Atlantic rowers on course for success

The 14-strong team trying to break the Atlantic world rowing record have already laid down a series of important markers and look set to have a very good chance of setting a new fastest time.

The 14-strong team trying to break the Atlantic world rowing record have already laid down a series of important markers and look set to have a very good chance of setting a new fastest time.

Three of the team on board La Mondiale are from Norfolk, cardiologist Liam Hughes, businessman Julian Barnwell and financial advisor Mike Tooth.

Now nearly a fortnight into the row, the team has had its difficult days, having to deal with adverse weather conditions hampering their progress and with sea sickness and injury.

But they have set what appears to be a new record by managing to row more than 100 miles per day for seven days on the trot. Although there are some questions about previous statistics, it is believed that no crew had ever managed to row three figure distances for longer than two days running.


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The team set off from the Canary Islands on December 15 and have rowed more than 1,000 miles already, which means they have completed around a third of the distance to Barbados.

Having been effectively marooned on the water for several days shortly after setting off, they have now managed to post long days every day for a week, including a 113-mile day.

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“If they carry on like this they are in with a very good chance,” said Tatiana Rezva-Crutchlow, of the London-based Ocean Rowing Society International, which was set up in 1983 to oversee attempts at rowing across the various oceans.

“Our calculations at this stage say that if they can row 96 miles per day they will beat the record.”

But weather conditions and the health of the crew will be key, said Mrs Rezva-Crutchlow: “Right now their course is correct, but they are at the edge of good favourable weather and they need to make sure they remain in the right position.

“But the good news is that generally speaking it is accepted that the second half of the east to west Atlantic row is the easier half. It is, if you like, similar to going up the mountain and then coming down the other side.”

La Mondiale is also several hundred miles ahead of its American competitor Orca, although the four-man crew of the multi-hull boat are now registering similar mileages, including a record-breaking 116 miles on Christmas Day.

Several of the La Mondiale crew are writing online blogs filed to an onboard laptop. Included in these is one by Mr Tooth, in which he details some of the day to day hardships the 14 men have been experiencing and adds: “It's easier to tell you of the parts of the body that aren't aching as most of us are now suffering, mainly from hands and bums and other sore muscles.

“We are now changing course slightly to head further south to avoid a depression to the north, but this will mean stronger winds in a few days. Indeed the weather forecast is now for the wind to steadily increase. Great.”

Log on to www.oceanrowevents.com to follow updates.

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