Rowing world record hopes crushed

Last updated 11:51 11/02/2013

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Hostile weather may have crushed Kiwi Paul Gerritsen's attempt to set the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Gerritsen, who was born and bred in Cambridge, and his five British team mates suffered a setback when the crew were hit by head seas that slowed the boat to a standstill.

At one point the crew began going backwards.

They had no choice but to stop rowing and deploy the sea anchor to minimise the weather's effect as it did its best to send the crew back to their starting point on the Canary Islands.

"It felt like a floating torture chamber while rowing," said an exhausted Gerritsen after spending 25 days at sea.

"But I'd rather that than the helpless feeling of not being able to row and getting pushed backwards by the weather."

That day the crew advanced 23km towards their destination when their aim was to row at least 148km a day. 

Relatively slow days of 111km either side of the slowest day combined to compromise the chances of the crew breaking the record of 32 days on board Titan.

They left the Canary Islands on January 15, not January 10 as previously reported, organiser Rob Hamill said this morning.

The crew have more than 1000km to go to their destination in Barbados.  Unfortunately, they have less than a week to break the record of 32 days.

To do so the crew will have to do nearly 203km days for the rest of the journey.

This is possible but only with perfect weather conditions.

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- Waikato

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