Veterans

Former Royal Marine Set For 3,500-Mile Row Across Atlantic Ocean

Lee Spencer aims to become the first disabled person to do it solo...

In December, an ex-Royal Marine will attempt to become the first ever person to row solo across the Atlantic with one leg (Picture: SWNS).

Lee Spencer will battle sleep deprivation, enormous waves and solitude to row 3,500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

He is currently in Gibraltar ready to set off next week, despite losing a leg in January 2014.

'The Rowing Marine' is hoping to beat the existing able-bodied record of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes.

This would not the first time his name has appeared in the record book.

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. 

Forces News spoke to Mr Spencer in November:

Speaking about life before the accident, 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."

The former Royal Marine was injured outside of service in 2014, 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).

Mr Spencer will have 90 days of rations on board, while also battling sleep deprivation, fatigue, fear and solitude on his journey.

However, he hopes to have the job done in 70 days by rowing anywhere up to 18 hours a day.

When departing Gibraltar next week, he will row to French Guinea, aiming to raise over £100,000 for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund.

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

He also described how fighting for his life after the accident made him take a more positive outlook on life:

“I don't want anyone else in a similar situation to define themselves by their disability.

"We shouldn't view people in terms of what they can't do."

"If I can [beat the record] it would send out a real statement about people with disabilities can achieve."

Speaking to Prince Harry earlier this 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.

"And you allowing me to do this for the Endeavour Fund has allowed me to carry that on." 

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."