Row2Recovery rowed their way into the record books today as the first ever British all amputee team to row an ocean. The team docked into English Harbour, Antigua after 46 days, 6 hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds at sea.
The Row2Recovery team, supported by The Endeavour Fund, was made up of injured servicemen Cayle Royce MBE, Lee Spencer, Nigel Rogoff and Paddy Gallagher. With three legs between the four of them, they called themselves the Legless Rowers and took on one of the world’s toughest rows – crossing 3,000 miles unaided across the Atlantic Ocean.
The crew started their incredible voyage in December from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. The team took on the challenge to support fellow wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans by raising awareness and funds for The Endeavour Fund, Help for Heroes and BLESMA.
Throughout the race, the Row2Recovery team had support from around the world. Prince Harry not only put in a surprise phone call to the crew after the storm, he also gave them a ring shortly after their arrival into Antigua to personally congratulate them on their incredible achievement. He also thanked them for their amazing determination to prove there is life after injury.
Row2Recovery were welcomed into the harbour by loved ones, emotional crowds, steel bands and a Military Parade conducted by serving Personnel from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force. Military Personnel fired a feu de joie in honour of the injured military rowers.
The Legless crew said upon their arrival: “We are so proud to be the first all amputee team to row an ocean and extremely humbled by the support we have received. We are very proud to be able to support injured servicemen and women through the Endeavour Fund, Help for Heroes and BLESMA. Although totally exhausted we are ready to celebrate the fact we have just conquered 3,000 miles in the world’s toughest ocean rowing race. There is life beyond injury – that’s our message, we hope it’s out there!”
The team had to deal with incredibly tough conditions during the race. They typically rowed two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours per day, burning around 8,000 calories daily, and losing roughly 20% of their body weight over the duration of the race. Alongside physical exertion, the rowers battled sleep deprivation, painful salt sores, and blisters, and were locked in their cabin for days at a time due to a huge storm. One member also broke his prosthetic leg during the first few weeks of rowing.
The team will now spend a few days relaxing in Antigua and catching up with friends and family who flew out to meet them.