Proud to train a hero aiming to be first blind person to row the Pacific

By Mike Clift | June 7, 2018

No easy task

Rowing the Pacific Ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii as a contestant in the Great Pacific Race is no easy task to take on. It takes bravery, guts and determination and is only for the few who can keep giving, even when they feel as though they have nothing left to give. Just imagine the courage it takes to attempt this epic sea journey for somebody who has lost their sight? Also consider the unshakable faith that the sighted half of the team has to have in his rowing partner.

Enter fellow former Royal Marines and determined competitors, Steve Sparkes and Mick Dawson, who will be kicking off their intrepid voyage on June 6th of this year. These are men of courage who together will take on the mighty Pacific ocean, pitting themselves against teams from across the globe in The Great Pacific Race. This involves rowing 2,400 miles across the world’s largest ocean. Their intention is to raise as much money as they can for Blind Veterans UK and The Royal Marines Charity.

The all important training

For an event such as The Great Pacific Race, stamina and safety training are absolutely essential ingredients in the recipe for success.

We had the honour of training Steve and Mick and were involved with getting them ready before they set out from Monterey to begin what will be a highly challenging ocean crossing.

One hell of a team

Steve joined the Royal Marines in 1970 as a member of 141 troop. He saw active service in The Falklands and was hailed as a hero for carrying a colleague who’d stepped on a mine back to safety.

A diving accident during selection for the Special Boat Service caused Steve the loss of his sight. He has not allowed these personal challenges to hold him back, as we can see here in this photo of him holding his team mate aloft.

Fellow team member, Mick Dawson, is also an ex-Marine. He is a professional Yacht Captain, Author and Filmmaker. Twice now he has rowed the Atlantic Ocean and also made The Guiness Book of Records for his rowing exploits in the North Pacific.

While training these two tough and determined ex-Marines, it was obvious that they share a strong bond and a determination to succeed in the challenge that lays ahead of them. We have every faith in them and wish them the best of luck in their forthcoming endeavour.

All in a good cause

As mentioned above, Steve and Mick want to raise as much money as possible for Blind Veterans UK and The Royal Marines Charity.

Both charities do an awful lot to help out our heroes; servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much in the service and defence of our nation.

If you feel you would like to contribute and support these two brave and determined men on their intrepid journey across the Pacific, you can make a donation at the foot of the home page on their website at

Good luck, guys, from everybody here at Seahaven Maritime Academy. It was an honour and a pleasure to be involved with your training. We’ll be following your progress and rooting for you all the way, from the very first stroke of the oars to the last.

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About The Author

Mike Clift

Mike is a Director at Seahaven Maritime Academy. He has many years of professional experience within the Maritime Industry and has an excellent reputation for teaching. He has a real care for the training process and is dedicated to providing his students with a positive and meaningful training experience.

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