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Rowers on Course for Atlantic Record

Friday,  30 July 2004

 By Chris Court, PA News

Four Britons are on course to set a new Atlantic world rowing record from Canada to UK, according to one of the sport’s experts.

The crew of the
Pink Lady Mark Stubbs, 40, from Poole; Pete Bray, 48, from South Wales; Jonathan Gornall, 48, from London and John Wills, 33, from Surrey are just 768 miles from Falmouth, Cornwall, after 30 days at sea.

Kenneth Crutchlow, executive director of the London-based Ocean Rowing Society, said today: “After a tough start, the crew in their Pink Lady boat have been progressing very well over the past five days and look set to reach the finish by August 23, creating a new world record for the fastest Atlantic row from Canada.

“They will also be the first four to row the Atlantic west to east,” added Mr Crutchlow.

The Pink Lady rowers must cross the “Lizard meridian” – a line from Lizard point in Cornwall to the Ushant lighthouse in Cape Finisterre, Brittany, the most westerly point of France.

They will then head up the Channel towards Falmouth for a landing at the National Maritime Museum there.

“Crucially, as an added bonus, if the rowers make it to the UK mainland unassisted, they would be the first ocean rowers to have ever done so, reinforcing Britain’s dominance in this increasingly popular sport,” added Mr Crutchlow.

The Pink Lady crew in their high-tech carbon fibre boat have been training together in coastal waters for two years.

Mr Stubbs said before they left St Johns, Newfoundland, on June 30: “This ocean row is the culmination of six years of boat development and endurance training.”

The Pink Lady has been developed as the world’s most sophisticated ocean vessel of its kind.

Tough, light and aerodynamic, she is designed to cut quickly and cleanly through the waves, rough or smooth, and has a global positioning satellite system and a weather router to help avoid storms.

The Pink Lady rowers are hoping to raise £50,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

Society statistics show that of all the 129 successful ocean rows ever recorded, 61% were achieved by the British.

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