British rowers complete trans-Atlantic race in under 40 days

PA

Four Yorkshiremen have survived injuries, attacks by flying fish and a near-miss with a tanker to take fifth place in a 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic rowing race.

The Row4Victory quartet, from North Yorkshire, completed the race, from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, in just under 40 days.

The annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, dubbed the world’s toughest rowing race, saw 28 teams of rowers set off on the epic journey on December 12 in an effort to raise money for charity.

Row4Victory arrived in Antigua at 3.32am (GMT) on Monday – completing the endurance challenge in 39 days, 15 hours and 42 minutes.

The Row4Victory team (left to right: Duncan Roy, Glyn Sadler, Fraser Mowlam, Will Quarmby) completed the 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic rowing race, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, in fifth place (Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge/PA)
The Row4Victory team (left to right: Duncan Roy, Glyn Sadler, Fraser Mowlam, Will Quarmby) completed the 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic rowing race, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, in fifth place (Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge/PA)

Skipper Will Quarmby, a 36-year-old landscape gardener from Ripon, said: “Well, we’ve only gone and done it: 3,000 miles of open ocean crossed with nothing but oars and Yorkshire grit.

“To see land, then lights, then boats, then people really built our excitement, adrenaline and the feeling of achievement.”

The team, who count one current and two former armed forces personnel among their number, are raising money for the Royal British Legion and local military charity Soldier On.

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Mr Quarmby was joined on board the tiny eight-metre boat by Fraser Mowlem, a 41-year-old serving Royal Air Force chief technician from Linton-on-Ouse; Glyn Sadler, 37, a former Royal Marines Commando from Borrowby; and 28-year-old Sapper Duncan Roy, from Ingleby Arncliffe, who was medically discharged from the Royal Engineers in 2018.

Since leaving La Gomera in December, the team have regularly blogged about their experiences, which included Mr Quarmby being hit in the face by a flying fish during a night row; Spr Roy being stung by a jellyfish during a routine cleaning of the hull; and their frantic attempts to contact a 300-metre long ship that was on course to pass their rowing boat within 50m.

The foursome have also celebrated Christmas, New Year and a birthday in the middle of the Atlantic and faced adverse weather conditions, giant waves, sea sickness and technical issues with the boat while rowing around the clock.

Undated handout photo of Row4Victory team members – Will Quarmby, Duncan Roy, Fraser Mowlem and Glyn Sadler - training at sea ahead of the start of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Undated handout photo of Row4Victory team members – Will Quarmby, Duncan Roy, Fraser Mowlem and Glyn Sadler - training at sea ahead of the start of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.


During the race, Mr Mowlem was forced to have six days of complete rest from rowing after suffering an intense shin injury through over-use.

Mr Quarmby said: “This race was a relentless test on our mental and physical limits.

“Our biggest challenge was when Fraser got injured but it was also the most defining part of our journey because we overcame the tough times together and that’s the essence of Row4Victory.”

A personal post from Fraser today:"It is with a heavy heart I have to write this post. Two nights ago the muscle down…

Posted by Row4Victory on Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Nicholas Harrison, founding trustee of Soldier On, which supported Spr Roy when he was medically discharged, said: “The money they raise will be spent on helping disadvantaged, vulnerable or socially isolated people to take the first steps towards independent, meaningful and happier futures.

“Much of this has only been made possible through 3,000 miles of rowing, blisters, injuries, attacks by flying fish, near drownings at the hands of an overly amorous jellyfish and a near-miss with a tanker.

“What else can we say but thank you team Row4Victory.”

Let's beat #bluemonday by congratulating team @Row4Victory 4 friends who this morning competed a 40 day, 3,000 mile row, 2hrs on the oars/2hrs off round the clock. What an achievement! pic.twitter.com/eT5zhQyaNt

— Soldier On! (@soldieronorg) January 21, 2019

The race was won by The Dutch Atlantic Four, four men from the Netherlands, who completed the challenge in 34 days 12 hours and nine minutes.

The current race record of 29 days and 15 hours was set by London quartet the Four Oarsmen last year.

● Support Row4Victory by sponsoring or donating via www.row4victory.com/donate or by texting 70070 with the code ROWV59 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.