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Keith hopes naked ambition is enough -- as he rows across Indian Ocean with no clothes

A BRAVE Kildare man will be setting a world record by rowing 6,000km across the Indian Ocean this summer -- completely naked.

Keith Whelan (30), from Athy, will be tackling the ocean in a rowboat which is 23ft long and 6ft wide, in an arduous four-month row from western Australia to Mauritius.

He will be rowing a gruelling 12 hours every day, which would be enough to deter the average person, but he is stepping it up a notch and will be going for it entirely naked.

However, Keith explained that there was logic behind his decision.

"When you're at sea, and you're outside for three or four hours rowing, the salt gets encrusted in your clothes, and you can't wash them," he told the Herald. "Eventually, your clothes will begin to feel like sandpaper."

While he is exposing himself to a world of pain if he gets sunburn, he said he has an intense skincare routine prepared.

"I have a very nice sunscreen sponsor, Soleo. My sister had skin cancer so I take it very seriously," he said.

"If you get a bad burn, no one can help you."

And he has taken first aid courses in order to prepare for the worst.

"There is no one else to do it for you. The water is so vast and you're not within easy reach of air rescue. It would take four or five days for a ship to get to me.

"People think of the Indian Ocean and they think of a nice beach in Mauritius," he said.

"But it's very large water, and the weather conditions can change dramatically. There is a reason that there are only three people in the world who have rowed it solo.

"There will be no one with me, no support. I'll be totally alone for four months. I'll have everything I need.

"I have freeze dried food because it's the only way I'll have enough calories."

cmcbride@herald.ie