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Bristol student breaks Atlantic rowing record

Freddie Wright and Jack Galsworthy celebrate reaching dry ground in Antigua, after rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic

Press release issued: 8 February 2016

After battling storms, sharks, sunstroke and sleep deprivation, University of Bristol student Freddie Wright and best friend Jack Galsworthy have become the youngest pair to row the Atlantic.

Freddie and Jack, both 21, were at sea for 47 days, 14 hours and 46 minutes before crossing the finishing line in Antigua on Saturday to much adulation and joy.

Dubbed the 'world's toughest endurance race', the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge tests participants physical and mental strength as they row 3,000 nautical miles across the vast ocean.

Having rowed their 6.9m boat ‘Blue Steel’ 3,000 nautical miles since the race began in the Canary Islands on 20 December, the boys set their sights on burgers, water and clean sheets upon completing the grueling challenge.

Freddie, who's in his second year studying Mechanical Engineering, said: "We’ve had such an amazing time. We're proud of the record, but it wasn't what we set out to do – it's really just a bonus on top of what has been an awesome experience. We would definitely do this again."

The pair, named Atlantic Castaways, came 10th in all boats, beating 16 other teams to the finish line and raising an incredible £40,000 for the Brain Research Trust after both losing family members to brain tumours.

After over a year of preparation, the race demanded a punishing schedule of rowing constant shifts of two hours on and two hours off.

The pair survived on four rehydrated meals a day supplemented by dried mango, protein bars, hula hoops and pepperami. Due to the intense exercise and burning 10,000 calories a day, they have lost 20 per cent of their body weight.

Along the way they faced 40-foot waves, sharks, howling winds, blisters, salt rashes, sunstroke and sleep deprivation.  They have swum with whales, been led out of storms by dolphins and were followed faithfully by a bird called Simon since day one.

In breaking the record, Freddie and Jack follow in the footsteps of fellow University of Bristol student Jamie Sparks, who held the record with his friend Luke Birch, whose combined age was 43 years and 115 days when they completed the challenge two years ago.

A second University of Bristol student, Callum Gathercole, is rowing solo and is on course to become the youngest person to row the Atlantic with just 462 nautical miles to go. He's raised over £230,000 and is rowing in memory of his father Clive who died from a brain tumour in 2012.

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