set to row solo across the Atlantic in a gruelling challenge, as he looks to raise awareness of sustainability issues.

Henry Cheape, who is from the business behind farm shop Balgove Larder, will travel from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua aboard the PollyAnne, an R25 rowing boat which won her class for the 2022 Atlantic race.

The 43-year-old will have 80 days' worth of food on board, and he will be using only local food suppliers from across Scotland.

His aim is to promote the message that sustainability is at the heart of a better future as he takes part in what is known as 'The World's Toughest Row'.

The challenge begins in December and will see Mr Cheape race against other competitors from around the world as he seeks to raise £250k for Global Canopy, a data-driven not-for-profit organisation that targets the market forces destroying nature; Sustain which campaigns for a healthy and sustainable food system and Nomad Trust which helps conserve wildlife, habitat and wilderness in Tanzania.

Sleep deprivation, hunger, and hallucinations are among the things organisers warn of before competitors begin, with up to 30 teams competing every year.

The Herald: Kris Elliott taking part in trans-Atlantic rowing challengeKris Elliott taking part in trans-Atlantic rowing challenge

The route is 3000 miles (4,800km) long and each team will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes during the race.

The average rower loses around 8kg during a crossing, as they burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day.

Mr Cheape said: "There’s no doubt it is going to be an absolutely mammoth challenge.

“I’m not only taking on the physical might of the ocean, its weather systems and all that that can throw at you, I’ve also got the mental challenge of enduring that entirely on my own.  

“It’s going to be tough but I cannot think of a better reason to put myself through it! The importance of a sustainable future for farming and our planet is non-negotiable and I am calling for any producer who wants to get involved to make contact. The three charities I’m raising money for are all delivering transformational change – demonstrating that it can be done.”

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Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo, two Norwegian-born Americans, were the first to deliberately row across the Atlantic in June 1896.

The pair departed from Battery Park in New York and travelled to the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall in a time of 55 days and 13 hours before travelling on to Le Havre in France.

Due to the danger involved no official crossing was attempted again until 1966 when a two-man team was lost at sea.

However, in that same year, John Ridgway and Chay Blyth successfully rowed across the Atlantic in 92 days.

The first person to successfully cross the Atlantic solo was John Fairfax in 1969. Born to an English father in Italy, at the age of 20 he attempted to commit suicide by having a jaguar attack him, only to change his mind, shoot the cat and sell its skin.

Fairfax spent three years as a pirate in Panama, smuggling guns, liquor and cigarettes around the world, before his solo crossing of the Atlantic.

Setting off from the Canary Islands, he stepped ashore in Florida 180 days later and declared "this is stupid", and was later congratulated in a letter from the Apollo 11 astronauts who had walked on the moon the day before he arrived in the U.S.

He and Sylvia Cook would later become the first male and female duo to cross the Pacific together.

The fastest row across the Atlantic was a four man team The Four Oarsmen who finished in 29 days, 14 hours and 34 minutes.

The first race across the ocean was founded in 1997, by Scottish yachtsman and rower Sir Chay Blyth.

Teams raced from Playa San Juan, Tenerife to Port St. Charles, Barbados, with 30 teams starting the race and 24 finishing.

Rob Hamill and Phil Stubbs of New Zealand won with a time of 41 days, two hours, and 55 minutes.

The runners-up, a convicted double murderer named Pascal Blond and his parole officer Joseph Le Guen, came in more than a week behind.

Having served 15 years for killing two people in a fight, Blond was then told he couldn't land in Barbadoes and was flown back to France.