A former Royal Marine has vowed to continue his attempt to become the first disabled person to row across the Atlantic solo and unsupported after failures in his boat’s navigation systems forced him to stop in Canaries.
The crossing was plain sailing until four days into the journey, Lee Spencer, also known as 'The Rowing Marine', told Forces News:
“I was feeling good, I was feeling strong. And then about nine o’clock in the evening all of my navigation systems just collapsed and failed.
“I then spent a frantic 24 hours with the engineer... going through fault checking, unplugging things, plugging them in, trying spares.
“Later on, the next day in the afternoon, we sort of came to the conclusion that we’d done all we could to fix it at sea and it couldn’t be fixed at sea.”
Whilst he says he now feels “positive” about the news, at the time it was tough to hear.
“When I first got the news that I would have to call into the Canaries, to say I was bitterly disappointed would be a massive, massive understatement.”
“I was actually heartbroken because it was two and a half years preparing,” he adds.
“The passion, the drive behind this has always been about making a statement that no one should be defined by disability.
"And if I could beat the able-bodied record, I felt that would be a positive statement and it felt like that went up in smoke in front of me eyes.”
However, the Ocean Maritime Society has said that time spent carrying out essential repairs do not affect the record and once the boat is fixed he can continue.
“I’m hopeful to get away on Friday and continue on my row! But obviously, because of the time delay here, I’m up against it a little bit," he concluded.
Despite losing a leg in January 2014, Mr Spencer is 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.