Shropshire rowers miss out on world record
Two Shropshire rowers hoping to beat the world record for crossing the Atlantic reached the finish line after 39 days, missing out on the title by a week.
The Toby Wallace Crew, which includes 47-year-old Steve Harpin, from Shrewsbury and skipper Simon Chalk, from Loggerheads, has made it to Barbados after a 3,000 nautical mile journey from Gran Canaria.
The team set out on November 25 hoping to reach the end by Boxing Day, beating the current speed record of 32 days.
But instead the crew arrived on January 3 after 39 days, 21 hours and 15 minutes, missing out on the title by seven days.
Gemma Chalk, of race organisers Oceanus Rowing, said: "Congratulations to all on board with a special mention to Noel Watkins who completed his second Atlantic row and for Simon Chalk on his ninth ocean row.
"Most of them are on their way home now – Stephen's catching a flight today and a lot of them were keen to get home to their families after missing Christmas and new year.
"They are really pleased with their time. They missed the record but made the under 40 days mark which they were aiming for if they missed the title.
"It is still one of the top 15 crossing times of all time, we can't take that away from them."
And after 39 days at sea, the team was glad to be back on dry land enjoying a few luxuries.
Mrs Chalk said: "They had a great welcome party when they got back.
"They had some good food, they had all missed fresh things like salad and hot meals like chips and steak.
"And they had a few beers of course, they were all craving something cold and fizzy."
The crew had initially been battling rival crew The Oystershack as both boats hoped to break the record. But when one of the boat's members had to be airlifted because of asthmatic issues, the boat was damaged and they were forced to abandon the race.
Mr Harpin was using the row to raise money for the Bickerstaff Endoscopy Unit at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Harpin
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