Atlantic record-breaker has new challenge in his sights

Banbury Cake: Eoin is congratulated by mum Kate. Eoin is congratulated by mum Kate.

A TEENAGER is looking for his next challenge after becoming the youngest person to row the Atlantic.

Eoin Hartwright, 17, from Didcot, yesterday completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge with three others.

Starting at San Sebastian de la Gomera  in the Canary Islands on December 23, the team rowed 3,000 nautical miles to reach Antigua on Tuesday after 43 days, 21 hours and four minutes.

Eoin, who has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, yesterday told the Oxford Mail: “We definitely had days where we didn’t think it would happen.

“It has just been an amazing experience.

“So many people were waiting for us at the bay when we arrived and I’ve had strangers coming up to congratulate me and giving me hugs.

“Once we were here, we were straight off the boat and off to a party with the other rowers. This has been my dream since I was 13, so I’m in a big dilemma now about what I want to do next.

Banbury Cake:

The crew arriving in Antigua

“For now I’m going to have a rest, but even when I had just got off the boat I looked back and thought, ‘what’s the next adventure?’”

Named the Atlantic Quad, the team also included his uncle Simon Hartwright, 40, Tom Alden, 30, both from Abingdon, and Matthew Collier, 49., from Manchester.

During the adventure, the four of them were battered by waves, dodged cargo ships and even spotted whales.

Eoin, a pupil at the Oratory School, in Woodcote, near Reading, originally set off with a three-man team on December 14, but the crew was forced to turn back after bad weather. Devastated, but refusing to give up, Eoin put an appeal on the internet for rowers to help him out.

By December 23, a new team had assembled and set off to try to catch up with the other 15 in the race. They caught up with the back of the flotilla within two days.

Mum Kate Hartwright, 43, had been following Eoin’s progress from home with his siblings Lola, three, and Nico, four, since he set off, but flew out to Antigua for the last few days of the challenge.

She said: “It already felt like the longest time of my entire life and then waiting for him to arrive at the bay was just unbearable. I’m hoping he won’t do anything like this again too soon but I’m absolutely ecstatic for him. I’ve still been crying, even though he is back now.”

The team’s challenge has so far raised more than £5,000 for Helen & Douglas House hospice in Oxford.

CONQUERING OCEAN

Famous Atlantic voyagers:

  • Brazilian explorer and sailor Amyr Klink was the first person to row across the South Atlantic, leaving from Lüderitz, Namibia, on June 10, 1984, and arriving 100 days later in Salvador, Brazil.
  • On December 3, 1999, Tori Murden, from America, became the first woman to row any ocean solo when she arrived in Guadeloupe, having crossed the Atlantic from Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, 81 days earlier.
  •  French explorer Charles Hedrich set the record for the fastest solo Atlantic crossing in 2007, going from Dakar to Brazil in 36 days and six hours.
  •  The world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the West Indies was set on February 10, 2011, by Team Hallin, in 31 days, 23 hours, 31 minutes.

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