Record-breaking Atlantic rowers arrive on the Isles of Scilly after 60 days at sea

The rowers arrive at the Isles of Scilly

The rowers arrive at the Isles of Scilly - Credit: Archant

Two rowers who are raising money for Children’s Hospice South West have crossed the Atlantic in a remarkable 60 days

Ocean rowers Chris Walters and Elliott Dale set foot on the quay steps at St Mary’s Harbour on the Isles of Scilly today, setting a new world record for crossing the Atlantic in a modern ‘open class’ pairs boat.

The pair have rowed 3,246 miles from New York to the Isles of Scilly over the past 60 days, raising money for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) and have now set a new modern record for this journey.

Only the second pairs rowing team ever to cross the Atlantic on this difficult route, Chris and Elliott have achieved a momentous milestone in rowing history.

In their Rannoch pairs boat, Row 4 Precious Lives, the duo have battled the most atrocious weather conditions to arrive at St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly at 10.34 GMT on 6 August 2014 after an incredible 60 days and 6 minutes at sea.

The rowers were joined on their final few miles into the harbour by a flotilla of local boats including amongst others the St Marys lifeboat and St Mary’s and Lyme Regis gig clubs. Once in sight of the harbour they were serenaded in by Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York’. Greeted first by Dale Clark the Harbour Master and then by family members, the project team, staff and trustees from Children’s Hospice South West as well as crowds of spectators, Chris and Elliott certainly received a very warm welcome back to dry land.

This was a huge physical and emotional challenge for the men, and Alana Marie Smith, Director of Fundraising at Children’s Hospice South West said on their return: ’Thank you so much to Chris and Elliott for completing this amazing challenge. After all the months of preparation and then the nail-biting moments when we were glued to your progress, it is such a relief and a great honour to welcome you back home.’

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The Precious Lives Atlantic Challenge has raised £115,000 for CHSW so far. Chris and Elliott set off from New York on 7th June 2014 originally hoping to break the historic rowing record set by George Harbo and Frank Samuelson who crossed the Atlantic in just 55 days back in 1896. Unfortunately, adverse weather conditions meant that Chris and Elliott missed out on breaking this record by just 5 days.

After a diet of freeze-dried Spaghetti Bolognese and recycled water, the record breaking pair are looking forward to reuniting with family members and being able to enjoy their home comforts once more.

Chris said: “This has undoubtedly been one of our toughest challenges yet. We’ve had it all. Horrendous weather conditions, near misses with sharks, whales and ships, and blisters like you wouldn’t believe. Yet if we can help the families of life-limited children in the South West as a result, it has all been worth it. When we were at our lowest moments, thinking of these families was all we needed to spur us on.”

Children’s Hospice South West has three hospices in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset and provides care and support to families of children with life-limiting illnesses. The hospices offer a wide variety of services, including respite care and sibling support, and the money raised from this challenge could fund ten children’s nurses for a year.

To make a donation, you can either text PLAC14 £X, to 70070. For example PLAC14 £10 to 70070, or go to: Virgin Money Giving.

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