Rowers happy, but relieved
The tranquil opulence of Port St Charles, St Peter, has been a setting of joyful reunions of family and friends since Saturday as weary but proud sailors cruised into port, after completing the 2 550 nautical miles from La Gomera, Canary Islands, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge.
The first boat to reach home was Box Number 8 with German bank workmates Nick Moore and Toby Miles making the challenging but rewarding journey in 40 days and just over nine hours.
Moore said they were rowing for a charity, Shelter Box, and the journey helped them to empathize with what some of the recipients from that charity undergo when they suffer a calamity and were made homeless.
Moore and Miles said they spent almost two years training on a boat as well as in the gym on a rowing machine.
“We also ate to pack on the weight and every day during the race we ate 6 000 calories,” said Moore.
“Even so, Toby’s wife was still shocked when she saw that he had lost 15 kilos (33 pounds)” added Moore.
The pair said there was a sense of excitement when the 17 boats set out for the Caribbean.
However, after the first day, the next time they saw any of the other competitors was on the penultimate day when they caught sight of solo sailor Andrew Browne on JJ bearing down on the north of Barbados.
“Our worst time was Christmas Day when it rained and the wind was blowing in the wrong direction with the two of us deciding to cancel Christmas,” said Miles. “Unfortunately, the next day was extremely hot and there was no wind.”
The duo said that while they enjoyed the challenge they would not be attempting the feat again. Similar sentiments were expressed by Browne who broke the solo record by finishing in 40 days and just over nine hours.
Browne said he was relieved after spending the last 40 days rowing for three hours and sleeping for 30 minutes. During the sleep period, he allowed the boat to drift with the hope that it would go in the right direction. Browne’s father and mother, Peter and Penny, along with fiancée Lucy Ryan were extremely happy to greet him in port.
Just as happy were the relatives of the University of Loughborough quartet – twins Ross and Hugo Turner, Adam Wolley and Greg Symondson – who were at Port St Charles yesterday to greet the group.
They were the youngest group to take part as well as the first twins to complete the arduous trip across the Atlantic in 41 hours, 32 minutes and 15 seconds.