New bid to break Atlantic rowing record

By Suzanne McTaggart

LEEDS adrenaline junkie Ben Thackwray will set off on his second attempt to break the world Atlantic rowing record later this week after the first was aborted due to injury.

The Oyster Shack Ocean Challenger was making good progress on the 2,500-mile row earlier this month when Andrew Morris suffered a knee injury and the crew were forced to return to La Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Ben, from Yeadon, and his five-man crew are currently waiting for favourable weather conditions to help them in the row to Antigua, which they hope to complete in less than 35 days, beating the world record set by the French in 1992.

The 27-year-old said: “Our first attempt saw us get off to the best possible start.

“When Andrew sustained a knee injury we were around two hours away from potentially breaking the 24-hour speed record, and had already chased down the fleet who had set off three days before us to within 30 miles.


“Having made the decision to re-group, we called in rescue and were towed back into the nearest island of El Hierro.

“The tow was extremely rough and the boat sustained some damage, and I was briefly knocked out in the front cabin.

“Thankfully after checkovers both me and the boat are fine and raring to get back out to sea.

“We are expecting a favourable weather window soon.

“This time we will be going with the remaining five-man crew, and it will be Antigua or bust.”

Ben is a former pupil at St Peter and St Paul's Primary, Yeadon, and St Mary's in Menston.

He is part of a specially selected all-British team attempting to break the Atlantic rowing record.

His next challenge is to trek 340 miles across Greenland alone on foot, with only a sled to carry his food and equipment.

In July, he returned from Alaska after climbing Mount McKinley (also known as Denali), the highest mountain in North America at 6,194m (20,320ft).

In 2006, he ran the 150-mile Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, finishing in the top 10 Brits.

He added: "Rowing across the Atlantic is one of my life ambitions and, along with climbing Everest and skiing to the South Pole, is the first part of an Adventure Trilogy which I hope to complete over the next five years."

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