Rowing legend Rob Hamill is back doing what he loves.

After a harrowing year of working to see his brother's killer brought to justice in Cambodia, Mr Hamill is launching a team to row from Sydney to Auckland.

The Atlantic Rowing Race winner from Te Pahu, outside Hamilton, has wanted for years to pit rowers against each other in a race across the Tasman Sea.

And last week he launched Team Gallagher a four-man team who will race against themselves in a rowing adventure expected to take anywhere between three weeks and three months.


"The idea is to get across as quickly as possible and it's the first time a human-powered vessel will go west to east and around Cape Reinga," Mr Hamill said.

"The idea is to eventually make it a race."

Mr Hamill's enthusiasm was contagious, said Margaret Comer, a corporate services executive with the sponsor, Gallagher Group.

"Sometimes it's hard to find individuals with that pioneering spirit. It has the promise of being something really exciting. And let's face it, they're all four good-looking boys."

Group chief executive Sir William Gallagher sailed across the Tasman with his father in 1959 and expected the row would be tough.

"We know what the waters are like and they're not that kind to you."

The team's orange 10.5m boat has room for three people to row at a time and two sleeping compartments.

It will be manned by team leader Nigel Cherrie, Hamilton rower Andrew McCowan, Wellington-based rower Martin Berka and Sir Peter Blake's Dunedin-based son James Blake, who will also capture the epic adventure on camera.


When asked about the practicalities of a sea voyage in a giant fibreglass canoe, Mr Blake said going to the toilet and cleaning teeth wouldn't be an issue.

"You just do it as you normally would," he said.

Mr Cherrie admitted he was a little nervous about the row which will begin at Sydney Harbour Bridge and end at the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

"There are going to be great days and there are going to be really tough days."

The team will be on standby from October 24, waiting for the best weather in which to start the 1400 nautical mile (2500km) voyage.