The Wiltshire dads currently rowing the Atlantic to raise money for a cancer charity have sent a Christmas Day greeting to all of their friends and followers at home.

Policeman and former Devizes schoolboy Ed Smith and Great Bedwyn engineer Adam Green raised a cup of cheer with their mates from Thatcham Rob Murray and Jack Biss as they took a brief break from rowing 3,000 miles in their 28ft boat.

They toasted everyone in the Shire before tucking their Christmas Day dinner – a £1 tin of mango.

And in their Christmas message the team who have now travelled 830 nautical miles said it’s been tough, but they are all upbeat.

“So, ten days ago we left San Sebastian marina on La Gomera. The weather has been a bit quieter than we hoped, which has caused us to take a more southerly route than in historic races,” read the message.

“Like all of the fleet we are avoiding a low-pressure system in the north part of the Atlantic, which has meant that the air is still and there's very little current in the sea which has meant that every mile and every knot that we see on our chart plotter is earned solely through the oars.

“It’s been a tough baptism to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic 21, but we remain positive and our spirits high.

“The night times are particularly challenging, even though we're all fathers and used to being sleep deprived. On the shifts during the night we struggled to stay awake on the oars, but the spectacular sky, shooting stars and moon rising that takes place about 8:30 every night over our stern cabin takes our breath away every time.

“We had to wait a few days to see much wildlife other than a small sea bird that we nicknamed Percy who joined us for several days. We've now seen dolphins, whales, turtles, and more recently at night, flying fish that seem to be determined to get onto the boat with us.

“Sometimes the small flying fish land on our deck and we don't notice, then it's a game of hunt the fish based on the smell, to get it back into the water.

“We are estimating that we are approximately approaching a third of the way through the time we will spend on the boat, so there is still a huge mountain to climb, in terms of mileage to cover until we get to Antigua.

“We can't wait to see everybody when we get back to the UK. We are all missing our children and partners. So, here's to the next 2,000 miles of open ocean on the Atlantic.”

Adam’s wife Phillipa revealed that the team would have a somewhat untraditional Christmas.

“They are planning a Secret Santa, followed by tinned mango for dinner and then they’ll be back on the oars again,” she said.

And the brave four taking the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge against 35 other boats will also be back on their daily diet – of sweets, lots and lots of sweets.

“They’ve got 15 kilos of sweets onboard, including Haribos, strawberry laces, Percy Pigs and 500 chocolate bars,” said Phillipa.

Although the diet sounds like the unhealthiest ever, Phillipa, an expert nutritionist who runs Savernake Nutrition near Marlborough, explained that an instant sugar fix is precisely what the team need to keep going on their gruelling schedule of rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day every day for the 40-day voyage.

“The main concern is that they get enough calories as they’ll be burning around 12,000 a day. They won’t be feeling hungry because they’ll be too tired, so they must eat,” said Phillipa.

“If they don’t eat enough they won’t get energy and their brain power could drop off and they could make the wrong navigation calculation, so they have to keep mentally alert. And because they only have two-hour breaks they don’t need high fibre, whatever they eat has to be easily digested, including nuts and dehydrated meals which are essentially posh Pot Noodles.”

Phillipa spoke to Adam on the boat’s satellite phone last week and she is hoping to hear from him again today. And so far the news is all good from the pals who have taken the challenge to raise funds for Victoria’s Promise, the charity which helped Ed’s wife Anna before she tragically died of cancer in 2018 at the age of just 38.

“They are doing really well, they said they’ve had no seasickness,” said Phillipa, “But they’ve had no wind either, apparently the sea is just flat. And they said it’s hot, very hot, 40 degrees in the cabin.”

Before the boat cast off, Ed said: “Throughout Anna's treatment, she was supported by the amazing charity, Victoria's Promise, which helps support women aged 21 to 45 who have cancer. We are proud to be raising money for this charity who change people's lives with the support and services they offer and friendship groups they create.”

Although they only left La Gomera in Spain on December 12 and have a long way to go yet on their voyage to Antigua, they have already raised £26,000 towards their £100,000 target. To donate to the Anna Victorious appeal go to:

Gazette & Herald readers can track the progress of Anna Victorious on an App called YB tracking – it’s a free app to download to your phone and it updates their progress every four hours , choose Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021 and then Anna Victorious.