British sailors Tom Rainey, 24, and Lawrence Walters, 23, arrived in Salcombe, Devon, UK yesterday after completing an epic 4,300 mile row that saw them break two world records.
Both former GB dinghy sailors, the men began their journey in New York and rowed non-stop for 93 days, claiming the record of the youngest team to ever complete an Atlantic crossing and also breaking the world record for furthest distance covered in 24 hours by an ocean rowing boat.
The men had hoped to beat the journey’s current speed record of 55 days, but this dream was destroyed when their boat was caught in a huge current loop south of Nova Scotia for 10 days, forcing them to row back to escape it. However, currents in the Gulf Steam and favourable wind conditions helped Rainey and Walters break the world record for furthest distance covered in 24 hours by an ocean rowing boat (129 miles) just a week later.
The pair managed the feat by working in shifts, rowing for two hours and then resting for two hours alternately. Taking the challenge completely unassisted, Rainey and Walters carried everything they thought they would need for the task from the very beginning.
However, early setbacks meant the men had to begin rationing food from their 6,000kcal daily allowance in mid-June, and for the last two weeks of the trial they lived on nothing but noodles and water purified using an solar-powered desalination device. By the time they reached Salcombe yesterday, the men had less than a day’s rations left and were exhausted, saying they wanted nothing more than a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea.
The men took on the challenge – which they dubbed Ocean Valour – to honour the memory of Rainey’s father, Luke, who died from a brain tumour in 2012. To date they have raised more than £53,000 through sponsorship drives – all of which will be donated to support the Brain Tumour Charity’s early detection programme. These philanthropic goals see them join Ben Lecomte, the first man to free swim across the Atlantic, who is currently planning to swim the Pacific for cancer charities.
To thank them for their work, Rainey and Walters were met in Salcombe by a flotilla of RNLI lifeboats, members of the Plymouth University kayak and sailing teams, of which Rainey is an alumnus and, most poignantly, a yacht belonging to Luke Rainey that has not been sailed since his death.
Donations for the Ocean Valour challenge are still open, to show your support visit justgiving.com.oceanvalour