Heroic Double World Record Breakers Row 4,300 Miles Home in an Epic Journey From New York

Aug 04, 2015, 04:00 ET from Ocean Valour

SALCOMBE, England, August 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Former GB dinghy sailors Tom Rainey from Devon (24) and Lawrence Walters from Hampshire (23) swapped their sails for oars and will row into Salcombe, Devon today (August 4th) to complete a 93 day human powered odyssey from New York. Their epic, non-stop and unsupported journey saw them survive a deadly hurricane, monster waves, hallucinations and a brutal capsize.

Despite originally attempting to break the existing 55 day speed record for the route the experienced oarsmen saw that chance evaporate within the first month.  The crew became stuck in a monstrous loop of current caused by the interaction between the Gulf Stream and a series of seamounts 300 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  After being pushed around in a loop hundreds of miles across for 10 days the pair were eventually able to break free by rowing back the way they had come to break out of the monster eddy.  Their chances of breaking the record in tatters.

However, less than a week later the team were helped out by the Gulf Stream and favourable wind conditions which helped them achieve a new World Record for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours by an ocean rowing boat; an astounding 112.5 nautical miles (129 miles). The second world record was achieved as the two oarsmen finished their challenge as they become the youngest team to ever complete the route. Rainey celebrated his 24th birthday at sea but the usual flurry of presents and cake was replaced by a simple kind gesture from his teammate.  Walters' gift to his rowing partner was the last of the shampoo and the final squirt of deodorant.

The twosome took it in turns to row each spending two hours on the oars before resting in the cabin for two hours whilst his team mate took over.  They carried everything they needed on their boat, making drinking water by using an electrical desalination device powered (like everything else) by solar panels.

As the midsummer approached the duo's progress was of sufficient concern for them to start rationing their food supply.  They saved up an occasional meal and held onto one or two chocolate bars from their 6,000kCal daily food supply. This meant that they were gradually getting fewer and fewer calories every day and after their last chocolate bar was eaten two weeks ago they have only had spicy vegetable noodles to eat. Both rowers have lost a significant amount of weight during the challenge.

The idea for the row came about when Rainey decided to take on a challenge to honour the memory of his late father, Luke, who died from a Brain Tumour in 2012.  In taking on the North Atlantic they have been raising funds for the Brain Tumour Charity to fund their early detection programme and help prevent other families losing loved ones from this indiscriminate disease. As the team approached their finish post the amount they had raised had exceeded £53,000 and continues to rise. Those wishing to support the team by making a donation can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/OceanValour/ 

The team's arrival time is restricted by the tide and they will arrive in Salcombe at 16:30 local time on 4th August, exactly 93 days after waving goodbye to the Manhattan skyline.  They will be accompanied by members of Plymouth University kayak and sailing teams of whom Rainey is an alumni as well as multiple other vessels including RNLI lifeboats.  The most significant of these is Rainey's late father's yacht that has not been sailed since his death.

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said:

"Tom and Lawrence have put themselves through an extraordinary challenge to raise an incredible amount of money for us and for a cause they believe in passionately. None of us will forget their achievement. Their commitment to helping us end the misery caused by brain tumours, after what Tom's family went through when they lost Luke, is genuinely awe-inspiring."

Stills and b-roll of the team's arrival along with additional quotes will be available to download shortly after their arrival via the dedicated media page. http://www.oceanvalour.co.uk/media/

To arrange interviews with Tom and Lawrence, ask questions about their journey or to attend the arrival in Salcombe at 16:30 on 4th August 2015 contact:

Chris Martin
Ocean Valour communications and logistics manager
DD: +44(0)7967-826-833

SOURCE Ocean Valour