The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records

 


 

Welsh 'hero' of Atlantic drama

August 9 2004

Welsh rower Peter Bray has been hailed a hero by his crewmates for his part in a dramatic escape from a sinking boat in the Atlantic.
The former SAS sergeant was applauded by skipper Mark Stubbs for diving to get rescue equipment after a 60ft wave split the Pink Lady in two.

With two other crewmen, they had been trying to break an Atlantic rowing record when disaster hit.

Mark Stubbs described Mr Bray as "our hero" when the crew arrived in Ireland on Monday.

Mr Bray, 48, is from Bridgend and has recently been working as an outdoor pursuits instructor in Neyland, Pembrokeshire.

Speaking to journalists after being returned to dry land at the Irish port of Foynes, Mr Bray said the failed attempt to break the world record - set in 1896 - meant there was "unfinished business".

But he played down his part in getting the crew to safety.
Peter Bray

Bray is no stranger to Atlantic challenges

"I realised there was no way we were going to get the boat righted, so I had to dive back underneath to get the life raft," he said.

"Then I had to dive back in again to get the grab-bag which contains our communications equipment."

The men arrived at the Irish port of Foynes at around 0720BST on Monday on a cargo ship.

Times journalist Jonathan Gornall, 48, from London said he owed his life to Mark Stubbs and Peter Bray.

He said he had been unable to breathe. "It was an unreal nightmare," he said. "All I could do was try to swim. I was aware I was about to drown."

Mr Bray is no stranger to exciting challenges. In 2000 he staged a single-handed crossing of the North Atlantic in a 27ft kayak.

He paddled alone, without back-up or support boat, setting off from Newfoundland with the aim of reaching Ireland several months later.
But disaster struck. A faulty valve caused his boat to fill with water and sink, and he was forced to spend 33 hours in the near-freezing waters before being rescued.

Despite the setback, he made a second attempt the following year, and completed his challenge, arriving in Ireland in 76 days.

He became the first person to complete a solo voyage in a kayak across the Atlantic.

Last year, he returned to the same area and circumnavigated the whole of Newfoundland - again alone.

Jonathan Gornall and Pink Lady team mate row in fog

The men have been beset by storms and gigantic icebergs

'Feel robbed'

Friends say they are in no doubt Mr Bray will want to make another attempt at his latest challenge.

Graham Howell, director of the Fresh adventure centre in Freshwater East, where Mr Bray works, said: "He is kind of a modern hero - he'll look a challenge straight in the eye and say I'll have a go at that.

"Pete is the kind of guy who will have pulled the group together to make sure they got through the ordeal, quite probably with a broad grin on their faces.

"Professionals like Pete know that if you set off a distress beacon somebody, somewhere, is going to find you.

"It's not over until you are swimming with the fishes or picked-up.

"These guys know the risks. It strikes me that a guy like Pete will see this as nothing more than a disappointing inconvenience.

"If they can find the money and the sponsorship I would expect a man of Pete's calibre to be champing at the bit to have another go.

"He will feel robbed that he has not made it."

  1983-2001 Ocean Rowing Society

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