A decorated army medic is well on the way to joining an elite number of people to row the Atlantic.
Mark Jenkins, who grew up in Hove, is part of the Row2Recovery team competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to row 3,000 nautical miles between the Canary Islands and Antigua – a feat achieved by fewer people than have been into space.
The team, which includes amputee soldiers Cayle Royce and Scott Blaney, currently lie third overall and are the second best performing team of four in the competition as they pass Cape Verde.
It is hoped they will arrive in the Caribbean on January 22, some eight weeks after setting off.
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In his most recent blog, Mark, who has no experience of rowing, described the experience as “like sitting on a rowing machine in a darkened room, with someone throwing cold water at you and trying to push you out of your seat”.
He added that since their boat capsized on December 18 there had been an upturn in morale and weather.
Mark’s uncle Ivor Jenkins said: “We are intensely proud of him.
“We just want everybody in the race to come home safely, it’s not a race to us but an individual challenge where all participants are having to look deep into their souls.
“There was some concern as you can imagine when he capsized.
“Mark lost both his parents at a relatively young age so as uncles and aunts we are effectively his proxy parents.
“As a family we are close and we have a lot of concern for his wellbeing and when you hear about his capsizing you know this is for real.
“He’s a man’s man, always at the front of the boys when they are out having a beer, a very sociable and gregarious guy.”
Brought up in Hove, Mark is a former Cardinal Newman pupil, Hove Rugby Club player and the son of Richard Jenkins who founded chartered surveyors Graves Jenkins.
A captain who has been decorated for tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 34-year-old is currently assigned to the 7th Air Assault Battalion of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers where he helps to rehabilitate injured soldiers.
His uncle Ivor said Mark had inherited the family’s adventurous streak and was following in the footsteps of his grandfather Ivor who received a number of medals during the Second World War.
For more details and to donate www.row2recovery.com.