Norfolk soldier closes in on ocean-rowing goal

A Swanton Morley-based soldier is nearing the end of a punishing record-breaking attempt to row across the Indian Ocean.

Capt James Kayll, of the Light Dragoons, is the skipper of a four-man team expected to arrive in Mauritius later this week as they near the end of their 3,100-mile journey from Australia.

The 29-year-old, joined by Tom Kelly and brothers Oliver and Ed Wells, has been rowing in two-hour shifts for more than 67 days at sea.

Although tempestuous weather sank their original bid to break the world record of 68 days, 19 hours and 40 minutes, the rowers are still on course to become the 12th four-man team to make the Indian Ocean crossing – and the first in history to do it unsupported.

'We have been tried and tested constantly, from the emotional pain of losing the record to the physical pain of our ever growing list of injuries but we have never given up hope,' said Capt Kayll.

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'Our morale and humour have remained high throughout and we continue to dream of landfall at the end of the week.'

Despite treacherous seas, howling winds and swirling currents, the team were only nine miles behind the pace at halfway. But since then the wind turned to an unfavourable southerly or westerly direction and the team were unable to sustain the daily distances to keep up.

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Capt Kayll said: 'It has not been uncommon to be plucked from your rowing position and thrown into the oar stands by giant waves. This is utterly terrifying, particularly at night.

'It has been incredibly demoralising to see the record slip away through no fault of our own but we remain extremely proud of what we have achieved. We will be the 12th boat, the 3rd fastest and the first unsupported team of four in history to row across the Indian Ocean.'

The team's efforts have raised more than �50,000 for four charities: The Light Dragoons Charitable Trust (The Colonel's Appeal), The Mark Evison Foundation, Access Sport and Compassion UK.

Their boat has also helped provide valuable environmental data for the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. A micro-sensor beneath the hull has recorded information on salinity, temperature and oxygen content in the sea, which will help scientists map and predict the impact of global warming.

?Further information about the team and their blogs are available at

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