Irishman in record-breaking crew


An Irishman is among British-led rowing team that has broken a 114-year-old record for crossing the North Atlantic from New York to the Isles of Scilly.

Ray Carroll (33) from Galway, was a member of the challenge team, skippered by Leven Brown (37) from Edinburgh, that crossed the finishing line at St Mary’s Harbour at around 4pm yesterday after almost 44 days at sea, a spokeswoman for Artemis Ocean Racing said.

Their time - 43 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds - knocked 11 days off the 55-day record set by Norwegian fishermen George Harbo and Frank Samuelson in 1896.

Mr Brown said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, exhausted, elated, ecstatic to be here in the Scilly Isles. “It’s a great, great day.

“I’m very proud of the lads and everybody involved in the boat and proud of the boat, she’s taken a hammering.

“I’m just really proud to be a part of it.” The new record-holders are the Artemis North Atlantic Rowing Challenge team which also includes Don Lennox (41) from Bellshill, Glasgow, and Livar Nysted (39) from the Faroe Islands.

Harbo and Samuelson’s record-making row started on June 6th, 1896, and the pair reached the Scilly Isles on August 1st.

The new record-holders endured two false starts following bad conditions and technical issues, but successfully left New York on June 17th this year in their 23ft vessel named Artemis Investments.

During two months at sea, the team battled 10-metre waves, a bout of food poisoning and narrowly avoided crashing into fishing boats in 35-knot winds.

They managed to set a new 24-hour record of 118 miles on July 14th, previously held at 117 miles by Brown and his team in La Mondiale on the Trade Winds route on January 3rd, 2008.

Between them the four have a wealth of rowing experience.

Mr Carroll has rowed since the age of 11 and represented Ireland in a Junior World Championship, a European Championship and a World Student Games.

He trained as a marine engineer and sailed in the Merchant Navy for 12 years before becoming a ship manager with Irish Ferries in Dublin.

He was a member of the 2007/08 world record-breaking crew with Mr Brown and Mr Lennox who smashed the mid-Atlantic crossing time in 33 days.

Mr Brown already held four world records and a number of firsts in ocean rowing in unsupported solo and team expeditions.

He clocked up more than 10,000 rowing miles and spent in excess of 400 days at sea in rowing challenges.

Mr Lennox, who is the team’s medic, already held three world records, has rowed more than 3,000 sea miles and previously competed with La Mondiale.

Mr Nysted won the Faroe Island championship in rowing three times, in 2001, 2004 and 2007 and also previously rowed with La Mondiale.

The four hope their efforts will have raised thousands of pounds for charity, with the money donated to be shared between The National Autistic Society, Help for Heroes, Jigsaw and Aware.