A YORKSHIREMAN and his teammate have battled extremes in physical and mental exhaustion to row the Atlantic in an endurance race dubbed “the world’s toughest”.
Friends Mike Burton, from Bridlington, and Tom Salt were the first team across the finish line in Antigua yesterday, more than a month and 3,000 miles after setting off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands at the end of last year.
Rowing in shifts of two hours on, two hours off, 53-year-old Mr Burton and 30-year-old Mr Salt, who make up Team Locura, competed to raise money for the Generous Hearts Foundation.
They finished the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 40 days, two hours, 38 minutes and 54 seconds.
Mr Salt, originally from Birdham in Chichester, but who lives in Kennington in London, said: “Mike and I are absolutely ecstatic to have won the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
“We’re no strangers to extreme challenges, but this is definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever done and pushed us to new limits both physically and mentally.”
The team have fought 40ft (12m) waves, tropical storms, seasickness, sleep deprivation, excruciating body sores, a capsize and an encounter with a 20ft (6m) marlin fish which holed their boat.
Mr Burton met Mr Salt in 2010 when they competed in the same crew of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and finished in fourth place.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge saw 16 teams from around the world start the race on December 4 from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. With two teams airlifted to safety following capsizes and one team rescued by a passing bulk-carrier ship, only 13 teams remain.
Talisker brand manager Sophie Brookes said: “The 2013/14 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has definitely been living up to its name as the world’s toughest rowing race – every day has thrown new challenges at the teams and we continue to be inspired by the teams’ determination and mental strength.”
The progress of the teams still battling to reach Antigua can be followed on www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com.