Oar-some

PUBLISHED: 10:49 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 May 2010

Ed James, second from left, with Dom Mee, Pete Bird, and Tom Rendell in Barbados - Pic: Tony Matthews

Ed James, second from left, with Dom Mee, Pete Bird, and Tom Rendell in Barbados - Pic: Tony Matthews

A SEAFARING Royal Marine Reservist says his record breaking Atlantic rowing attempt was a unique experience . Ed James, who is originally from Sandon, joined three other reservists to take part in the 2007 Atlantic Quest. Their aim was to row from the C

The team in action

A SEAFARING Royal Marine Reservist says his record breaking Atlantic rowing attempt was a "unique experience".

Ed James, who is originally from Sandon, joined three other reservists to take part in the 2007 Atlantic Quest. Their aim was to row from the Canary Islands to Barbados in under the 35 days it took the previous holders.

However, despite a promising start, Ed and his crew mates Dom Mee, Pete Bird, and Tom Rendell narrowly missed out on the 15-year world record held by French team La Mondial, by just two days.

The team set off on Sunday, January 14, and rowed approximately 84 miles per day.

Ed said: "We set out to break the record and we came very close. Unfortunately, we missed out by just a couple of days.

"It was a real shame, but we can take heart from the fact we completed the challenge in the third quickest time - which I am very proud of."

Ed, 27, had to row 12 hours each day, sometimes in temperatures of up to 35 degrees, but said the biggest challenge was rowing at night without any moonlight.

He said: "The heat did make things uncomfortable, but one of the hardest things was judging the waves at night. Quite often we didn't have any moonlight and those nights got pretty hairy."

At times the team were further from land than anywhere else on the planet, and were as isolated as it was possible to be.

"We tried not to think too much about those sorts of things, although I'm sure my family and friends had such thoughts on their mind," said Ed.

And his family and friends were never far from his own thoughts, and he said his memories of home was important in getting him through the day.

Once back on shore, Ed was greeted by his family and girlfriend Anne-Laure, and said the first things the team did was wash, eat and drink a "little bit of booze".

"When we got back to shore it was an amazing feeling and I had a real sense of achievement. We were at sea a long time and at that point were all feeling the aches and strains - so it was a joy to be back on land," he said.

Ed, who works for HM Court Service, arrived back in England on Tuesday, and said that he was still overwhelmed by the whole experience, describing his last week as a "whirlwind".

He added: "I got to witness the sheer power of nature and the ocean's vastness - and it really put our lives into perspective.

"The camaraderie of the team was also very special and I think that was one of the reasons behind our success.

"We've all shared this unique experience and I think it will stay with us for a very long time.


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