Back in Welwyn Garden City after ocean rowing challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:50 12 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:20 12 February 2014

Scott Etherington (left) and his rowing partner Victor as they arrived in English Harbour, Antigua.

Scott Etherington (left) and his rowing partner Victor as they arrived in English Harbour, Antigua.

Archant

A novice rower who swapped his desk in Welwyn Garden City for a seven by two metre boat completed a gruelling crossing of the Atlantic Ocean last week.

Scott Etherington, 33, who works in the Tesco office in Shire Park, arrived in the Caribbean island of Antigua on Monday, 61 days after leaving La Gomera in the Canary Islands, 2,700 miles away.

With his Swedish rowing partner Victor Mattson, he had overcome six-metre waves that capsized the carbon fibre boat, adverse winds forcing them almost back to the start after a week, and the loss of vital equipment.

Scott told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Twelve months ago, I had never rowed, even on a river.

“It was incredibly tough, and it pushed me right to the limit, both physically and mentally.

“But when I embraced my girlfriend Karen at the finish and all my family members were there, it was a brilliant feeling.”

Nine days into the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, their electric desalinator broke, forcing the rowers to pump a manual machine for two hours to produce just one litre.

An even more serious blow fell five days later, when a wave smashed the rudder that maintained their direction, but fortunately Victor managed a makeshift repair.

The last equipment failure was the pair’s satellite phone, although by holding its wires together they managed broken conversations with family and race organisers.

They were greeted by cheering crowds in English Harbour, Antigua, but were barely able to walk on land.

Scott said: “After 61 days on a small boat, I felt drunk. It was like a dream.”

With the enthusiastic support of Tesco and clothing company F & F Active, Scott, who lives in Hertford, has been fundraising for Diabetes UK a year, and has hit £20,000 so far.

He hopes readers inspired by his efforts will help him towards his £25,000 target at www.justgiving.com/atlanticinspiration


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