Veterans

Forces Rowing Team Completes Atlantic Crossing In 39 Days

The Row4Victory quartet included one current and two former armed forces personnel.

A quartet of rowers have described how they survived injuries, attacks by flying fish and a near-miss with a tanker to take fifth place in a 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic rowing race.

The Row4Victory quartet, from North Yorkshire, completed the race, from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, in just under 40 days.

The annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, dubbed the world's toughest rowing race, saw 28 teams of rowers set off on the epic journey on December 12 in an effort to raise money for charities.

Row4Victory arrived in Antigua after completing the endurance challenge in 39 days, 15 hours and 42 minutes.

The team, who count one current and two former armed forces personnel among their number, are raising money for the Royal British Legion and local military charity 'Soldier On'.

Skipper Will Quarmby, a 36-year-old landscape gardener from Ripon, was joined on board the eight-metre boat by Fraser Mowlem, a 41-year-old serving Royal Air Force chief technician from Linton-on-Ouse; Glyn Sadler, 37, a former Royal Marines Commando from Borrowby; and 28-year-old Sapper Duncan Roy, from Ingleby Arncliffe, who was medically discharged from the Royal Engineers in 2018.

Mr Quarmby paid tribute to his team at the end of the event, saying: "3,000 miles of open ocean crossed with nothing but oars and Yorkshire grit.

"To see land, then lights, then boats, then people really built our excitement, adrenaline and the feeling of achievement."

Row4Victory Talisker Whisky Challenge
Row4Victory quartet set off on December 12 to raise money for forces charities.

Since leaving La Gomera in Spain’s Canary Island chain in December, the team have regularly blogged about their experiences, which included Mr Quarmby being hit in the face by a flying fish during a night row; Sappper Roy being stung by a jellyfish during a routine cleaning of the hull; and their frantic attempts to contact a 300-metre long ship that was on course to pass their rowing boat within 50m.

Nicholas Harrison, founding trustee of Soldier On, which supported  Sappper Roy when he was medically discharged, said: "The money they raise will be spent on helping disadvantaged, vulnerable or socially isolated people to take the first steps towards independent, meaningful and happier futures.

"Much of this has only been made possible through 3,000 miles of rowing, blisters, injuries, attacks by flying fish, near drownings at the hands of an overly amorous jellyfish and a near-miss with a tanker."

The race was won by The Dutch Atlantic Four, four men from the Netherlands, who completed the challenge in 34 days 12 hours and nine minutes.

The current race record of 29 days and 15 hours was set by London quartet the Four Oarsmen in 2018.