Local rower in solo attempt to cross Atlantic

2015-08-12 06:00
Stuart Connacher (centre) with, from left, Charl Gale (his technical support manager), daughter Jayde, son Tide (6), wife Christelle, daughter Charlie-Lou (2) and daughter Tam.
Deon Ferreira

Stuart Connacher (centre) with, from left, Charl Gale (his technical support manager), daughter Jayde, son Tide (6), wife Christelle, daughter Charlie-Lou (2) and daughter Tam. Photo: Deon Ferreira

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BEHIND every successful man, it is said there is a woman; and when the man will be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean the woman has to be even-keeled.

Christelle Connacher’s husband, Stuart (49) is one of only five men who will do a solo row of 5 000km in the annual Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in December.

Stuart, who at this stage is favoured as winner in the solo category, will be on the ocean between 50 and 90 days. The race starts at St Sebastian La Gomera in the Canary Islands and ends at English Harbour, Antigua.

He will be racing to raise funds for the SmileFoundation which assists children with birth deformities to undergo life-changing surgery.

Stuart’s boat for the race is currently being built in England.

Christelle, a biokineticist and mother of two, not only sees to it that Stuart eats well, but she also assists him with his training.

Although she is very excited for her husband and supports his solo attempt a hundred percent, she admitted to Express that she also is scared. “I must admit that I am very nervous. I don’t often talk about it to Stuart, but I am scared. I have no doubt that he is going to do very well, but just the thought of him alone at sea in rough weather makes my tummy turn.”

On the other hand she said it is wonderful to be able to support Stuart in reaching his goal. “It is so cool to be able to support my Bokkie in such a fantastic event. I also like to refer to this as his ‘midlife crisis’.”

Although she loves the ocean, she would rather be on the beach than in the water. “Ask me to go on a boat and know that at any good time I will have more than 3000m of sea beneath me? Forget it!”

According to her, Stuart’s attempt came as a bit of a surprise. “When Stuart and I got together he was already a bit of a wild card. He having done several Ironman events and I river rafting, abseiling and Ironman, I always knew that something crazy would come over time, but I did not expect this!”

She said the whole venture has also pulled them closer together. “We have been spending a lot of time together. Because I am a biokineticist, I automatically got the title of personal trainer, dietician and massage therapist.”

) Contact Charl on 0 074 888 6651 to get involved with the fund raising initiative for the Smile Foundation

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