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Suffolk rowers take the lead in Atlantic rowing race

A team of old school friends from Suffolk have taken the lead in the world's toughest rowing race across the Atlantic.

A team of old school friends from Suffolk have taken the lead in the world's toughest rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean, Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The four-man crew on the Ocean Reunion is made up of old school friends from Suffolk – Angus Collins, Gus Barton, Joe Barnett and Jack Meyhew – and they’re currently leading the 26 teams.

Angus Collins sister Bella is second in the race in her all-female team.

26-year-old Angus Collins from Hartest near Bury St Edmunds is part of the leading team but closely behind in second place is his younger sister Bella’s team, Row Like A Girl.

Their mother Virginia Collins spoke about the intense sibling rivalry.

"Those four girls are quietly very driven and there is a lot of rivalry and Angus contacted my brother saying what are they eating and rowing three up instead of two and what course are they on.

"It would be very embarrassing if Bella beat Angus."

– Virginia Collins, mother of Angus and Bella Collins
The teams left the Canary Islands on 15 December and have to row 3,000 nautical miles to Antigua.

The teams left the Canary Islands on 15 December and have to row 3,000 nautical miles to Antigua. Over the 60 days they will consume 1,680,000 calories, with only 240 hours of sleep to pull the oars 1 million times.

Rowing in two hour shifts non-stop takes its toll and the teams have to cope with sleep deprivation, dehydration and exhaustion, as well as the weather.

Angus and Bella’s father Christopher Collins said "I find it terrifying. I know they will be safe but anything can go wrong at sea and we have a big storm brewing at the moment. I think it will miss Angus and Bella but these tropical storms can be quite ferocious."

The race leaders are expected to reach the finish line in the next few weeks.

The position of leading rowers at 8am on 11 January 2016. Credit: Atlantic Challenge