Two men, one rowing boat, 60 days and 2,500 nautical miles of Atlantic Ocean.

This is what Barnes resident Richard Hume will face next week when he embarks on a rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean with university friend Tom Barnes.

The pair flew to the Canary Islands last Friday to make their final preparations before the two-month long Atlantic Rowing Race to Antigua begins on December 6.

“I'm very excited and also a bit anxious,” Richard, 27, said.

He has good reason to be worried. Neither he nor Tom, 30, of Addlestone, are experienced rowers and with only two support crews for 26 teams, if something goes wrong help could be anywhere up to six days away.

Richard said: “We're totally self-sufficient with all our safety gear on board, the idea being that if something happens we'll be able to look after ourselves.”

The timing of the race means it is unlikely the rowers will hit many bad storms in the northern hemisphere, although the last race in 2007 had one hurricane and the one before in 2005 had seven.

Richard said: “The idea is that the storms are all meant to be in the southern hemisphere at this time of year, but it's not a fool proof plan.

“If there is a storm, we just both get into the cabin, hug each other and sit tight.”

Of the 200-odd people who have competed in the race since 1997, no one has died – although celebrity duo James Cracknell and Ben Fogle had a close call in 2005 when Fogle was thrown into the water when their boat capsized.

Despite these dangers, Richard's biggest concern heading into the race is his hair.

“For me being ginger, the heat of the sun is a real problem,” he said.

He is also worried about the tedium of rowing – he and Tom will row in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day.

Sea sickness is guaranteed and there will be weeks on end where they see no land and their only link to the outside world will be via their satellite phone.

But for Richard, competing in the race means the fulfilment of a dream he has held since 1997.

He suffered from severe curvature of the spine and was advised by doctors to avoid sport.

Rather than preparing for a sedentary life, the prognosis inspired the Richard to wear a back brace and work extra hard to prove his fitness.

He played competitive rugby, competed in ironman triathlons and became a personal trainer, but rowing the Atlantic was always his overarching goal.

Richard said: “All the training I've done over the years has been working toward this race.”

His ambitions went unfulfilled for several years when he could not find a friend willing to accompany him on the gruelling journey.

Out of desperation he sent a mass email to everyone he had ever known, and to his surprise, Tom – a former university colleague who he had lost contact with – was keen for the challenge.

They spent three years planning and training for the race, and getting in contact with former race competitors.

Richard said he had received all sorts of advice from “don't chuck your poo bucket into the wind” to what to expect during the race.

He said: “Everybody's come back and said we'll have the most unbelievable highs and the most unbelievable lows.”

“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Richard and James are accepting donations to cover their expenses - about £80,000 including entry fees, equipment and supplies – and raise funds for charity Ataxia UK, which supports people with the co-ordination disorder ataxia.

To donate, log on to their website You can also monitor their race progress via regular satellite phone blog updates.