A team of rowers which braved crossing the Atlantic Ocean has made it back after encounters with storms, whales, oil tankers, and cooking a Christmas dinner on board.
The Row Row Row our Boat team, made up of Andy Williams, from Westbourne, Nick Wright, from Thorney Island, Andrew Burns, from Chichester, and Jonny Bayley, from Brighton, did not sleep for longer than two hours at a time during the collosal 3,000 mile Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
Captain Andy Williams said he was grateful for the expertise of his teammates in avoiding being mown down by oil tankers but other than a storm at the start – ‘the boat goes vertical’ – it was ‘mostly plain sailing’ and a special experience.
“We got the shock of our lives about four o’clock in the morning. It was absolutely quiet and then a whale surfaced right by the boat and when it blew it frightened the life out of us because it was pitch black and you think ‘what was that’?
“And then we worked out what had happened and you go from being scared to being excited and feeling privileged, not many people have a chance to see that.”
The 42 days, 12 hours and 53 minutes the team spent on board included Christmas Day, with time taken to ring their families and do a broadcast on BBC Radio 2.
Andy said the meal resembled Christmas dinner with all the trimmings but was a bit different, with reheated potatoes and chicken in ‘a weird sauce’: “We did our best and we had our Christmas hats on.”
The £7,000 raised from the challenge will go to Over The Wall, a charity that provides free residential camps for children with serious health challenges and Royal Surrey County Hospital Charitable Trust.
Donate at www.r3ob.com