Success in Talisker Whisky Atlantic rowing challenge
Four British university friends have battled hallucinations and 12-metre waves to win a 3,000-mile (4,828km) Atlantic rowing race.
Fortitude IV stormed into Antigua’s English Harbour after 32 days, 12 hours and 35 minutes at sea as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, according to Sky News.
Ollie Palmer, Tom Foley, Hugh Gillum and Max Breet, who met at the University of Nottingham, managed to beat 34 other boats to be crowned the 2020 winner of “the world’s toughest row” after setting off on 12 December last year.
Tom Foley, a former Navy mine clearance diving officer turned trainee surveyor, from Fortitude IV says: “We had 10-12 metres of swell, which at times has been really scary.
“At one point, as I was coming out for shift, the boat went over and I went with it, flipping myself and Ollie out and flooding one of the cabins with water.
“It was up there with one of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced, that could have been the end of the race for us quite easily, and that happened a couple of times in the last few days.”
This year saw extremely difficult weather conditions, with some of the strongest winds ever experienced during the race.
Hallucinations, weather and sleep are major factors that affect crews, but wildlife, seeing the stars and getting away from everyday life makes it worth the struggle, the four friends said.
Their success has since been rather overshadowed by three British brothers who came in after them, but set a world record for fastest three-man crossing, after completing the Atlantic Ocean in just 35 days. They are also the first three brothers known to have rowed an ocean together.
The three MacLean brothers also faced 20-days rowing without music after their phone cables were damaged by the sun and seawater, according to Sky News.
“It was incredibly difficult, but the way we came together, the way our bodies and minds coped with every single challenge, will stay with me for a long time,” says Ewan.
“It definitely tested our relationship, but it was remarkable how we were able to lift each other up as we struggled.
“It’s brought us closer together, although I am looking forward to getting to see and talk to some different people.”
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