Boston rower set to take on new challenge

Mick Dawson (pictured) after crossing the finish line and becoming a world-record breaker. EMN-170821-094200001
Mick Dawson (pictured) after crossing the finish line and becoming a world-record breaker. EMN-170821-094200001

Boston’s record breaking rower Mick Dawson will be taking on a new challenge in June when he partners with a blind former Royal Marine to tackle the Great Pacific Race.

Mick, 50, will be partnered with Falklands veteran Steve Sparkes as he attempts to become the first blind person ever to row the Pacific Ocean as part of the 2,400-mile adventure from Monterey, California, to Hawaii, competing against other teams from around the world.

Steve’s blindness is due to a rare form of macular degeneration known as Stargardts. It was caused when, in 1984 while taking part in a selection for the Royal Marines Special Boat Service, he had a diving accident that would ultimately cause the loss of his eyesight.

Steve has lost his sight completely apart from some peripheral vision of shapes and colours.

Steve has since been supported by Blind Veterans UK

Throughout the challenge, which could take between 50-90 days to complete, Steve and Mick will take it in turns to row the boat in a pattern of two hours rowing, two hours resting.

This row will be completely unaided and the pair will need to carry their food, supplies and equipment on a 21.5ft long, carbon fibre ocean rowing boat, nicknamed “Bojangles”.

Bojangles has already crossed the Pacific once as it was the boat used by Mick Dawson when he entered the record books in 2009. Mick says:“I am really excited to be competing in the Great Pacific Race alongside Steve and helping achieve a global first; becoming the first blind person to row the Pacific.

“It’s good to be reunited with ‘Bo’ too, the boat that I used to first row the Pacific in 2009.

“I have no doubt that we will overcome all the challenges that lay ahead and will achieve our aim of rowing unaided across the Pacific.”

Mick and Steve are calling on any businesses or individuals who would like to sponsor the team to get in touch or visit their website –, or visit their Crowdfunding page