Veterans

'Rowing Marine' Embarks On World Record Transatlantic Attempt

Lee Spencer is hoping to become the first disabled person to row the route solo and unsupported...

A former Royal Marine has launched his record-breaking attempt to become the first person to row solo 3,500 miles across the Atlantic with one leg.

Lee Spencer, aka 'The Rowing Marine', made a symbolic departure from Gibraltar to start the record attempt which will then officially begin in Portugal.

He was due to start his challenge last month but had to postpone because of the weather.

In 2016, the former Commando was one of four wounded military veterans to become the first all-amputee team to row across an ocean.

The four men all had disabilities, but arrived at the finish line in Antigua in January 2016 and finished a respectable eighth place overall. 

He was awarded an Endeavour Fund medal by the Princes for his 2016 Atlantic row.

Forces News spoke to Mr Spencer in November 2018 where he reflected on his life before the disability:

Mr Spencer said he: “Always defined myself by my physicality”.

"Then I woke up the next day as a disabled person, which I looked at negatively.

"So I have tried to redefine myself and what it means to be disabled.

"It was only after my row across the Atlantic last year that I realised nothing had changed - apart from there was now a bit less of me."

Despite losing a leg in January 2014, he's hoping to beat the existing able-bodied record of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes.

The former Royal Marine was injured outside of service, when he stopped to help a stranded motorist on the M3 and was hit by debris.

Lee Spencer to take on another world record rowing  record attempt
Mr Spencer's 24 years of service saw him deployed to Afghanistan three times (Picture: SWNS).

He is aiming to raise over £100,000 for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund.

Mr Spencer is taking 90 days of worth of rations but is planning on making landfall in Cayenne in French Guyana in less than 70 days.

Aboard his specially designed ocean rowing boat called 'Hope', Spencer will battle sleep deprivation, fatigue, fear and solitude. 

Speaking to Prince Harry earlier last year, the Rowing Marine said: "When you go outside (leave the military), you think I'm going to miss the lads, miss the laughs, the camaraderie and everything that goes with it. But actually, it's the sense of service, sense of doing something that matters."

Video courtesy of Endeavour Fund.

Prince Harry said that Mr Spencer's challenge to raise awareness for the Endeavour Fund meant a "hell of a lot" to other veterans.

He also joked that:

"You've got three less people but you won't have to make conversation."