A WORLD record breaking skipper hopes to make another big drop in the ocean as he attempts to row across the Atlantic in just 29 days.
Matt Craughwell, 33, who grew up in Northolt, is not new to the ocean waves after leading the fastest boat to row 3,170 miles of untamed waters from Morocco to Barbados in February this year.
But with a new crew and taste of victory, the ex-engineer hopes to be the first in history to break the 30-day barrier when he takes on the same challenge on January 2 - nearly four days quicker than his current record.
The former Walford High student, who now lives in Hertfordshire with wife Helen, said: "I'm quite apprehensive.
"Last time there was no actual expectation, but this year everybody knows the boat is quick. We'll just see whether or not we can be ground breaking."
Matt whittled down 60 candidates to find his five-man crew, which includes a world cycling champion, a sculler who counts Olympic gold-medallist Tom Foster as one of his rowing companions, and an ocean rower who has tackled the Zambezi river in Africa.
"This year I'm the only one under 6ft. The speeds we're hitting are phenomenal, we're up to 20 per cent faster," Matt said.
"These guys are the best of the best. I fully anticipate reaching my record as a base line, but the sub-30 day challenge is three days faster which will be a push."
Rowing in shifts of two hours - a total of 12 hours a day - the crew must maintain an average speed of 3.9 knots to stay on target for the record.
It will be both physically and mentally gruelling on board the cramped 11-foot Sara G. Matt told how he lost three stone in weight the first time around and suffered severe hallucinations due to sleep deprivation.
He will miss a family Christmas after flying out this week to see the world-class boat through customs. But Matt will visit his wife and family in the Canary Islands for a brief two days before departing from Tarfaya.
If this was not enough, in June the rowing enthusiast will be attempting the first continent to continent row across the Indian Ocean.
Follow the action in the Gazette with Matt's week-by-week blog starting next week.