A Doncaster adventurer’s attempt to row 2,300 miles across the Atlantic Ocean has ended after a broken rudder scuppered the world record bid.
Matt Wilds of Misson was part of a four strong team bidding to row from Africa to South America in world record time – but the Row4Ocean bid has been called off with the crew just 750 miles from the finish line.
A broken rudder, which has hampered the crew’s Year of Zayed boat for several days, finally ended the challenge late yesterday afternoon.
Forrmer Hayfield School pupil Matt, 40, who now lives and works in Dubai had set off for Suriname in South America from Dakar in Senegal before Christmas.
A spokesman for Row4Ocean, which aimed to raise awareness of the problem of plastic in the world’s oceans, said: “The four-man crew have battled for 24 days, rowing day and night at record pace, but the rudder became too damaged to effect another repair.
“All of the crew are safe and well. However, unfortunately 750 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, the third attempt to fix their rudder on Year of Zayed failed.”
Supertramp, the sailing vessel shadowing the boat, attached a tow line and is now in the process of towing it to shore.
“Everything has a weak point and the Atlantic found it,” commented Row4Ocean’s Clive Frost.
“We have learnt so much from the project – for the next time. Right now we are just concentrating on getting the crew and the boat safely back to dry land. Despite not completing the row, the team are all heroes.”
Suffering cramped conditions, void of any comfort, the Row4Ocean team of Matt, Patrick Bol, Lewis Knollman and Andrew Ruinoff have decided to stay on board Year of Zayed for the remaining 750 miles to Suriname.
“We are safe but we are gutted,” said Patrick.
“From a practical point of view, someone needs to stay on board the boat to keep a watch.
“In reality there is no space for all four of us, but nobody wanted to leave the boat regardless of the hardship.
“We know each other so well now and we will have days to just look at each other, but I am sure the stories told will be very memorable!
“We have enough food on board, and we have plenty of time to do some fishing. I would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters, after so much time and effort, the project failed because of a small piece of metal.
“It is a pity but we wanted to put out the important message about plastic pollution, and we have at least done that. We were so close, and sometimes you learn more from failure than success.”